How to assess infrastructure before migrating to Azure?

How to assess infrastructure before migrating to Azure?
When migrating to Azure, you first need to get a better understanding of what your applications are, how many servers and/or VMs you have, and how you’ll plan to move components to the cloud.

Uncertainties about the total savings and perceived complexity can get in the way of taking this step. Many organizations have found that moving existing workloads to Azure can yield significant benefits. Justifying the investment requires confidence that you’ll save a significant amount on operational costs and that your current workloads will work as expected in the cloud.

Many workloads can run immediately on Azure without modification, while other workloads with operational and application dependencies in an on-premises environment require further analysis and planning. If your applications are composed of multiple servers or VMs, you should invest in consolidated planning to identify them and shift them to the cloud. This is not a manual process, and you’ll need intelligent planning tools to do it. Similarly, getting accurate cost comparisons can be challenging when you’re estimating the load and Azure VM instance. Without automated analysis to map on-premises capacity to VM instance, your estimations might fall, short-causing performance issues. Or your estimations could be too high-stretching your budget.

Assessment Plan

Technical and business planning for migration comes down to four straightforward steps.

1. Discover on-premises applications and servers

It’s likely that your organization runs hundreds if not thousands of servers and VMs. While your current management tools might have a good representation of these, to kickstart any migration, you’ll need an assessment mechanism that can feed data into subsequent steps. Discovering servers and VMs is usually a straightforward process. It relies on interaction directly with the endpoint (using an agent) or managing hypervisor (such as VMware vSphere or Microsoft Hyper-V). Ultimately, the goal of the Assess step is to collect server and application information, including type, configuration, usage, and applications that might be running.

2. Identify application and server dependencies

Once discovery is complete, you’ll need to map any dependencies or communication between your servers (and applications). This is critical because when migrating an application, you need to know all the servers and processes the app is using. Technical and business planning for migration comes down to four straightforward steps.

Many tools provide server dependency mapping but don’t provide application dependencies. To ensure a full picture of all communication among workloads, you need a tool that will perform both. This will allow you to create visual maps of all your applications and workloads, which enables their interaction as a single entity for costing, configuration analysis, and eventually migration

3. Analyze configuration

The Assess step enables you to ensure that each workload will function on your cloud platform. Through the collection and analysis of data, the assessment tools can give you metrics on the compatibility of the workload in the cloud. For example, is the OS that the workload runs on supported? Or are there specific hardware dependencies that might not be replicated in a cloud environment (such as running a UEFI boot on a disk that’s larger than 4 TB)? Configuration analysis should show you workloads that will migrate with no modifications, those that might require basic modifications, and those that are not compatible in their current formation, as well as provide guidelines to remediate potential issues or recommend configuration changes

4. Plan costs

The final piece of the Assess step is collecting resource usage reporting (such as CPU, memory, and storage). This is important because on-premises VMs are often overprovisioned but utilized under 20 percent. If you were to take the physical configuration of your on premises server and map this to an Azure VM series type, you’ll likely find that you’re paying for more performance and scale than you need.

Because the cloud is costed as a usage model, you should ensure your choice meets both performance and economic targets. The goal in any cloud model is to drive your VMs to at least 90 percent utilization, while making sure you meet performance and reliability goals. Through historic resource analysis, intelligent cost analysis tools can determine the actual usage of your workload and suggest the best cloud Azure VM series to use

Are there any Azure tools to perform migration assessment?

Many tools in the Azure ecosystem can help tackle the above needs simultaneously. As part of the Azure subscription for all customers, Microsoft provides Azure Migrate, which offers automation for the Assess step. Azure Migrate is a great fit for organizations that have virtualized servers in VMware. Organizations that have servers in other environments should take advantage of assessment tools from the Azure migration partner ecosystem.

These tools can also help you gather on-premises usage characteristics like CPU, memory, and storage and map them to their Azure equivalents, giving you the technical and business reporting needed to continue your migration plans. Using these tools can help you maximize the benefits of moving to Azure, as well as identify where programs like Azure Hybrid Benefit best fit into your migration to save you more money.