Category Archives: Azure Migrate

Azure Migrate: how to evaluate your VMware environment to address workloads migration to Azure

The digital transformation process that affects companies often involves the migration of workloads hosted in their data centers to the cloud to obtain better results in terms of governance, security and cost efficiency. The innovation of migrating to the cloud frequently becomes a business priority to the point that this process is no longer a matter of "if" or "when", but the real question now is "how" to deal with this migration? In this regard, Microsoft has developed the Azure Migrate solution that allows you to deal with the most common migration scenarios reducing complexity and costs. This article describes in detail how it is possible to discover and assess virtual machines hosted in a VMware environment with Azure Migrate, so you can better address the migration path.

Azure Migrate Overview

Azure Migrate structure the process of migration in different phase: discovery, assessment, and migration. These three steps fall under the Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure which, on the path to adopting cloud solutions, defines six main stages that apply to most organizations:

  • Strategy: defines the "business justification" and the expected results.
  • Plan: aligns the cloud adoption plan with business results.
  • Ready: Prepare your cloud environment for the changes you want.
  • Adopt: implements the changes you want in your IT and business processes.
    • Discovery, assessment, and migrating with Azure Migrate are part of this phase
  • Manage: implements basic operational guidelines and best practices.
  • Govern: evaluates and implements best practices in governance.

The Azure Migrate Hub provides all the tools to perform, monitor and analyze your migration path to Azure. This approach provides an integrated experience that provides continuity and provides an overall view of the migration process.

Figure 1 – Overview of Azure Migrate

Azure Migrate Hub includes Azure services and third-party solutions to address different migration scenarios:

  • Windows and Linux servers
  • SQL and non-SQL databases
  • Web apps
  • Virtual desktop infrastructure
  • Data

Discovery and assessment for VMware environments

The process of discoverying the VMware environment through Azure Migrate can generate a large amount of information, useful for assessing the status of workloads. The assessment process carries out an assessment of the environment and is able to answer critical questions such as:

  • Your virtual machine is ready to run in azure environment?

Azure Migrate reports if there are configurations that are not suitable for Azure, for example the operating system version or disk size are not supported. It also provides recommendations on how to correct these situations to avoid problems with the migration.

  • What size should the VM in Azure have?

Most organizations want to know the size of the virtual machine in Azure in advance to efficiently perform the workload, as sizing helps predict costs. Azure Migrate eliminates the need for calculations and translates CPUs, disk and memory of an on-premises system in an equivalent environment in Azure. The service recommends a specific virtual machine size and disk type based on the performance data collected.

  • How much will it cost to run in Azure?

Azure Migrate provides an estimate of the monthly costs of running servers in Azure.

  • Which applications are running on the system and their dependencies?

Thanks to Server Assessment it is possible to analyze cross-server application dependencies and consequently optimize strategies for interdependent movement of servers to Azure. Dependency identification can be performed with agents installed on each virtual machine or in VMware environments it can be performed without agents. When you use the agent-based solution, data is sent to Azure Log Analytics so you can analyze it in great detail to find hidden dependencies that might otherwise escape detection.

To start this VMware environment discovery process, you need to create a new Azure Migrate project, in the "servers" section:

Figure 2 – Creating an Azure Migrate project

After assigning it a name and defining in which geographical area of ​​Azure the metadata sent should reside, it is advisable to choose the tool to carry out the assessment. In this case we have chosen to adopt the Microsoft solution Server Assessment, but you can also adopt solutions from other vendors.

Figure 3 – Choice of the tool to carry out the assessment

In a similar way, it is also possible to choose the tool to be used to perform the migration.

At this point you can start the discovery process.

Figure 4 – Initiation of the discovery process

To identify the servers and workloads to be evaluated, you can import the Azure Migrate appliance into your local environment or use a manual method by importing a CSV file.

In the case of use of the appliance, the process can be summarized with the following steps:

Figure 5 – Discovery and assessment process of VMware environments

The activation of the Azure Migrate appliance for VMware environments is documented in this Microsoft article. After completing the deployment of the OVA template, you need to continue with the following steps.

Figure 6 – Configuring prerequisites

The appliance needs to be registered to the Azure Migrate project created in its subscription. To do this you need to enter a key generated directly from the Azure portal.

Figure 7 – Appliance registration

At the end of the registration it is necessary to provide the vCenter credentials, useful for discovering VMware virtual machines, and details to connect to the vCenter server. Furthermore, you can specify the credentials to use to detect installed applications and various dependencies, all in agentless mode. For further details please visit the Microsoft-specific documentation.

Figure 8 – Managing VMware credentials and sources

At the end of the discovery process it is possible to consult the data collected by the Azure portal.

Figure 9 – Server discovery

The next step involves the creation of the assessment process, going to define the properties according to your needs.

Figure 10 – Properties of the assessment process

Following, you must specify the systems that you intend to migrate, that will be the subject of the assessment.

Figure 11 – Selection of the machines on which to carry out the assessment

The assessment process, if based on performance data collected by the Azure Migrate virtual application, has a level of reliability expressed with a degree of confidence from 1 to 5.

Figure 12 – Assessments carried out and levels of reliability

The assumed sizing for Azure systems is calculated by examining the performance collected in the previous days, in particular:

  • RAM and CPU usage
  • IOPS and throughput for each disk connected to the virtual machine.
  • Network I/O to manage performance-based sizing for each network adapter connected to a virtual machine.

For more information on the assessment process, please consult this Microsoft's document.

The outcome of the assessment can be consulted directly from the Azure portal, where you can also download an Excel sheet with its details.

Figure 13 – Assessment details

For each system it is also possible to explore the various application dependencies:

Figure 14 – Application dependencies of a single server

All application dependencies discovered by Azure Migrate can also be exported from the Azure portal to an Excel sheet.

Conclusions

Easily move VMware workloads to Azure is an increasingly felt need in order to increase productivity thanks to greater elasticity and scalability offered by the public cloud. Using Azure Migrate, you can easily and accurately complete the discovery and assessment phases of your VMware environment. These phases are of fundamental importance in order to face the process of migrating VMware application workloads to Azure in the best possible way.

Azure Management services: What's new in June 2020

In June have been announced, by Microsoft, a considerable number of news regarding Azure management services. Our community, through these articles released monthly, want to provide an overview of the main news of the month, in order to stay up to date on these arguments and have the necessary references for further information.

The following diagram shows the different areas related to management, which are covered in this series of articles, in order to stay up to date on these topics and to better deploy and maintain applications and resources.

Figure 1 – Management services in Azure overview

Monitor

Azure Monitor

New version of the agent for Linux systems

This month was released a new version of the agent of Log Analytics for Linux systems. In addition to fixing a number of bugs, the following new features have been introduced:

  • Support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 (Note: specific requirements regarding python)
  • Azure Arc support for servers
  • FIPS compliance
  • Extension package signed protected
  • Ingestion rate limiting to avoid service degradation in the event of extremely high data volume by an agent
  • Deprecating 32-bit support (1.12.15-0 is the latest release that supports 32-bit)
  • New component versions auoms and OMI

Azure Monitor for VMs on Arc Enabled servers (preview)

Azure Monitor for VM enables you to have a monitor system that can provide a global view of your systems, providing information about virtual machine performance and various dependencies. This service is available for VMs in Azure, Azure scale sets and on-premises VMs. Azure Monitor can now leverage Azure Arc to reach on-premises workloads. Although today it is possible to monitor non-Azure VMs even without Azure Arc, using this integration automatically detects and manages agents on VMs. Once integrated, Azure Arc-enabled servers will fit perfectly into existing Azure portal views along with virtual machines in Azure and Azure scale sets.

Azure Monitor for Containers for Azure Arc (preview)

Azure Monitor for Containers extended monitor support for Kubernetes clusters hosted on Azure Arc (currently in preview), offering functionality similar to the AKS service monitor (Azure Kubernetes).

Key Vault Monitor Support (preview)

Azure Monitor introduces the ability to monitor Azure Key Vault and have a unified view with performance, requests, errors and latency of this component.

Azure Load Balancer Monitor using Azure Monitor for Networks

Azure Monitor for Networks now allows you to monitor health and perform an analysis of Azure Load Balancer configuration. Inside the solution there are topological maps for all Load Balancer configurations and integrity dashboards for standard Load Balancers, suitably configured for the collection of metrics.
This new feature will extend the capabilities of Azure networking monitors. The solution therefore becomes more complete and allows for rapid troubleshooting.

Configure

Azure Automation

Updated DNS records for Azure Automation

To support new Azure Automation features, such as Azure private links, the related URLs have been updated. Instead of region-specific URLs, now the URLs are account-specific. Old Azure Automation URLs still remain functional to provide time for migration. For more information about this, please refer to this document.

Protect

Azure Backup

Update Rollup Released 1 for Microsoft Azure Backup Server (MABS) v3

For Azure Backup Server v3 has been released the’Update Rollup 3, which introduces the following major news:

  • Offline Backup using Azure Data Box (in private preview): thanks to the integration with Microsoft Azure Data Box, customers using MABS are able to face the challenge of moving tera bytes of backup data from on-premises storage to Azure. The user experience for this feature is consistent with DPM 2019 and the MARS agent.
  • Protection for Azure VMware Solution. Microsoft recently announced the Azure VMware solution (AVS) which allows customers to fully extend or migrate on-premises VMware systems to Azure. With this update, you can use MABS to protect virtual machines deployed with Azure's VMware solution.
  • Faster backups with tiered storage using SSD. MABS v3 UR1 introduces improvements to the backup process, adopting tiered storage, allows you to make faster backups until 50-70%. Using a small percentage (4% overall storage) SSD storage as a tiered volume in combination with HDD disks,you get much better performance.
  • Improved performance in backing up VMware systems. MABS helps protect VMware virtual machines. With this upgrade, all VMWare virtual machine backup jobs, within a single protection group, are now being run in parallel, leading to faster VMs backup up to 25%. Furthermore, this update also offers the ability to exclude a specific VMware VM disk from backups.
  • Support for ReFS Volume Protection. With this update, you can use MABS to protect ReFS volumes (with deduplication enabled) workloads (Windows Server, SQL Server, Exchange and SharePoint) distributed over ReFS volumes.
  • Support for an additional level of authentication in deleting online backups. MABS v3 UR1 prompts you to enter a security PIN when performing protection stop operations with data deletion.
  • Deprecated the protection agent 32 bit. With the release of UR1 for MABS v3, support for protecting workloads to 32 bit is deprecated. After you install UR1, you will not be able to protect any data source to 32 bit. If there is a protection agent to 32 bit, after installing UR1, this is disabled and any scheduled backups will fail.

Azure Site Recovery

New Update Rollup

For Azure Site Recovery was released theUpdate Rollup 46 that solves several issues and introduces some improvements. The details and the procedure to follow for the installation can be found in the specific KB.

Migrate

Azure Migrate

Evaluate imported servers in Azure Migrate

Azure Migrate introduces the ability to assess imported servers using a CSV file, without the need to deploy an appliance. This system is useful if you want to do a quick pre-evaluation or if you are waiting to deploy the Azure Migrate appliance. You can also perform a performance-based assessment by specifying the system usage values in the CSV file.

Azure Migrate server assessment tool: support for migrating to Azure VMware Solution (Preview)

Azure Migrate has introduced support to manage migration to Azure VMware Solution (Preview), providing an additional option to plan your migration to Azure. Using Azure Migrate server assessment tool, it is possible to analyze on-premises workloads to migrate to Azure's VMware solution, assessing its suitability, planning costs, calculating scaling based on performance and considering application dependencies.

Multiple credential support for physical server discovery (preview)

Azure Migrate included the ability to specify multiple credentials for physical server discovery and assessment. Furthermore, the number of servers that can be found for each individual appliance has been increased by 250 to 1.000. The appliance for physical server can be installed on an existing server and can also be used for the discovery and assessment of virtual machines if you do not have access to the hypervisor, as well as for virtual machines in other cloud environments.

Evaluation of Azure

To test for free and evaluate the services provided by Azure you can access this page.