Azure Migration

Azure Migration Tools: One-Click Migration for VMs and Data

Microsoft Azure provides several technologies that can help ease, and in many cases fully automate, moving workloads to the Azure cloud. Azure migration tools include the Azure Migrate service that automates migration of VMs, The Azure Data Migration Assistant that automates data transfers, and Azure Data Box which helps you ship data in bulk to an Azure datacenter via a dedicated hardware appliance.

In this post, we’ll provide an overview of Azure’s migration tools and how they can help you simplify and automate migration of on-premise workloads, as part of your Azure migration strategy. In addition, we’ll show how NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP can help automate large-scale data migration to Azure.

In this article, you will learn:

Migrating VMs at Scale with Azure Migrate

Azure Migrate is a Microsoft service that helps organizations assess the way their on-premises workloads will perform, and how much they will cost to host, in the Azure public cloud. It provides a single console to start, run, and track migrations.

Azure Migrate can check up to 35,000 VMware VMs and 10,000 Hyper-V VMs in each job, assess migration preparation, and provide actionable advice to help you save costs.

For VMware, it provides agent-based and agentless options, and for Hyper-V, it is agentless by default. It can also help you test your migration in an isolated Azure-like environment.

Azure Migrate can help you migrate the following types of workloads:

  • Servers—assess and migrate on-premises servers into Azure VMs.
  • Databases—check and migrate on-premises databases to Azure SQL DB, or to Azure SQL Managed Instance.
  • Web applications—assess and migrate on-premises web applications to Azure App Service.
  • Virtual desktops—evaluate and migrate digital desktop infrastructure (VDI) to Azure Windows Virtual Desktop.
  • Data—migrate data to Azure quickly and cost-effectively, using Azure Data Box products.

Azure Migrate provides the following integrated Azure migration tools:

  • Azure Migrate: Server Assessment—discover and assess VMware VMs, Hyper-V VMs, and physical servers, to see if they are ready for migration.
  • Azure Migrate: Server Migration—migrate VMware VMs, Hyper-V VMs, physical servers, and public cloud VMs to Azure.
  • Web App Migration Assistant—asses on-premises websites and their infrastructure for migration to Azure App Service.
  • Movere—a SaaS platform, acquired by Microsoft and integrated into Azure, which can accurately visualize entire IT environments. It is available through the Microsoft Solution Assessment and Cloud Economics Programs.
  • Database Migration Service (DMS)—see more details below.
  • Database Migration Assistant (DMA)—see more details below.
  • Azure Data Box—see more details below.

Azure Database Migration Service (DMS) and Data Migration Assistant (DMA)

The Azure Database Migration Service creates detailed assessment reports with recommendations to guide you through a migration. The reports are generated by an automated tool called the Data Migration Assistant (DMA). DMA helps you discover compatibility issues that can affect database functionality on newer versions of SQL Server or Azure SQL Database, after your migration.

DMA recommends changes required to your origin database to facilitate migration, and functionality and reliability improvements to your target environment. Once you remediate the issues found by the assistant, Azure Database Migration Service performs all the essential steps, migrating data automatically according to Microsoft best practices.

The assessment workflow helps you detect the following issues that could affect Azure SQL database migration and offers detailed guidance on resolution:

  • Migration blockers—compatibility issues that prevent you from migrating on-premise SQL Server databases to Azure, with recommendations to remove the blockers.
  • Partially supported characteristics—partly supported or unsupported features which are presently in use on the origin SQL Server, with recommendations, alternative strategies offered in Azure, and mitigating steps.

You can discover issues with your on-premises SQL Server or your destination SQL Server platform that can affect your migration:

  • Breaking changes
  • Behavior changes
  • Deprecated features
  • Performance
  • Security
  • Storage

Data migration assistant helps you migrate the following database components:

  • Schema
  • Users and data
  • Server roles
  • SQL Server and Windows logins

After a successful migration, applications can seamlessly connect to the target SQL Server databases in Azure like they did before the migration.

If you are moving data between cloud providers, see our in-depth article on moving data when migrating from AWS to Azure.

Azure Data Box: Shipping Over 40TB of Data in a Storage Device

Microsoft Azure Data Box lets you send terabytes of data to Azure in a fast, cheap, and reliable way. The service works by shipping you a Data Box storage device with a maximum capacity of 80 TB, with hardened casing to protect the data during road transit.

Data box is suitable for the following use cases:

  • Transferring data larger than 40TB with limited network connectivity.
  • One-time transfer of a large amount of data to Azure.
  • Transferring data from offline tapes into Azure to create an online media library.
  • Moving historic data to Azure for analysis and reporting with HDInsight.
  • First bulk transfer, followed by incremental transfers over the network
  • Periodic uploads, for example when large amounts of video are created on a regular basis, they can be transferred to Azure once per month or per quarter via Data Box.

Azure Migration Q&A

Why Should I Migrate to Azure?

Here are several advantages of migrating to Azure:

    • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) - IaaS enables organizations to leverage scalable on-demand infrastructure resources based in the Azure cloud. Azure PaaS offerings provide capabilities for building applications without having to maintain the underlying infrastructure.
    • Security offerings - the Azure cloud infrastructure is designed with security and compliance measures in place, including security according to the Security Development Lifecycle (SDL) and privacy according to ISO 27018.
    • Native integration with Microsoft tools - the Azure cloud offers native integration with other Microsoft tools, such as Office 365, SharePoint, and Outlook. 
What are Azure Migration Steps?

Microsoft recommends using the following four-step process when migrating workloads and applications to Azure:

  • Assess—your current assets and determine your needs. Make sure to collect information and input from all relevant stakeholders. You should calculate the total cost of ownership (TCO) to determine which applications can benefit from migration.
  • Migrate—choose a relevant migration strategy. The most common strategies are rehosting, refactoring, rearchitecting, and rebuilding. You should choose migration tools that can integrate with your environments and help efficiently migrate your assets. 
  • Optimize—to ensure performance and efficiency, you should continuously monitor your workloads during the migration phase and in the new cloud environment. This data can help you improve and troubleshoot as needed.
  • Secure and manage—all daily operations. You should pay special attention to data security and protection.

What to Consider When Migrating to Azure?

Here are several aspects to consider before migrating to Azure:

  • Performance and availability metrics—Azure lets you use advanced performance and availability metrics. However, it can be expensive to use them for workloads with frequent and large data transfers like Power BI. 
  • Migration cost—Azure offers a calculator that can help you estimate the costs of migration. However, note that in refactoring or re-architecting cases, migration costs can increase significantly. You should add these costs to your estimation.
  • Authentication—on-premises environments enable you to use windows authentication. However, when migrating to Azure you need to use Azure Active Directory for authentication.


Migrating Data to Azure with Cloud Volumes ONTAP

NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP, the leading enterprise-grade storage management solution, delivers secure, proven storage management services on AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. Cloud Volumes ONTAP supports up to a capacity of 368TB, and supports various use cases such as file services, databases, DevOps or any other enterprise workload.

NetApp offers two important Azure migration tools: SnapMirror®, which can bring existing NetApp storage device users into the cloud, and the Cloud Sync service, which can move data from any repository to Azure storage. 

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Yifat Perry, Product Marketing Lead

Product Marketing Lead

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