Migration is a way of life in any datacenter. Upgrading to the latest platform or moving workloads to the cloud enables you to benefit from new features and functionality. By breaking down the migration process into three steps—Assess, Migrate, and Optimize—you can solve the most pressing migration challenges and deliver the reliability, performance, and security your business stakeholders expect.
Following this process will help you plan for these activities:
- Designing a hybrid on-premises + cloud model that meets your business needs.
- Providing network connectivity and authentication between on-premises and cloud workloads.
- Reconfiguring workloads as you move them to the cloud to meet applicable compliance and governance standards.
- Understanding which workloads to migrate and in what order.
- Determining which migration approaches work best for each workload you need to move.
Take a systematic look at your environment to determine what you have, where it is, what it does, and whether it’s a good candidate for moving to the cloud or upgrading on-premises. If you move to the cloud, you might use tools like Azure Migrate and Microsoft Data Migration Assistant.
The output of the Assess phase is typically a list of the items you’ve discovered, ranked according to business impact and value, with business-critical resources at the top and lower-value legacy workloads at the bottom. Tiering your findings enables you to prioritize the systems to migrate or upgrade. Start by understanding the applications you need to migrate, the underlying architectural dependencies and business requirements, and the post-migration benefits that stakeholders expect.
Inventory your apps and workloads, then carefully evaluate the difficulty and risk of migrating each one. This evaluation helps you prioritize and plan based on issues and opportunities.
Inventory by type
Sort applications into basic categories:
- Custom applications
- Microsoft server applications (Exchange, Skype, SharePoint)
- Microsoft partner applications
- Windows Server workloads (such as DNS and file/print)
Calculate application risk
Two factors drive migration risk: business impact and complexity.
- Score business impact by assessing how important the workload is to your business operations.
- Score complexity by evaluating how complex the application is and how well your team understands it.
A critical workload will score a higher risk even if it’s simple, whereas a more complex but less critical workload might end up with a lower risk score—and thus might be a better candidate for early migration.
For cloud migration, you can use proven tools such as Azure Site Recovery to seamlessly rehost virtual machines and Azure Database Migration Service to move databases to Azure. Depending on your approach, you might also refactor apps with container services, rebuild, or rearchitect. For your data, you can migrate to an Azure SQL Database Managed Instance or modernize with Azure CosmosDB.
If you plan to upgrade on-premises, explore the latest version of Windows Server, with capabilities that can help you get cloud- and DevOps ready, along with straightforward tools and guidance on migrating your applications and workloads to Azure.
Measure twice, cut once
A careful approach will help protect your business operations from disruption. To help make sure your LOB migration goes smoothly, consider the following factors:
- Dependencies. Carefully analyze dependencies, including authentication, between LOB applications and other services. These dependencies may be as simple as an SSL connection or as complex as a set of remote APIs that applications use to communicate. Include a plan for authentication.
- Databases. Some applications include external databases. You can use Azure Database Migration Service to migrate databases to Azure SQL Database to support any migrated applications you have rehosted in Azure Virtual Machines.
- Multi-tier. Azure services can help you migrate tiers to smooth the migration.
- Application criticality. This ranking, which was part of the Assess phase, helps you determine if the app should be refactored, rearchitected, or rebuilt.
Once the Migrate phase is complete, you will want a smooth transition to the day-to-day realities of operating workloads in their new homes and—if moving workloads to Azure—managing subscriptions versus servers. In this phase, you want to ensure the new environment meets security and governance requirements.
You can take advantage of incremental learning as your team grows in knowledge and skill working in Azure. Using services such as Azure Security Center, you can strengthen security and ensure compliance across your hybrid environment. Cost Management for Azure and Azure Advisor can help you better manage your cloud resources. Finally, as Microsoft introduces new Azure tools and capabilities, your cloud operations can benefit by improving speed, agility, security, and capability.
The Optimize Phase
If the Migrate phase is like climbing a mountain, the Optimize phase is when you start to benefit from the fresh air and stunning scenery. Here, benefits of your move to Azure or the latest operating system start to accrue: cost savings from increased operational efficiencies and reduced capital expenditures, improved functionality, better security, and more flexibility.
Now is a good time to consolidate what you learned during your cloud migration or on-premises upgrade. Most organizations wisely take an incremental approach to migration, starting with a few small or simple workloads to help them understand and master the technology and business issues, then progressing to larger and more complex workloads. Each workload presents an opportunity to reflect on learning and improve your Assess phase for the next migration.
If you have hit the cloud running, you can explore changes in Azure technologies and platforms. Working at “cloud speed” requires both you and Microsoft to continually refine and improve your processes and technologies; Microsoft regularly introduces new features and technologies in Azure. As these new releases hit the market, you can incorporate them into your existing deployments and into your planning for future migrations, maximizing your ability to benefit from platform improvements as they are released.
For more information, see the Azure Migration Guide for Windows Server.
How can Shoreline Technology Solutions help upgrade my Windows Server 2008?
When it comes to upgrading Windows Server 2008, our techs can help your business assess, migrate, and optimize your upgrade.
- Assess – Identify and inventory your apps and server roles running on Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2. Analyze each workload to determine the best path—migrate to Azure or upgrade on-premises.
- Migrate – Make the move—migrate your virtual machines to Azure or upgrade to the latest version of Windows Server.
- Optimize – Fine-tune your resources to optimize costs, manage resources, and strengthen security and compliance across hybrid workloads.
Contact us today to learn how our small business server 2008 modernization paths can help protect your business.