How Azure Managed Services Can Deliver a Near Zero-Downtime Azure Migration Strategy

Posted by Gary Utley on December 10, 2019

azure managed services, azure migration strategy What's holding back your Azure deployment? For most companies, it's clear that Azure makes sense — but it's understandable that a business would also hesitate before getting into a complex, time-consuming migration. A managed service provider can make the process of transitioning to and managing your Azure deployment easier and more reliable. 

Our strategy has four stages: assess, plan, migrate, and manage. These are the same four stages that would apply to most migrations, but Azure experts are able to bring their experience and knowledge to the forefront.

Here's how Azure managed services like CWPS / Red River can help you achieve a virtually zero-downtime Azure migration strategy.

First: Assess the On-Premise Environment

At this stage, we will analyze the on-premise environment as it currently exists, and determine what the organization is going to need from its Azure deployment. By identifying the current computing and storage options, and the total cost of ownership, we can then determine the appropriate cloud settings and costs for the Azure platform.

During our assessment process, we will consider the organization's current and future needs. One of the major advantages to a cloud deployment is that the cloud deployment can be scaled easily in the future. We will create a future-proofed plan that won't just keep your company stable today, but will also grow your business tomorrow. That includes considering things like your resources, licenses, and integration.  

Second: Develop a Comprehensive Migration Plan

At this stage, we will map dependencies to ensure that everything will be migrated. One of the major concerns with a transition is that you could break a dependency within your system. You might not port over all the data that needs to be ported over, or you might not have retained the connections between different solutions.

The best way to reduce risk is to think about what could go wrong. We will examine "what if" scenarios, plan backup/disaster-recovery strategies, and run a proof of concept test migration. We will then modify our plans accordingly. 

This is one of the major benefits of using an MSP. As an MSP, we have seen numerous transitions to Azure or other services. We know what can go wrong, so we can protect against it. In the IT industry, it's often a case of "you don't know what you don't know." You don't always know what could go wrong, and that increases potential risk.

Third: Use Azure Site Recovery to Migrate

One we have a plan in place, we can begin the migration. We use tools such as Azure Site Recovery to migrate from VMware, Hyper-V, or physical servers. With the proper assessment and planning, this is usually the easiest part of the process.

Many companies are concerned about the actual migration because they are worried about downtime. But if the Azure transition doesn't include anything unexpected, it should be a fast, simple process. By planning ahead and analyzing the environment, we are able to sidestep the issues that could lead to lengthy downtime. 

Before this migration has actually been committed to, internal training should be completed. This will ease the transition within the company's processes and culture. As the company moves forward with its Azure deployment, training will need to continue. Employees will need to have someone to connect with if they encounter issues or have questions. This is another role that an MSP can fulfill.

Fourth: Manage the Azure Deployment

The job isn't over once the services have been deployed. A significant part of Azure managed services lies in managing the deployment once the transition has occurred. We will provide support, governance, data protection management, security management, patch management, monitoring, and more.

Many companies don't have the internal resources to manage a cloud-based deployment. They may not currently have the existing staff members to manage a cloud service, or they may already be in the midst of other projects.

An MSP can step in and ensure that your Azure migration strategy works, in addition to managing and maintaining your Azure deployment moving forward. This frees up your internal IT department to focus on other things.

By outsourcing the majority of your IT infrastructure, you leave your own company free to focus on innovation and revenue-generating tasks. And, of course, Azure itself will improve efficiency and productivity.

Your Near Zero-Downtime Azure Migration Strategy

Companies often hesitate to embark upon significant projects, because they are concerned about the potential for downtime — as well as how resource-intensive the project could be. But that's not a reason to avoid new, advantageous technologies. There are many benefits to using an Azure service, and if you are interested in using an Azure service, a managed service can help.

Azure Managed Services are able to do everything for you, from initially planning your strategy to managing your Azure deployment later on. Your organization will be able to leverage the power of Azure without any additional resource load.

If you want to leverage Azure Managed Services, you need to have a strategy. If you want to know how an MSP can help, contact CWPS, now Red River, today.

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