Use Azure Migrate to Move Your Applications to the Cloud

Written by Dan Callahan

I'm the VP of Global Services at CGNET. I manage our Cybersecurity and Cloud Services businesses. I also provide consulting and handle a lot of project management. I wear a lot of hats. Professionally, I'm a builder of businesses. Outside of work, I'm a hobby farmer, chef, skier, dog walker, jokester, woodworker, structuralist, husband and father.

February 9, 2023

Jump in the Wayback Machine with me. We return to 2014. CGNET has just finished rolling out Office 365 for a global non-governmental organization. Now, they want to migrate a SQL application to Azure. Their application consultant estimates the Azure resources necessary. CGNET reviews the estimate, and finds a solution that will do the job at one tenth of the cost. We could have used Azure Migrate back then.

Return with me to today. In my Microsoft sales training I perk up when I hear about a tool customers and partners can use to plan their application migrations to Azure. The tool is Azure Migrate. Huzzah!

Migration Has Historically Looked a Lot Like Re-Creation

I hear the term “lift and shift” when folks talk about migration of applications to the cloud. It is a cute term, but it trivializes the work that is actually required. I can more accurately describe the steps as

  • Figure out all the applications and processes that are invoked when running the application.
  • Review the compute requirements for each of these applications and processes.
  • Track down what data is accessed and stored.
  • Make a map of all the directories, sub-directories and the like are involved.
  • Stand up an empty shell application in Azure.
  • Copy and paste application code into the appropriate locations.
  • Do the same for application data.
  • Start running the application and proceed with problem resolution.

Come to think of it, “lift and shift” is easier to say.

Modernizing the Application Migration Process

Thankfully, Microsoft (and independent software vendors) have created tools that can assist and, in some cases, automate the current steps in application migration. Collectively, these tools are described as Azure Migrate. What can Azure Migrate do? Check this out.

  • Discover Azure Migrate can discover what servers you have running in your environment. The tool can discover VMWare servers, those running under Hyper-V, and servers on Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud.
  • Assess Azure Migrate will assess each server for its ability to be migrated. The tool will estimate Azure resources needed and provide a cost analysis. Azure Migrate will also produce a cross-dependency map, so you understand which applications depend on which servers to run.
  • Migrate Azure Migrate provides several tools to migrate application code and data. The tool also supports migration tools from other software vendors.
  • Modernize You can also use Azure Migrate to modernize applications as you migrate them. For instance, you can containerize Java web applications and migrate them to Azure Kubernetes Service.

You Can Also Get a Business Case

This last bit of Azure Migrate goodness is not listed in the technical documentation. However, I saw the tool in action at the sales training I attended today.

Azure Migrate can help build a business case for your migration to the cloud. The tool will take what it has learned in the Discover and Assessment phases, and apply that information to develop a business case. You can use the built-in assumptions about your current spend and usage. Or you can provide your own data.

When I talk to customers about migrating applications to the cloud, their question is more about “how should I” and less about “does it make business sense?” Even if this describes you, it is still valuable to get a sense of how much the migration will cost. And, it is certainly nice to have a cost savings story to tell.

What About Surveil?

I have talked about Surveil before. Coming into the training, I was wondering if Surveil and Azure Migrate compete with one another. I can see now that they do not. Azure Migrate will help you justify and plan your application migration. Surveil will be useful down the road, to see if you can reconfigure the Azure resources in use to save some dollars. That is good to know!

Let me know if you would like to see either of these tools in use. I would enjoy showing them to you!

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