Possibly the best thing to come out of 2020 for businesses was the realisation that working from home scenarios, such as fully remote workplaces and flexible workplaces, were just as successful as traditional offices.
This might call for some rethinking for organisations on how they manage their workloads – such as servers, remote desktops, and file storage. Even if you are still working in the office some of the time, it makes sense to move important workloads somewhere that can be accessed both in the office and from home.
IT Managers are now working at home, but their datacentres are probably still on premises. Important workloads might still be located on machines in the office, making it harder to manage while working from home; and at the same time, kit is becoming redundant more quickly than ever with the widescale uptake of cloud-based technology.
The question many people are asking is how much time will be spent on premises moving forward – will your business be going back on premises at all? It could be that a business’ whole datacentre is transformed.
Moving Workloads to Azure
How is it done?
The way we would go about moving workloads from on-premises to Azure is by using Azure Migrate. This is the name for Microsoft’s hub containing all their cloud migration services and tools. Azure Migrate is included in the Azure subscription and is free to use – you only pay for the storage consumed.
With Azure Migrate you can move Windows and Linux servers to the Cloud; as well as Databases (such as MS SQL); Web applications such as Windows, .NET and PHP apps; Virtual Desktops including Citrix, VMware, and Remote Desktop Services.
Different Migration Approaches
When migrating workloads to the Cloud there are two main options: Lift & Shift, or Optimized Migration.
Lift & Shift
A Lift & Shift is the more popular and straightforward approach to Cloud migration; nothing about your infrastructure changes, except for its location. For example, if you have virtual machines running on an on-premises server, you would simply transition them to a Cloud-based server so they can continue running as they did, but from the Cloud. If your primary goal is to shut down your on-premises datacentres and be able to monitor and control workloads from anywhere via the Cloud, then this is the approach for you; it favours agility and requires no major redesign of your infrastructure.
For all the benefits and ease of use this approach has, there are a few downsides. For instance, because everything you are moving to the Cloud was originally designed to be on-premises, the new setup will not be optimised to take full advantage of the Cloud.
Secondly, if your datacentre has been operating for many years, it is likely that you have some legacy software running somewhere within it – most organisations do. But while you know that it works perfectly on-premises, there is a possibility that Azure won’t be able to run the legacy software in a stable state.
Thirdly, and most importantly, Cloud migration requires a complete change in attitude to managing your datacentres. With on-premises setups, you are working with finite resources that you likely pay for upfront; meaning you have to pay more upfront therefore you have to future-proof, plan for redundancy, etc. Whereas with the Cloud you have an unlimited supply of compute resources, but you’re also paying a subscription that scales up and down with your usage. You may well find that some parts of your on-premises mindset will be inefficient or even overkill when applied to a Cloud setup.
To avoid getting bowled over with large bills, and facing potential performance issues, you may consider taking the longer route and going for an optimised Cloud migration.
An Optimised Cloud Migration involves a full audit of your datacentre; considering the virtual machines you use, your historical storage utilization. From there, you can select Azure’s best storage tier for your data and take advantage of Azure’s wide range of instance types to ensure that each of your virtual machines are running with the computing resources they need in their new home in the Cloud.
Taking this approach will take longer and may cost more upfront, but if your goal is to move the entirety of your datacentre(s) to the Cloud permanently, then you must definitely have an optimised cloud migration performed, so that you are taking full advantage of the Cloud and saving money ongoing whilst doing it.
As a business it’s an excellent idea to migrate your datacentre to a secure and highly flexible environment such as Azure; it will give your IT Managers much more flexibility, allowing them to monitor and manage workloads from anywhere in the world, and could also end up saving you money moving forward. Whether you’re moving some of your workloads to the Cloud for better remote access, or going for a full Cloud Migration and moving all of your data and workloads to Azure, TechQuarters can help you work it all out!
If you’d like more information on Azure and Running your Business from the Cloud – check out our upcoming webinar on March 3rd