Azure Migrate: introduction to the solution

The migration of workloads hosted in on-premises datacenter toward Azure is a challenger process that is more and more frequently required to exploit the benefits of cloud. To best address the migration path and achieve the desired results, it is appropriate to carry out a careful preliminary analysis and use appropriate tools. Azure Migrate is the service in Azure that includes a large portfolio of tools that you can use, through a guided experience, to address effectively the most common migration scenarios. This article describes the main features of Azure Migrate and the changes that have recently affected this solution.

Azure Migrate structure the process of migration in different phase: discovery, assessment, and migration. This approach provides an integrated experience that provides continuity and provides an overall view of the migration process.

The solution is currently able to cover the following scenarios of migrating to Azure:

  • Virtual Machines, in a VMware environment, Hyper-V or other public clouds (AWS, Google) and physical machines.
  • SQL Server Database to Azure SQL Database or Azure SQL Database Managed Instance.
  • Web App using .NET or PHP to Azure App Service, its Azure Platform-as-a-Service.
    • In this case, you are directed directly to the page App Service Migration, that providing the public URL it scans and provides a detailed report of the technologies that are used, to determine if they can be hosted by App Service. If so, you can start the migration process by using the Migration Assistant installed locally.
  • Large amounts of data via the offline Data Box service.
    • Directly from the portal you can order a Azure Data Box, monitor the shipping status and its data copy process towards Azure.

By accessing Azure Migrate from Azure portal is immediately directed, according to the migration scenario that you want to perform, the most appropriate tools to use.

Figure 1 – Overview of Azure Migrate

To proceed with the use of the tool you need to create a new project. This project is used to save metadata from discovery activities, assessment and migration in the on-premises environment. Metadata is retained in an Azure datacenter in the selected region. However, you can use a project in any region to perform migrations to any Azure region.

Figure 2 – Creating the migration project

Each of these steps is done through solutions provided directly by Microsoft or through tools provided by third-party vendors. At the moment in Azure Migrate are integrated the following third-party tools: Carbonite, Cloudamize, Corent, Device42, Turbonomic, and UnifyCloud.

Figure 4 - Migration Tools Available

The Microsoft tool that allows the assessment of the servers, called "Azure Migrate: Server Assessment", has been enhanced with the following features:

  • It can discover and assess VMware environments that host up to 35000 virtual machines. The limit in the previous version was 1500 VMs.
  • You have the option to profile Hyper-V environments that host up to 10000 VMs.
  • The inventory data from VMware and Hyper-V environments can flow within the same Azure Migrate project.
  • It provides guidance on sizing systems, performs analysis to identify application dependencies and provide a cost estimate.

All of the discovery process and the assessment with the tool Server Assessment occurs without installing any agent. This is a totally free tool for all Azure customers and will soon be enhanced to cover also the support of physical systems.

Also with regard to the migration process Microsoft provides its own tool called "Azure Migrate: Server Migration", that allows you to migrate virtual systems in VMware environments, Hyper-V, Amazon Web Services (AWS), e Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and physical servers. This tool has recently been enhanced with the following features:

  • Ability to migrate VMs in VMware environment in agentless mode. By adopting this mode of migration without agent, you can use the same appliance for the discovery, the assessment and the migration. This ensures that you have operating system-independent support, that allows you to migrate any OS client or server, if supported on Azure.
  • Ability to migrate without agent virtual machines in Hyper-V environments.
  • Agent-based Migration to VMs and physical servers running on Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud Platform.
  • A new simplified user experience has been introduced, making the process similar to creating a virtual machine in Azure.
  • Ability to perform the migration test without giving any impact, allowing in this way to better plan the migration. In addition, the migration process allows to obtain a loss of data equal to zero when moving applications in Azure .

Also "Azure Migrate: Server Migration" is a tool you can be uses for free for all Azure customers. Obviously the costs are to be considered for computational resources and storage used in Azure subscription after the successful migration. In this regard it is also possible to estimate in advance the possible cost savings that can be achieved by migrating workloads in Azure. The instrument Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Calculator allows you to define the characteristics of your workloads that you want to migrate and, after arranging different parameters specific to each reality, you get an estimate of the potential savings over the 5 years.

Figure 5 – Chart of an estimate of savings, migrando in Azure, effettuata tramite TCO Calculator

Conclusions

Azure Migrate, thanks to the new features recently released , is an excellent solution that can provide a broad set of tools needed to better address the most common migration scenarios. Azure Migrate is now a real reference point for moving workloads to Azure through integrated and centralized management and a transversal approach, able to deal with different migration paths.