Digitalization trends have taken over how organizations conduct their everyday operations and manage their business growth. Cloud Infrastructure has become a top ally of competitive businesses, enabling increased availability and performance. Yet, a great number of companies are still reluctant to take the first steps towards a cloud migration, be that to Azure, Google Cloud, AWS or other cloud platforms.

Many still prefer to keep everything on-premise, thinking it might be easier or cheaper to administrate their systems as they are. But nowadays, due to recent challenges in the business environment and the way the cloud has transformed companies belonging to different industries, on-premise hosting has become harder if not almost impossible to justify.

When deciding to start their cloud journey, many companies need a reliable implementation partner with the necessary know-how and experience to design the entire plan for creating and executing the infrastructure, be it public, private or hybrid. Several IT Service Providers recommend using Microsoft Azure, as the platform can easily handle IaaS Servers, Storage, Identity, Security, Networking and Compliance, allowing your team to focus on other more important initiatives and tasks.

Journey to the Cloud for a German manufacturer

On numerous occasions, we were able to witness the benefits of cloud migration. Most of the times, by undergoing the migration, companies are able to offload an unnecessary technical burden, thus becoming more agile and better prepared to take on the market and the competition. 

A business is like a living organism and a healthy business continues to grow and to expand. Sometimes, for our long-term partners, we can see how our clients' projects grow in complexity that it becomes harder and harder for the business to manage the output and the client's satisfaction. This was the case for one of our clients, a German manufacturing company.

Knowing the challenges of rapid growth and after a series of discussions and a thorough analysis, together with the company's representatives, we concluded that migrating to Microsoft Azure Cloud represented a suitable solution.

Cost reduction and enhanced flexibility in adding or removing hardware to or from the existing landscape are among the main reasons why migrating to Azure might be a suitable solution for your business as well.

By managing and implementing a successful migration, companies increase business availability, improve existent processes and ensure higher system performance. For the business, this translates to: 

  • Enhanced flexibility by streamlining processes 
  • Future-readiness by accommodating projected requirements and taking on the market
  • Fix compatibility issues by upgrading servers and resolving inconsistencies

A correct migration can only be achieved with a correct infrastructure assessment during which clear priorities are established. Automated cloud migration tools can also help you with insights into your specific environment, data that is vital for the migration plan.

What stays in the way of a correct migration? 

When planning a cloud migration, just remember that anything can go wrong... challenges should be mapped in a high-level plan and addressed accordingly. For example, in the case of our migration to Azure Cloud, we took our time to draft the main challenges of this project, and they looked as follows:

  • Ensure the needed system flexibility: flexibility of deploying new applications in the new ecosystem is an important requirement and a challenge for all projects. 
  • Redesign the architecture to be more efficient: this can translate to an increase in the working speed and a higher level of availability that could influence the performance level. 
  • Seamless infrastructure migration to Azure: ensure minimal system downtime and avoid possible network errors related to moving data.  
  • Enable DevOps: improve or create new processes in terms of automation, continuous integrations, high availability and disaster recovery for the new infrastructure. 
  • Create a backup strategy: due to various levels of system complexity, a backup strategy is always required for this type of project.

The 3 Phases of a healthy Azure Migration

We usually use this 3-step approach for several of our migrations, and this project made no difference.

1. Define the current state, priorities and objectives for a smooth migration to the cloud

Consider the specific business context to go for the right cloud migration strategy. A healthy migration to the cloud starts with an inventory of all the current physical and virtual servers. Then, also list all the current applications (fully or partially running). As a rule of thumb, consider re-hosting less strategic applications with no-code changes and even rearchitect the ones that are business-critical. 

2. Design and implement the infrastructure according to business needs

After mapping all possible issues related to the migration project and putting in place all the procedures to fix them, we design the infrastructure with a focus on reliability and scalability.

When managing these types of projects, during this second phase, we ensure full transparency and full control for the client, as well as a clear overview of all the system changes.

Assuring the scalability of the cloud platform by implementing a tailored architecture design, allows a certain level of flexibility to accommodate future system demands. This means that the system can be easily updated and upgraded to fit future business demands.

As part of the implementation described in this article, we leveraged the Azure capabilities and services, by using the Azure DevOps tool stack and the Azure Kubernetes Services for fast and efficient deployment.

Then, we put in place Monitoring capabilities with High Availability and Disaster Recovery on the new, partly or fully automated cloud infrastructure. 

3. Maximize the cloud investment's value by optimizing and monitoring

Once you’re up and running, provide the means to optimize your cloud environment. To ensure constant functionality, monitoring helps solve any issue in the shortest possible time. 

By leveraging Azure Cloud’s capabilities, you can view in real-time the usage, metrics and performance of the system to achieve maximum efficiency and increased end-customers satisfaction.

Therefore, resources are automatically scaled based on real-time demand, thus optimizing costs and enhancing the overall customer experience.

Main take away 

A healthy migration enables your infrastructure system to support the company in its business growth. By undergoing an Azure Migration, you increase availability and become future-ready by streamlining processes and gaining flexibility.

As cloud computing represents a shift from the traditional on-premise hosting, the transition to the cloud requires careful planning and strategy. 

Cloud infrastructure provides benefits for scaling system resources. Always keep in mind prioritizing and setting the right objectives for your migration. After implementing the tailored solution, the feasibility of your investment can be achieved with constant monitoring and system regular optimization. This will help you calibrate in real-time and enhance your customer experience, as well as the overall business performance.

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