Application Migration to Azure: Options, Steps, Azure Services, Costs

In IT since 1989, with 9 years of experience in cloud computing and 8 years of experience with Azure-based infrastructures, ScienceSoft provides comprehensive application modernization and migration services.

Application Migration to Azure: The Essence

Migration of a small application to Azure will cost from $5,000 - $15,000, and of a medium/large application from $20,000 to $250,000. If substantial modernization is required, the cost may be $500,000 and more for a large application.

Migration of a small application to the Azure cloud will take 1-2 months. It wil take ~ 6 months and longer to migrate the first medium or large application. However, subsequent apps can be moved much faster due to the experience gained, e.g., with established migration processes, dozens of your applications can be moved to the cloud in 6 months or hundreds in a year.

Steps of Application Migration to Azure

The following general migration steps can be used as a checklist for your specific cloud migration project:

Define/review your global Azure migration strategy

  • Outline the short-term and long-term business objectives for moving to the Azure cloud (hardware refresh, urgent capacity needs, simplified software support, streamlined integrated of acquisitions, application innovation, etc.).
  • Make sure you Azure migration strategy goes in alignment with enterprise-wide app architecture strategy (if any), IT infrastructure strategy, and overall business strategy.

Assess on-premises applications and servers

Duration: 1-2 weeks

  • Perform an inventory of your on-premises applications.
  • Map the servers to represent your on-premises applications.
  • Identify application and server dependencies to ensure you include all necessary application components in your cloud migration plan.
  • Assess the compatibility of the to-be migrated workloads in the cloud to understand which workloads might require basic modifications to comply and which workloads are not compatible in their current formation, as well as provide guidelines to remediate potential issues or recommend configuration changes.
  • Determine risks of moving to the selected application to the cloud (e.g., data security concerns, app downtime).
  • Determine the Azure migration scope.
  • Select a suitable migration approach (one out of 6 Rs – rehost, replatform, refactor, retain, repurchase (for enterprise apps), retire – or a combination of several approaches) for each application based on its requirements and migration objectives.

Migration approach

Rehost (migrate the as-is app)

Replatform

(introduce minor modifications to the app)

Refactor/rearchitect

(decompose the app into services)

Rebuild

(build new code in a cloud-native approach)

 

Gains

  • Reduce CapEX
  • Free datacenter space
  • Quick cloud ROI
  • Code portability
  • Greater cloud efficiency (resources, speed, cost)

Improve app scalability and agility

 

  • Accelerate innovation
  • Add updates and improvements faster
  • Reduce operational cost

Core techs

IaaS

PaaS, containers

PaaS, serverless/microservices

PaaS, SaaS, serverless/microservices

Azure Services

  • Azure Virtual Machines
  • Azure VMware Solutions
  • Azure SQL Database Managed Instance
  • Azure DevTest Labs
  • Windows Virtual Desktop
  • Azure App Service
  • Azure SQL Database Managed Instance
  • Azure Database for MySQL
  • Azure Database for PostgreSQL
  • Azure DevOps
  • Azure Kubernetes Service
  • Azure SQL Database
  • Azure Database for MySQL
  • Azure Database for PostgreSQL
  • Azure DevOps

 

  • Azure Kubernetes Service
  • Azure AI
  • Azure Functions
  • Azure API Management
  • Azure Logic Apps
  • Azure SQL Database
  • Azure CosmosDB
  • Azure DevOps

 

Note: Every organization will have a different approach and mixture of using rehosting, replatforming, rearchitecting or rebuilding for their applications.

  • Define deployment model criteria (Azure public cloud, Azure Stack, or on-premises + Azure).

3. Discover the costs and benefits of Azure migration

Duration: 1-2 weeks.

  • Compare the current cost of running the applications.
  • Estimate the expected migration investments and project ROI.
  • Estimate costs of running application on Azure cloud.
  • Estimate the business benefits of app migration to Azure.
  • Evaluate the potential cost savings of migrating to Azure by calculating and comparing your TCO for Azure with that of a comparable on-premises deployment (Azure TCO calculator can be of help.

4. Plan migration (and modernization).

Duration: 3-4 weeks.

  • Identify all the stakeholders and roles who will work together on the project.
  • Create an application migration prioritization framework and categorize the to-be migrated applications.
  • Design a deployment model based on the chosen criteria (Azure public cloud, Azure Stack, or on-premise + Azure).
  • Design the target app architecture, plan the required refactoring/rearchitecting activities.
  • Choose the fitting Azure services (compute, storage, analytics, security, continuous integration, delivery and deployment).
  • Create an application migration schedule.
  • (optional) Identify pilot migration deliverables.
  • Create the migration project communication plan, including reporting and escalation procedures.
  • Develop a project plan with the outlined resources, timelines and costs to migrate to the targeted Azure environment, risk mitigation log, and a roles and responsibilities matrix (e.g., RACI).

Note: In case of a hybrid deployment model, it’s necessary to encrypt all communications with on-premises servers.

5. Retool and update your team’s cloud skills.

Prepare and implement a training path for your IT team that includes Azure Foundations (Microsoft Azure, Infrastructure, Networking, Data, DevOps and Cloud Development methodologies), migration/modernization skills (specific processes, software, and migration techniques), training for specific roles in Azure-based support, maintenance and development on the Azure platform.

6. Perform pilot migration to Azure (optional).

Duration: 2-4 weeks.

  • Set up a beta environment.
  • Test and fine-tune the functionality of the migrated application using test data and a test database.
  • Test scalability, load balancing, and capacity of the app and its infrastructure after loading production-equivalent test data.
  • Assess the results of pilot Azure migration, adjust the app architecture and cloud infrastructure configuration (if needed).

Note: The best candidates for pilot migration are non-business critical web applications, low complexity applications without high availability requirements.

7. Execute actual (phased) application migration to Azure.

Duration: 3-6 weeks.

The migration team continues moving your workloads and applications (including their data) to the cloud and retiring their on-premises versions.

  • Schedules and communicates app downtime to users and project stakeholders.

Note: The lift and shift method most often employed for server or VM migration is real-time replication because of its flexibility and capability in staged migration. Real-time replication allows the workload to remain online and accessible during the migration. Modern tools enable the system to cleanly migrate real-time data even when the system is actively being used. Microsoft applications (such as SharePoint, Dynamics, SQL Server and Active Directory) and apps from other vendors (including Oracle, SAP, IBM and Red Hat) can be migrated with application-aware replication, which ensures the source data consistency before replication.

  • Sets up an Azure production environment – virtual datacenter, including connectivity, networking, storage and identity – comparable to your on-premises environment.
  • Sets up DevOps tools and processes.
  • Migrates the application(s) to the Azure environment (ideally, in waves).
  • Validates that migration activities haven’t affected application functionality and performance.

Note: Phased deployment that uses testing and staging environment before moving into production environment is recommended for complex, business-critical migrations to fully test and validate each migration wave.

8. Manage and optimize your Azure environment.

  • Document app changes, updates configurations.
  • Set up monitoring tools (basic monitoring: Azure Service Health Azure Monitor Azure Advisor; advanced monitoring: Azure Application Insights Azure Service Map Azure Network Watcher Azure Log Analytics)
  • Monitor and proactively react to any issue with advanced insights and analytics.
  • Continue improving security and performance of the new Azure-based solution.
  • Continue right-sizing resources used (by optimizing the architecture of applications, using features as AutoShutdown and AutoScaling of Virtual Machines to avoid paying for overprovisioned Azure resources and improve migration ROI.

Popular Skills Required for an Azure Migration Project

Project Manager

  • Plans the Azure migration project, assigns tasks to the migration team and oversees tasks’ execution.
  • Makes sure to provide stated project deliverables on time, on budget and of the required quality.
  • Prepares Azure migration project progress reports.
  • Executes change and risk management.

Azure Solution Architect

  • Defines Azure Landing Zone.
  • Plans architectural adjustments for the to-be migrated application(s).
  • Choose Azure services.
  • Provides implementation guidance throughout the migration project life cycle.

Software Engineer

  • Implements code-level application modifications and applies fitting Azure services to an application under migration.
  • Refactors and containerizes an application under migration or application parts.

Database Engineer

  • Helps decide on the Azure database services and configures them.
  • Implements data migration tools.

DevOps Engineer

  • Implements an infrastructure-as-code approach, chooses suitable Azure deployment and management services.
  • Adjusts orchestration using Azure services.
  • Automates deployment, including the introduction of automated testing approach, CI/CD pipelines.
  • Selects and configures tools to monitor the performance of a migrated app, detect issues, and provide alerts when the issues arise.

IT Security Specialist

  • Makes sure that the workloads deployed or developed in the cloud align with the organization’s security control and compliance requirements.
  • Makes security recommendations at each stage of the cloud migration process.
  • Sets up network security, access control mechanisms, monitoring and event management for a migrated app.

QA Engineer

  • Plans a testing strategy for Azure migration.
  • Conducts manual and/or automated pre-migration and post-migration testing to ensure the application’s functionality, reliability and security.
  • Performs integration testing.
  • Verifies that all data remains intact during migration.

Sourcing Models for an Azure Migration Project

The entire Azure migration process is in-house

 

Full Azure migration process outsourcing

 

A mix of in-house team and outsourced consultancy

 

Pros:

  • Full control over the Azure migration process and team productivity.

Cons:

  • Specific resources with experience in Azure services and legacy app modernization may be required, which are not viable to hire for a one-time project.
  • All hiring and managerial efforts are on your side.

 

Pros:

  • A vendor assumes full responsibility for the team assembly and management and the quality of Azure migration.
  • Established Azure migration frameworks.

Cons:

  • High migration/modernization vendor risks.

 

Pros:

  • In-house team has a deep understanding of internal processes and software environment and direct access to all assets.
  • Outsourced consultancy provides expert guidance, mentors through the most challenging migration activities, closes up the gaps in specific tech skills.

Cons:

  • Risks of consultancy vendor selection.
  • Requires time and experience to establish smooth collaboration and communication between the in-house and consultancy teams.

 

Opt for Rapid, Smooth, Cost-Effective Transition to Azure

ScienceSoft’s Azure migration team helps enterprises to plan personalized Azure migration strategy and establish cost-effective and high-performing Azure environment.

Popular Azure Service for Migration

Azure Migrate

Best for: discovering and assessing on-premise VMs and servers

  • Built-in dependency mapping.
  • Intelligent right-sizing for Azure virtual machines.
  • Compatibility reporting with guidelines for remediating potential issues.
  • Seamless workload replication to Azure.
  • Integration with Azure Data Migration Assistant, which partners with Azure Database Migration Service for database discovery and migration.
  • Centralized migration repository delivering end-to-end tracking and insights.
  • Tools and features for optimization of Azure migration costs.

PRICING: Free

Azure Site Recovery

Best for: coordinating the automated replication of Azure VMs between regions, on-premise virtual machines and physical servers to Azure.

  • Near-synchronous replication with VMware, Hyper-V, AWS and physical services.
  • Orchestration of unified replication and failover in all remote locations and recovery of on-premises machines and Azure VMs.
  • Protecting data with customer managed encryption key that can be used during the failover of VM’s to Azure.
  • Customizable data recovery plans.
  • Non-disruptive recovery testing.
  • Automated failover and recovery.

PRICING: Free for 31 days, after 31 days - $25/month per instance protected.

Azure Database Migration Service

Best for: automating database migration to Azure.

  • Supports key migration scenarios such as SQL Server, MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, and Oracle from both on-premise database and another cloud.
  • Highly resilient and self-healing migration service, near-zero downtime.

PRICING: The Standard pricing tier supports offline (also called “one-time”) migrations. The Standard pricing tier, which offers 1-, 2-, and 4-vCore options, is generally available and free to customers.

The Premium pricing tier supports offline and online migrations (also called "continuous migration") for business critical workloads that require minimal downtime. The Premium pricing tier offers 4-vCore option at $0.37/hour price.

Financial Considerations for Azure Migration

Application migration to Azure cloud is associated with the following revenue streams, investments, and risks.

COSTS

Migration project costs

Post-migration costs

 

 

Typical migration of a small application will cost from $5,000 to $15,000, and of a medium/large application from $20,000 to $250,000. If substantial modernization is required, the cost may be $500,000 and more for a large application.

Major Azure migration cost factors:

  • Scope of migration (typical cost is ~ $1,000 (~ $500 when using offshore resources) per server.
  • Complexity of applications and their dependencies.
  • The volume of data to transfer.
  • Target app deployment option (Azure public cloud, Amazon Stack, hybrid).
  • The life span of the application and its migration readiness; the scope of infrastructure, code and configuration changes required.
  • The extent of migration automation and the cost of migration automation software licenses.
  • Testing efforts.

 

Recurring Azure charges for the infrastructure and services that will mostly depend on:

  • Required storage and compute resources.
  • Network bandwidth required by the application infrastructure.
  • Physical location of data centers (AWS Regions), and more.

Hiring IT support team proficient with Azure / training your in-house IT team.

 

 

Benefits

Risks

  • Cost-effectiveness (Capex to Opex) due to pay-as-you-go pricing model.
  • Scalability in minutes with no upfront cost (pay-as-you-go pricing) and no dependency on vendors.
  • 99.9% uptime and zero risk failure.
  • 100% compliant vulnerability management.
  • Faster time-to-market for application updates (~33% increased speed of software development and deployment).
  • Avoided cost of on-premise hardware.
  • Avoided cost of physical data center space.
  • Reallocation of staff required to manage IT on-premise infrastructure.

For rehosting: 15-20% savings over on-premises.

For replatforming: up to 450% ROI, and 70% reduction in datacenter fooprint, 35%-80% savings over on-premises.

For refactoring: up to 470% ROI, 80% time saved, 50% faster deployments.

  • The risk of business operations downtime. Migration preparation and execution, retooling, retraining, new approaches to IT support operations can impact business operations and customer experience.
  • The risk of deleting the migrated workloads through error, mistake or maintenance.
  • The risk of budget overrun due to switching to a new cost model.
  • The risk of data breach. The migrated assets become at risk of comprise because they expose open ports to the internets. Weak passwords and insecure settings increase the risks.

 

Need Help Calculating Cloud Migration Costs?

ScienceSoft’s Azure consultants and architects can calculate your migration project cost.

ScienceSoft’s Offering for Application Migration to Azure

With 9 years of experience in cloud computing and 9 years of working with Azure-based infrastructures, ScienceSoft helps enterprises with:

Azure migration consulting

Azure migration implementation

Our Azure migration consultants:

  • Analyze business needs behind migration, the application (application portfolio) to be migrated and the related infrastructure.
  • Deliver a business case, including ROI and TCO calculations.
  • Define a target Azure app architecture, defines the required app modifications.
  • Choose the optimal set of Azure services (CI/CD tools, data storage, etc.).
  • Plan an Azure app migration project.
  • Advise on cost-effective management of migrated applications, and more.

Our Azure migration team covers:

  • Azure app migration (and modernization, if required) strategy.
  • (optional) Iterative app modernization, including legacy re-engineering and re-architecting.
  • Azure app migration (including pilot migration, if required).
  • Cloud-native application development.
  • Decommissioning of old application(s) or unnecessary software parts.
  • Managed Azure cloud services to ensure availability, stability, security, cost optimization, and evolution of the migrated app(s).

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About ScienceSoft

About ScienceSoft

A global IT consulting and IT services company headquartered in McKinney, TX, ScienceSoft provides all-round Azure consulting and end-to-end Azure migration services.

  • 9 years of experience in Azure services.
  • A member of Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program.
  • A reliable Microsoft Partner holding 5 Gold Microsoft Competencies, including in Application Development, Application Integration, Data Analytics, and Data Platform.
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Experts (MCSE), Microsoft Certified Professionals (MCPS) on board.

As the holder of ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 certifications, ScienceSoft relies on mature quality management and guarantees the cooperation doesn't pose any risks to our customers' data security.