Azure Migration: Harvesting the Full Power of Azure 

Companies are constantly on the lookout for creative solutions to optimize their processes, enhance productivity, and foster expansion. 

One such transformative avenue is through a Microsoft Azure migration. Azure is a leading cloud computing platform that offers an abundance of tools and benefits for businesses of all sizes.  

In today’s blog, we'll explore the myriad of ways in which migrating to Azure empowers businesses to streamline their existing operations and what a successful migration strategy looks like.  

 

Benefits of Cloud Migration and Modernization 

While application and data modernization offer numerous advantages, organizations are predominantly driven by the following objectives: 

 

More Time to Innovate 

Embracing cloud-native technologies enables organizations to redirect their focus from maintaining legacy infrastructure to fostering innovation. By leveraging the cloud, businesses can streamline operations and dedicate more resources to creative and strategic endeavors. 

 

Agile and Scalable Applications 

Implementing a microservices architecture empowers organizations to construct applications that are not only resilient and highly scalable, but also independently deployable and adaptable.  

This approach ensures that applications can swiftly evolve to meet changing demands, providing businesses with the agility needed to thrive in dynamic market landscapes. 

 

Azure’s Abundance of Tools and Services: A Business Playground 

 

Azure offers an extensive suite of tools and services. From artificial intelligence and machine learning to data analytics, Azure provides businesses with the necessary resources to stay competitive.  

With a Microsoft Azure migration, businesses can harness the power of tools like: 

  • Azure Machine Learning 
  • Azure AI 
  • Azure Databricks 

These are just a few of the tools that allow businesses to gain valuable insights from their data, enabling smarter decision-making and strategic planning. 

 

Cost-Efficiency, Scalability, and Security 

 Azure's pay-as-you-go model ensures that businesses pay only for the services they use, making it a cost-effective solution, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises. Additionally, Azure's scalability allows businesses to adapt to changing demands seamlessly.  

Whether your business experiences sudden growth or requires additional resources for a specific project, Azure scales up or down according to your needs, ensuring optimal resource utilization and cost efficiency. 

 

Enhanced Security 

Security is paramount in the digital age, and Azure takes this concern seriously. It is estimated by most top cybersecurity firms that a breach will occur as frequently as every 7 seconds by 2024, and the overall cost impact of cybersecurity breaches have exceeded $20 billion (about $62 per person in the US) this year alone and is expected to be much higher in 2024.  

Microsoft invests heavily in ensuring the security and compliance of its cloud services. That is why Azure offers robust security features, including:  

  • Identity and Access Management 
  • Threat Detection 
  • Encryption Services 

These critical security features empower organizations to protect their sensitive data and digital assets effectively. By migrating to Azure, businesses can enhance their security posture, build customer trust, and comply with industry regulations effortlessly. 

 

Choosing the right Migration Strategy 

 

Lift-and-Shift: Seamlessly Transition Your Operations 

Azure's Lift-and-Shift strategy is a migration approach that involves transferring existing applications, data, and workloads from on-premises or other cloud environments to Microsoft Azure without making significant changes to the underlying code or architecture.  

This method enables businesses to quickly transition to Azure's cloud platform, minimizing downtime and disruptions. The benefits of Lift-and-Shift include rapid migration, reduced costs associated with redevelopment, and streamlined deployment.  

This strategy is ideal for businesses with tight migration timelines, or those looking for a straightforward, cost-effective way to move their existing infrastructure to the cloud. It suits organizations seeking a quick and efficient migration solution without the complexities of re-engineering their applications, making it a popular choice for various industries and enterprises of different sizes. 

With tools like Azure Migrate, businesses can assess their on-premises infrastructure, identify dependencies, and migrate applications and data to Azure with minimal disruption. However, due to the sophisticated nature of Azure and its migration process, many companies benefit from employing a managed IT service provider to ensure a secure, seamless, expert led migration.

Azure migration platform visual example

credit: Microsoft

 

Key Benefits: 

  • Minimizes downtime 
  • Reduces operational costs 
  • Ensures business continuity 

 

Move-and-Improve: Innovate and Transform Your Business 

Azure's Move-and-Improve strategy represents a comprehensive approach to cloud migration, enabling businesses to not only transfer their existing applications and data to Microsoft Azure but also enhance and optimize them for maximum efficiency.  

This innovative strategy involves leveraging Azure's vast array of services and tools to modernize applications, making them more agile, scalable, and resilient in the cloud environment.  

The key benefits of this strategy include increased operational efficiency, enhanced security, and the ability to innovate rapidly. Businesses with legacy systems, outdated applications, or those seeking to adapt to changing market demands can significantly benefit from Azure's Move-and-Improve strategy.  

Key Benefits: 

  • Streamline processes 
  • Roadmap improvements 
  • Effectively transform operations 
  • Gain competitive edge in digital landscape 

By combining migration with optimization, businesses can ensure a seamless transition to the cloud while positioning themselves for sustained growth and innovation. 

 

Whether it's building innovative applications, implementing DevOps practices, or adopting serverless computing, Azure provides the foundation for businesses to explore new horizons, drive digital transformation, and deliver exceptional customer experiences. 

Microsoft Azure opens the door to a world of possibilities for businesses. The abundance of tools and benefits, coupled with the flexibility to lift-and-shift existing operations and move-and-improve strategies, positions Azure as a game-changer in the business realm.  

By embracing Azure, businesses can enhance their efficiency, boost innovation, and pave the way for sustainable growth in the digital age.  

 

Dive Deeper 

If you’re ready to take the next step and learn more about Azure migration, you can chat with one of our experts, you can also save your seat for our upcoming webinar that dives deep into Azure migration to help you learn more about strategies, benefits, and the platform as a whole. 

Check out our previous Azure webinars:

The Importance of Monitoring Your Azure Infrastructure

 

Cloud computing has become the backbone of modern businesses. Among the leading cloud service providers, Microsoft Azure stands out as a versatile and powerful platform, offering a wide array of services to meet various business needs.

However, managing an Azure infrastructure is no simple task, and one critical aspect that should never be overlooked is monitoring. In this blog, we'll delve into why monitoring your Azure infrastructure is paramount for ensuring optimal performance, robust security, and overall business success.

 

The Dynamics of Azure Infrastructure

Before we dive into the significance of monitoring, it's essential to understand the complexity of Azure infrastructure. Azure's ecosystem comprises various interconnected components, including virtual machines, databases, storage accounts, networking resources, and more.

These components work together to deliver a seamless cloud experience. However, as the infrastructure grows, so do the chances of encountering issues, making monitoring a vital practice to keep everything in check.

 

The Benefits of Monitoring Azure Infrastructure

 

Proactive Issue Detection

One of the most significant advantages of monitoring your Azure infrastructure is the ability to detect and address potential issues before they escalate into critical problems.

Real-time monitoring allows you to set up alerts and notifications for abnormal behaviors, sudden resource spikes, or system errors. By identifying and resolving these issues proactively, you can significantly reduce downtime and ensure high availability for your services.

 

Enhanced Security

Security is a top concern for any cloud deployment, and Azure is no exception. Monitoring plays a crucial role in identifying security threats and ensuring compliance with industry standards. By closely monitoring access patterns, failed login attempts, and potential breaches, you can swiftly take action to protect sensitive data and secure your infrastructure from unauthorized access.

 

Performance Optimization

Efficiently utilizing resources is essential for both cost-effectiveness and optimal performance. Monitoring your Azure infrastructure provides valuable insights into resource utilization, helping you identify underused or overburdened resources.

By optimizing your resource allocation, you can reduce operational costs and ensure optimal performance for your applications and services.

 

Key Metrics to Monitor

 

Resource Utilization

Keep an eye on CPU, memory, storage, and network usage metrics to understand how efficiently your resources are being utilized. Monitoring these metrics enables you to identify bottlenecks and allocate resources appropriately to avoid performance degradation.

 

Cost

To make better-informed decisions, prevent budget overruns, and ensure you get the most value from your cloud investments; ensure your Azure Monitoring platform enables real-time visibility into cloud resource usage, performance, and overall spend for things like average compute and storage cost.

 

Application Performance

The performance of your applications directly impacts user experience and business productivity. Monitoring application response times and latency allows you to identify performance bottlenecks, improve responsiveness, and deliver an exceptional user experience.

 

Servers/Nodes Available

In distributed cloud environments, monitor the percentage of servers or nodes up and available compared to the total deployed. While automation tools can redistribute workloads, a decrease below 90 percent of available servers might signal serious issues with your cloud server instances.

 

Network Traffic and Latency

In a cloud environment, network traffic and latency can significantly affect data transfer and application performance. Monitoring network traffic helps you ensure smooth data flow and identify any network-related issues that may impact your services.

 

Time to Acknowledge

Reveal load balancer or under provisioning issues. Monitor metrics for each cloud region to pinpoint specific latency problems. Compare acknowledgement time with and without a CDN for better performance optimization.

 

Error Rates

These metrics provide visibility into your application's health and the hosting cloud environment. Errors may stem from application issues or cloud environment problems, such as unavailability of cloud services or misconfigured access credentials for services within your cloud setup.

 

Security and Compliance Metrics

Regularly monitor security-related metrics such as failed login attempts, firewall logs, and access permissions to maintain a secure and compliant Azure infrastructure. These elements are crucial for protecting sensitive data and adhering to regulatory requirements.

 

Vulnerabilities

Patched/unpatched known vulnerabilities will indicate how timely and adequately patch cloud security risks in your system -- or if you leave them open for too long.

 

Requests Per Minute

predict peak demand times, enabling efficient scaling of cloud resources. It also aids in identifying and mitigating issues like DDoS attacks, enhancing application security and performance.

 

File Sharing

Monitoring peer-to-peer file-sharing metrics enables the tracking of changes in authorized file downloads or sharing. An unexpected increase in these activities could be indicative of a compromised cloud security posture.

 

Azure Monitoring Tools and Solutions

 

Azure Monitor

As Microsoft's native monitoring service for Azure, Azure Monitor provides a comprehensive solution for monitoring your infrastructure. With custom metrics, log analytics, and application insights, Azure Monitor offers powerful capabilities to help you gain valuable insights into your Azure environment.

Azure Assure

While Azure Monitor is robust, it can be expensive and time-consuming to implement, which can be a huge factor for hesitancy in business leaders.

Thankfully, through managed service partners (MSPs), one can set up the integral monitoring solutions with equally powerful monitoring features and integrations with hands-on expert support – all at an affordable rate.

At Managed Solution, we offer Azure Assure managed services to help you monitor and better manage your Azure environment.

image man at desk learning about cloud computing monitoringAzure Assure, at a Glance:

Azure Assure Managed Services offers companies, like yours, strategic cloud adoption and optimized support for their Azure infrastructure. Managed Solution handles day-to-day administration, providing 24/7 security and performance monitoring, advanced security and compliance services, cloud migration, and on-demand professional services.

Key features include:

        • Rapid API-based monitoring
        • Instant visibility into resources and logs
        • Centralized log analysis
        • And so much more!

 

To businesses' cloud journeys, chat with one of our cloud experts today.

 

Best Practices for Azure Monitoring

 

Establish Clear Monitoring Goals

Before setting up your monitoring strategy, define specific monitoring objectives based on your business needs. Clear goals will guide you in choosing the right metrics to monitor and setting up meaningful alerts.

 

Utilize Alerts and Notifications Wisely

Avoid alert fatigue by configuring alerts and notifications judiciously. Set appropriate thresholds and escalation policies to ensure you receive alerts for critical issues while avoiding unnecessary noise.

 

Regularly Review and Fine-Tune

Azure infrastructure is dynamic and constantly changing. Periodically review your monitoring configurations, analyze historical data, and fine-tune your monitoring setup to adapt to evolving requirements.

 

What the Experts (and Data) are saying

 

The 2023 State of the Cloud Report by Flexera reveals that an overwhelming 92% of enterprises have embraced a multi-cloud strategy. Despite this growing trend, a significant challenge lies in the networking teams' ability to cope with the rapid changes in the cloud environment.

According to Cisco's findings, a staggering 73% of networking teams find themselves dedicating more time to maintaining the existing status quo rather than efficiently managing multi-cloud deployments.

Furthermore, in a survey by Sciencedirect.com, experts highlighted the following conclusions:

“Monitoring of Cloud is a task of paramount importance for both Providers and Consumers. On the one side, it is a key tool for controlling and managing hardware and software infrastructures; on the other side, it provides information and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for both platforms and applications. The continuous monitoring of the Cloud and of its SLAs (for example, in terms of availability, delay, etc.) supplies both the Providers and the Consumers with information such as the workload…” (Sciencedirect.com).

“As introduced in Section 3, Cloud monitoring is needed to continuously measure and assess infrastructure or application behaviors in terms of performance, reliability, power usage, ability to meet SLAs, security, etc. [44], to perform business analytics, for improving the operation of systems and applications [45], and for several other activities (see Section 3). In this section we introduce a number of concepts at the base of Cloud monitoring that are used to set the context for the following…” (Sciencedirect.com).

These findings make it clear that managing cloud platforms is growing increasingly difficult for businesses, and only further highlight the growing need for cloud monitoring as well as expert-supported management of these incredible systems.

 

Getting the Best Out of Your Azure Infrastructure

Monitoring your Azure infrastructure is essential for modern businesses. More than having your cake and eating it too, you will secure, optimize, and save on costs to make every bite all the more worthwhile.

From proactive issue detection, to enhanced security, to in-depth visibility enabled performance & cost optimization – the benefits of Azure monitoring enable you to leverage the power of one of the best cloud computing platforms on the market and advance it to the benefit of your business.

Embrace monitoring as an integral part of your Azure strategy and pave the way for a successful and resilient cloud journey. Chat with one of our cloud experts today about Azure Monitoring and get any questions you have, answered.

 


Learn More + Free upcoming webinar

If you're ready to talk more about Microsoft Azure with a qualified expert, send us a contact request here and we'll set up a time to chat with you. For a deeper dive into the platform, join us on October 25th for part two of our free Azure Webinar series.

Azure App Service, Cloud Services, Virtual Machines, and Service Fabric Comparison

Azure offers several ways to host web sites: Azure App Service, Cloud Services, Virtual Machines, and Service Fabric. This article helps you understand the options and make the right choice for your web application.

Azure App Service is the best choice for most web apps. Deployment and management are integrated into the platform, sites can scale quickly to handle high traffic loads, and the built-in load balancing and traffic manager provide high availability. You can move existing sites to Azure App Service easily with an online migration tool, use an open-source app from the Web Application Gallery, or create a new site using the framework and tools of your choice. The WebJobs feature makes it easy to add background job processing to your App Service web app.

If you need more control over the web server environment, such as the ability to remote into your server or configure server startup tasks, Azure Cloud Services is typically the best option.

If you have an existing application that would require substantial modifications to run in Azure App Service or Azure Cloud Services, you could choose Azure Virtual Machines in order to simplify migrating to the cloud. However, correctly configuring, securing, and maintaining VMs requires much more time and IT expertise compared to Azure App Service and Cloud Services. If you are considering Azure Virtual Machines, make sure you take into account the ongoing maintenance effort required to patch, update, and manage your VM environment.

The following diagram illustrates the relative degree of control versus ease of use for each of these web hosting options on Azure.

Scenarios and Recommendations

Here are some common application scenarios with recommendations as to which Azure web hosting option might be most appropriate for each:

I need a web front end with background processing and database backend to run business applications integrated with on premise assets.

Azure App Service is a great solution for complex business applications. It lets you develop apps that scale automatically on a load balanced platform, are secured with Active Directory, and connect to your on-premises resources. It makes managing those apps easy through a world-class portal and APIs, and allows you to gain insight into how customers are using them with app insight tools. The Webjobs feature lets you run background processes and tasks as part of your web tier, while hybrid connectivity and VNET features make it easy to connect back to on-premises resources. Azure App Service provides three 9's SLA for web apps and enables you to:
•Run your applications reliably on a self-healing, auto-patching cloud platform.
•Scale automatically across a global network of datacenters.
•Back up and restore for disaster recovery.
•Be ISO, SOC2, and PCI compliant.
•Integrate with Active Directory

I need a reliable way to host my corporate website that scales well and offers global reach.

Azure App Service is a great solution for hosting corporate websites. It enables web apps to scale quickly and easily to meet demand across a global network of datacenters. It offers local reach, fault tolerance, and intelligent traffic management. All on a platform that provides world-class management tools, allowing you to gain insight into site health and site traffic quickly and easily. Azure App Service provides three 9's SLA for web apps and enables you to:
•Run your websites reliably on a self-healing, auto-patching cloud platform.
•Scale automatically across a global network of datacenters.
•Back up and restore for disaster recovery.
•Manage logs and traffic with integrated tools.
•Be ISO, SOC2, and PCI compliant.
•Integrate with Active Directory

I have an IIS6 application running on Windows Server 2003.

Azure App Service makes it easy to avoid the infrastructure costs associated with migrating older IIS6 applications. Microsoft has created easy to use migration tools and detailed migration guidance that enable you to check compatibility and identify any changes that need to be made. Integration with Visual Studio, TFS, and common CMS tools makes it easy to deploy IIS6 applications directly to the cloud. Once deployed, the Azur Portal provides robust management tools that enable you to scale down to manage costs and up to meet demand as necessary. With the migration tool you can:
•Quickly and easily migrate your legacy Windows Server 2003 web application to the cloud.
•Opt to leave your attached SQL database on-premise to create a hybrid application.
•Automatically move your SQL database along with your legacy application.

I'm a small business owner, and I need an inexpensive way to host my site but with future growth in mind.

Azure App Service is a great solution for this scenario, because you can start using it for free and then add more capabilities when you need them. Each free web app comes with a domain provided by Azure (your_company.azurewebsites.net), and the platform includes integrated deployment and management tools as well as an application gallery that make it easy to get started. There are many other services and scaling options that allow the site to evolve with increased user demand. With Azure App Service, you can:
•Begin with the free tier and then scale up as needed.
•Use the Application Gallery to quickly set up popular web applications, such as WordPress.
•Add additional Azure services and features to your application as needed.
•Secure your web app with HTTPS.

I'm a web or graphic designer, and I want to design and build websites for my customers.

For web developers and designers, Azure App Service integrates easily with a variety of frameworks and tools, includes deployment support for Git and FTP, and offers tight integration with tools and services such as Visual Studio and SQL Database. With App Service, you can:
•Use command-line tools for automated tasks.
•Work with popular languages such as .Net, PHP, Node.js, and Python.
•Select three different scaling levels for scaling up to very high capacities.
•Integrate with other Azure services, such as SQL Database, Service Bus and Storage, or partner offerings from the Azure Store, such as MySQL and MongoDB.
•Integrate with tools such as Visual Studio, Git, WebMatrix, WebDeploy, TFS, and FTP.

I'm migrating my multi-tier application with a web front-end to the Cloud.

If you’re running a multi-tier application, such as a web server that connects to a database, Azure App Service is a good option that offers tight integration with Azure SQL Database. And you can use the WebJobs feature for running backend processes.

Choose Cloud Service for one or more of your tiers if you need more control over the server environment, such as the ability to remote into your server or configure server startup tasks.

Choose Virtual Machines for one or more of your tiers if you want to use your own machine image or run server software or services that you can't configure on Cloud Services.

My application depends on highly customized Windows or Linux environments and I want to move it to the cloud.

If your application requires complex installation or configuration of software and the operating system, Virtual Machines is probably the best solution. With Virtual Machines, you can:
•Use the Virtual Machine gallery to start with an operating system, such as Windows or Linux, and then customize it for your application requirements.
•Create and upload a custom image of an existing on-premises server to run on a virtual machine in Azure.

My site uses open source software, and I want to host it in Azure.

If your open source framework is supported on App Service, the languages and frameworks needed by your application are configured for you automatically. App Service enables you to:
•Use many popular open source languages, such as .NET, PHP, Node.js, and Python.
•Set up WordPress, Drupal, Umbraco, DNN, and many other third-party web applications.
•Migrate an existing application or create a new one from the Application Gallery.

If your open source framework is not supported on App Service, you can run it on either of the other two Azure web hosting options. With Cloud Services, you use startup tasks to install and configure any required open source software that runs on Windows. With Virtual Machines, you install and configure the software on the machine image, which can be Windows or Linux-based.

I have a line-of-business application that needs to connect to the corporate network.

If you want to create a line-of-business application, your website might require direct access to services or data on the corporate network. This is possible on App Service, Cloud Services, and Virtual Machines using the Azure Virtual Network service. On App Service you can use the VNET integration feature, which allows your Azure applications to run as if they were on your corporate network.

I want to host a REST API or web service for mobile clients.

HTTP-based web services enable you to support a wide variety of clients, including mobile clients. Frameworks like ASP.NET Web API integrate with Visual Studio to make it easier to create and consume REST services. These services are exposed from a web endpoint, so it is possible to use any web hosting technique on Azure to support this scenario. However, App Service is a great choice for hosting REST APIs. With App Service, you can:
•Quickly create a web app to host the HTTP web service in one of Azure’s globally distributed datacenters.
•Migrate existing services or create new ones.
•Achieve SLA for availability with a single instance, or scale out to multiple dedicated machines.
•Use the published site to provide REST APIs to any HTTP clients, including mobile clients.

Source: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/articles/choose-web-site-cloud-service-vm/

Managed Solution’s Team has the experience and expertise to architect Azure solutions tailored for your environment. Call us at 800- 313-2109 or fill out the contact form and someone with get back to you shortly!

About Managed Solution

We're technology enthusiasts with a people-first approach. For over two decades, we've witnessed the profound impact that the right technology and support can have on businesses and individuals. Success, to us, is seeing our clients, partners, and team conquer challenges to achieve their greatest goals and build lasting connections. This relentless pursuit of inspiration drives us forward, pushing us to deliver innovative solutions that empower growth and lasting success.

View Services. 

Contact us Today!

Chat with an expert about your business’s technology needs.