When you have decided to move computing requirements to a high-end cloud environment it is a major step. Almost every process within an enterprise is expected to undergo some critical changes. The key challenges which on-premise infrastructures had to face were disaster recovery, redundancy, backups, secure data accessibility, high availability and scalability. This is why there was a need to integrate on-site applications with the cloud hosting in order to get game-changing solutions. But, whenever you start the journey towards a new platform, there is bound to be teething troubles and the migration to the Azure cloud is no exception in this regard.
Key challenges faced during Azure migrations:
Not only do you need to be aware of the problems which can arise during migration to the Azure cloud, you also need to have a plan on how to overcome these problems.
- 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. You will find there are some concepts which are completely unique to a cloud environment. Those who are handling migration must understand the unique features of Azure cloud and the change in mindset which therefore must happen to ensure a smooth transition.
- When you are experiencing a migration to the cloud, downtimes are inevitable. It is naïve to think that you will not face downtime; rather, it is better to plan ahead to tackle it. This will help you to reduce the effects of downtime to a great extent.
- Another problem which often arises during migrations is the lack of sufficient bandwidth. When you migrate to the IaaS platform you need to know how much bandwidth you will require. You may have heavy traffic shuttling between remote clouds and locally-hosted systems in a hybrid environment. So, 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.
- Applications will never run in a vacuum and therefore, during migrations, you must consider dependencies. There may be many configurations which become invalid when such a move occurs. Therefore, your task is to identify these possible changes and plan accordingly so that services are not disrupted.
- There are quite a few enterprise grade apps which need external databases for working smoothly. You may host databases in house and shift the app only to Azure; alternately, 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.
- 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.
- Since VMs are being adopted by enterprises a lot today, IaaS migrations are likely to include many of these virtual machines. The Azure is a good choice for VM hosting but you are required to check the compatibility of every VM before migration.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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.