Why You Shouldn’t Let Compatibility Worries Stall Your Cloud Migration Plan

Paul Shanahan 

Paul Shanahan 

Intelligent Cloud Business Group Lead

Read Time, 4 min.

Why You Shouldn’t Let Compatibility Worries Stall Your Cloud Migration Plan

Two important calendar notices: First, July 2019 sees the end of support for SQL Server 2008 R2. Second, January 2020 marks the end of support for Windows Server 2008.

Those months will prove challenging for a lot more IT departments than would like to admit. On the up side, this could be a boon for IT professionals who have been dying for a chance to modernise their estates and begin moving data and applications to the cloud. For others, planning a successful migration from on-premise infrastructure to the cloud presents a number of challenges, from assessing what applications can be upgraded, replaced or tombstoned to demonstrating long-term cost savings to the business. All this to be done while ensuring the average user doesn’t even notice the changeover – better yet, they might see any changes as improvements. No matter what way you look at this it’s an opportunity for change and as someone once said, “a change will do you good”.

Of course, you don’t need the end of a support cycle to justify migration. The operational benefits alone (DR, automated software updates, standardized compliance…need I go on?) often deliver enough advantages to at least consider a move. I like to look at migration as a four-part process: assess, migrate, optimise, and secure & manage.

Assess

In looking towards cloud, ask first what you NEED to move vs. what would be GOOD to move vs. what can I NEVER move! Some applications will be ready to move straight away with immediate ROI and value in doing so. Older or bespoke applications may require significant redevelopment work or even replacement. Doing get paralyzed by the latter – a key learning for me is to do something! Migration is an iterative approach and quick wins can yield massive return. Just doing a simple lift and shift of SQL and Server 2008 workloads to Azure has massive security and cost benefits for ongoing support!

Migrate

The easy bit! Azure has its own site recovery and data migration service that lets you keep working on-premises while shifting to the cloud in near real time. If you’re not ready to let go completely, try working with a third party or using containerization to create a working space. You can even migrate from multiple sources at scale – a great opportunity to consolidate your infrastructure. A great example of this is SQL Managed Instances. Managed Instance allows existing SQL Server customers to lift and shift their on-premises applications to the cloud with minimal application and database changes. At the same time, Managed Instance preserves all PaaS capabilities (automatic patching and version updates, automated backups, high-availability, that drastically reduces management overhead and TCO.

Optimise

Now this is where it gets far more interesting! Your data has been uploaded, your applications refactored, your infrastructure is managing its load. Where next?

One of the benefits of a ‘single pane of glass’ approach that Azure provides is the ability to provide insight into what your teams are working on and what it’s costing. It’s worth checking out the new Azure

Blueprints which allow you to easily deploy your resource templates, policies, and access control so environments are ready to start using right away which increase Speed of deployment of compliant applications to production through a self-service model. You can even Limit access to key infrastructure that’s shared across subscriptions to prevent unwanted changes.

Additionally the ability to re-platform applications in a staged approached allows you to consolidate compute power and services over the course of time and reduce costs on a consistent basis. We have committed to pass on cost reductions in our platform direction to our customers. Further adoption of PaaS services greatly increases the value of cloud.

Secure and manage

Did I mention the bit where cloud is already prepped for your crisis? Governance is an ongoing process – as we’ve seen with the arrival of GDPR – but going to the cloud adds security, resiliency and, through automation, better update management. There is some incredible documentation on Azure Security which can be found here – https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/security/

Security is integrated into every aspect of Azure. Azure offers you unique security advantages derived from global security intelligence, sophisticated customer-facing controls, and a secure hardened infrastructure. This powerful combination helps protect your applications and data, support your compliance efforts, and provide cost-effective security for organizations of all sizes.

Stick with the above advice and your organisation can have a reinvigorated IT estate.

 

Paul Shanahan

Intelligent Cloud Business Group Lead

Prepare for SQL Server and Windows Server 2008 end of support

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