The experience of migrating to Azure has been improving throughout the years. In 2018, Microsoft released Azure Migrate to consolidate the entire migration process in a single place where the cloud administrator can assess and migrate on-premises workload into Microsoft Azure. Azure Migrate allows integration with third-party providers to tackle specific migration or business requirements that you may have in your project.
There are several ways to move your application from on-premises to Microsoft Azure. Some companies have legacy applications, and they want to use that opportunity to modernize those applications. Some of them try to replace obsolete technologies with a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) solution, or move the same way but updating the operating system of your VMs and moving just the data afterward.
Another angle is moving the server as-is. This kind of migration is called lift-and-shift, where we replicate the VM from your on-prem datacenter to Microsoft Azure, and when the VM is switched over, the migration is considered complete for that given server. Some clean-up on the source will be required as part of the process.
For lift-and-shift migrations, Azure Migrate will help you with that process, and the tool will be your entry point for your transition process. Keep in mind that the design of your landing zones, network design, connectivity, governance, security controls, and so forth is a must and must be defined way before running the tool.
The tool is not just for traditional VM workloads. It also allows SQL migration, .NET or Java apps to be migrated to Azure PaaS or App Service, even Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI).
Creating our first Azure Migrate project
The Azure Migrate is simple to configure. Log in to the Azure Portal, search (located in the top area) for Azure Migrate, and click on Azure Migrate from the list. In the new blade, we will have an overview of the Azure Service offering. Click on Create.
The Azure Migrate Get Started blade has an introduction of some of the capabilities of the tool. The most important thing on this blade is that all settings to migrate your on-premises datacenter are no longer than a click away.
We can select our migration goals and control the entire assessment and migration process from the items listed on the left. When selecting Windows, Linux, and SQL Server, a new blade will be displayed, and since that is our first time running the tool, our only viable option is to create a new project.
A project is used to store metadata about any given migration that we define, including information about the assessment and migration of the workloads specified. We can have more than one project at any given time, and they may be in different regions of the globe.
When creating a new project, we have a few options, such as where the project will reside (resource group), geography (keep in mind that it is a geopolitical region, but not a datacenter as we do for other resources), and the connectivity mode (by default, public but we can restrict the traffic to just internal, however, we need to have some infrastructure and security design in-place).
After creating the first project, we will have access to the assessment and migration tools available for the workload chosen.
Managing multiple projects
All information related to the migration will be stored at the project level. For customers trying to migrate several datacenters or complex datacenter may require a different project to track the resources being migrated accordingly.
When looking at some of the migration workloads available (in this case, Windows, Linux, and SQL Server), we can see that the project is listed on the upper right corner of that initial blade, as depicted in the image below.
We can select which project we want to manage in the Azure Portal by selecting from the Project List (Item 1), and we can also create a new project by hitting the click here link (Item 2), which will trigger the same wizard to create a new project.
Managing assessment and migration tools
Azure Migrate is a hub to consolidate all tools required to move workloads to the Microsoft Azure platform. Microsoft has several tools that we are going to explore in the upcoming articles for several workloads. However, partners have their own tools and support, which may be required in certain scenarios.
The tool configuration is done at the project level, and there is a small sentence at the end of either assessment or migration tools that has a link where we can manage such vendors. If you decide to use a third-party tool, select it from the list and click on add tool.
Note: It is recommended to understand the tool and its integration with Microsoft Azure before adding tools. They will have their configuration, license, support, and other details that need to be validated before you start using them in your migration project.
Azure Migrate: More to come
Azure Migrate is a powerful tool to help cloud administrators bring workloads into Microsoft Azure. We covered the projects, which is one of the key areas of the tool. In a future article, we will cover the process to manage them and when we should use more than one.
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