Microsoft Cloud: Migrating Workloads and Security Planning
In this blog post, Application Development Manager, Lalit Patel, shares examples of customers working with Premier to overcome migration concerns and build confidence while moving workloads to the cloud.
Cloud Adoption is underway as more organizations look for opportunities to optimize spending and reduce the operational cost associated with traditional on premises IT infrastructure assets. Moving to the cloud is a strategic shift and so comes logically defining patterns for workload migration. IT division at every organization is unique in their thinking.
When defining the roadmap of workload migration, careful decisions must be made concerning:
- What order must be followed or which workloads will be migrated first
- Data security
- User experiences
- Application Performances
- Cloud friendly Application design patterns
- Enterprise on-prem workload integration
- Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
- Operational Management
- Cost Measurements
Customers will often turn to Premier for help navigating these decision. As an Application Development Manager (ADM), I partner with Enterprise Customers to do things like migrating their on premises workloads to Azure. Typically these workloads include:
- Enterprise Collaboration (SharePoint)
- Enterprise Document Management (SharePoint)
- Configuration Management (System Center – SCCM)
- Monitoring (System Center – SCOM)
- LOB applications ( Desktop, Mobile, Web)
- Enterprise Services and legacy application integrations
Recently, I partnered with a large Global Oil and Gas Company, to move their on premises workloads to Azure. In this post I am going to talk about some of the first steps we made and the decision making process. The very first concern was data migration of SQL Server content DBs (in the order of 100s of Terabytes) and second, was security.
For data migration, Azure Import/Export provides the quickest and most secure way of getting on premises data to an Azure Data Center located in a different region and country. That was exactly what this customer was looking for. Through the Premier Support relationship, I worked with their Chief Architect to manage the seamless data migration to our Azure DC.
While many common security questions are covered on the Azure Trust Center, most organizations moving data to the cloud have internal security teams with very specific needs and concerns. Premier can help and with this project, we needed to address things like:
- Continuous Data Copy job Status
- Assurance that data has reached the Azure DC without tampering or compromise
- Customs regulation, as data crossed the international boundary
- Return Shipment packaging
In order to address these concerns, Premier Support for Developers teamed up with the Azure Data Center and defined a clean process for a Data Copy job/status to be used by operational teams at the customer location. A PowerShell script based tool was provided to the customer in order to help the team monitor the progress as the data was copied.
Incorrect selection of an unapproved hard drive mean can mean a loss of time so we carefully chose supported interface types, or 3.5-inch SATA II/III internal hard drive disks (HDD). Data encryption was done using BitLocker as described in the link above. A BitLocker key is required by the Azure datacenter team to mount the disk to the servers. BitLocker is drive level encryption, however one could also choose to apply a file level encryption to data before being copied to HDD. This is an extra level of data security if needed.
As the 1TB disks were shipped, I worked with the Azure DC team to track the package and ensure it passes the Customs regulation. After delivery to the Azure DC, we worked to ensure the data copy job is completed in in a timely manner and that Customs regulation verified documentation and declaration of contents of the package.
As an added measure of protection, Pelican cases were used to shield the disks during transit. The return shipment was done in the same case. This allowed same disks to be used multiple times.
Establishing new confidence and approach
After a couple of iterations the entire lifecycle of data copy via Azure Import/Export was a routine process, easily integrated by the operational team to successfully move data to the cloud.
There are many important decisions to make and new processes to integrate when moving to the cloud. This is just one example of how a collaborative support relationship with Premier can streamline a transition to the cloud.