Moving computing requirements to a high-end cloud environment like Microsoft Azure is a major IT decision.
Most organizations decide to migrate from on-premise to cloud because of issues like disaster recovery, redundancy, backups, secure data accessibility, high availability and scalability requirements. Since the decision to migrate is often driven with the motive to improve the IT systems, it is natural to imagine a seamless IT journey henceforth.
But, whenever you start the journey towards a new platform, there is bound to be teething troubles. Almost every process within an enterprise is expected to undergo some critical changes and the migration to the Azure cloud is no exception in this regard.
If you’ve finalized on moving to Microsoft Azure cloud platform, it is important to foresee the challenges you might face in the process, and more importantly, know how to overcome them
There are obvious differences between traditional and on-cloud deployments and a lack of understanding of these can be the first big problem which may crop up during migrations. It is important to understand that every cloud platform, be it AWS or Azure has its own architecture.
Whether you are migrating from on-premise to cloud or from one cloud platform to another like AWS to Azure, migration challenges are bound to occur. During migration, enterprises often face challenges that later results in cloud lock-in concerns.
1. During migration to the cloud, downtimes are inevitable. It is naïve to think that you will not face downtime; rather, it is better to plan beforehand to tackle it. This will help you to reduce the effects of downtime to a great extent. The best approach to minimize the downtime to opt for gradual migration of applications, i.e., taking one step at a time instead of shifting all the applications at one go.
2. Another one of the most common cloud migration issues is the lack of sufficient bandwidth. You may have heavy traffic shuttling between remote clouds and locally-hosted systems in a hybrid environment. This traffic which had earlier run across low-latency and high-speed LAN will now have to run across WAN. In short, the local bandwidth provisions may not be enough. When you migrate to the IaaS platform you need to know beforehand how much bandwidth you will require and provision for it before you start the migration process.
3. Applications never run in a vacuum and therefore, during migrations, you must consider dependencies. There may be many configurations which can become invalid when such a move occurs. Therefore, it is necessary you identify these possible changes and plan accordingly so that services are not disrupted.
4. There are quite a few enterprise grade apps which need external databases for working smoothly. You may host databases in house and shift only the app to Azure. While you can move the entire database to Azure to get more benefits, but for this you must know the compatibility problems which may crop up between the existing app storage and Azure storage. These problems are common when the original database had been built using software that is now outdated.
5. Just as you must ensure that databases are compatible, you also have to make sure the applications are compatible prior to cloud migration. The best way to do that is through tests. You can place the apps in question for testing in the Azure test environment. The process needs to be thorough to detect vulnerabilities and compatibility issues. If these issues come to light post production, you will have to experience major service interruptions to get them fixed.
6. Since VMs are being adopted by enterprises a lot today, IaaS migrations are likely to include many of these virtual machines. Azure is a good choice for VM hosting but like applications and databases, you are required to check the compatibility of every VM as well before migration.
7. Perhaps the biggest concern for the CIOs of businesses when handling migration to Azure is data security. You should make use of secure protocols at application level depending on the type of case. However, creation of a VPN with proper end-to-end encryption is mandatory for everyone.
8. Finally, another significant challenge which you can face while shifting to the Azure cloud is the absence of a disaster recovery plan. Although it is highly unlikely that app errors or data losses will occur, it is still very much necessary to have a proper DR plan in place. You can use the Azure cloud for data restoration when it has been used for backups for local storage. You should ideally study all possible types of disaster situations which are typical of the Azure cloud hosting environment and then make plans accordingly.
Apart from the above challenges, you may also face issues in migration because of human errors which are completely avoidable.
Deciding for migration is not the only viable step, it also needs a proper pre-planning. There are many benefits of migrating your data from your existing platform to Azure but can lead to its complementary migration challenges if not planned well. The major problem is the data disaster as transferring the whole data at a time is risky. To avoid this first prepare a clear-cut outline of steps. Then move on to the segregation of data i.e,. deciding which data needs to be moved and which can be kept on-premises or existing cloud.
Migrating applications is a sensitive task and involves many important integration points that are very frequently ignored. Points like payment gateways, external storage, SMTP servers, etc. account for the scalability of the applications. This Azure challenge is a bigger problem when there are applications in bulk to be migrated. To deal with carrying out POC (Proof of Concept) is the best solution to date. This automatically deals with any network challenges and leads to successful evaluation.
Companies tend to forget about the employees working in multiple departments that might not be knowing anything about cloud migration. A simple solution is to educating them with all points of cloud migration. Design your migration process in a way that is comfortable with all the departments. This is because every asset is equally important for the business to run smoothly.
Wherever the apps may have been hosted, you will need right procedures for managing them efficiently. So, you must know about the kind of service agreements needed and capacity planning strategy. You should know how billing will work and where data is going to be sent for application monitoring. When you choose to migrate to Azure, you will be getting a diagnostic API which can inform you about event logs, trace failures and crash dumps. You may use this interface to create monitoring rules which makes planning more clear-cut.
Microsoft has been the leading name when it comes to the operating system and developer services. Due to its unlimited capacity to store data and accommodate servers Microsoft Azure can host applications locally. This makes most of the components stay on the cloud and the rest of the applications keep on running on-site but that may lead to some cloud migration issues. Those who are handling migration must understand the unique features of Azure cloud and a change in mindset must happen to mitigate Azure migration challenges and ensure a smooth transition.
From identifying the transformation candidates to accessing application capabilities, managing existing dependencies, security concerns, and disaster recovery, businesses should take care of these concerns before migration to avoid complications if they want to access a truly hybrid cloud platform that provides first-class services and robust integration tools to increase productivity.
Alternately, you can choose to outsource the cloud migration exercise to an expert cloud service provider like Go4hosting. Call us on 1-888-288-3570 or ping us In the chat box to know how we can assist you in seamless migration to Azure Cloud.