Taking small steps into Azure (with Developer Support)

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App Dev Managers Deepa Chandramouli and Katie Konow detail a path to the cloud through small, incremental steps and some valuable insight from our team.


Cloud computing has been the buzz word for several years and has proven to be a great advantage to many companies. Here in Developer Support, we have seen a huge uptick in the number of customers adopting cloud (in our case, we’re going to focus on Azure). Perhaps you are just not ready to lift and shift your applications or to move your whole data center to Azure, but you know it’s something you need to consider and currently want to try out a few things. Remember, the cloud does not have to be all or nothing – it should be seen as a tool set that organizations can pick and choose services within. Let’s say you are venturing into Azure and are overwhelmed with the choices of services. How do you determine what’s the right fit? Here in the Microsoft Developer Support organization we can help you with this every step of the way.

How to get started

Start developing in Azure by just going to http://azure.microsoft.com and starting the free trial. If you have an MSDN subscription, it should give you $100-150 worth of Azure credits every month. Please remember though – once you are ready to use Azure in production, having your usage added to your organization’s Enterprise Agreement (EA) is the best way forward. Enterprise Agreements give a full view of all your subscriptions. You can reach out to your Microsoft Account Manager or Support (Unified Support or Premier) resources to get started with the EA.

Where do you start

So you have your subscription – now what? If you search this blog for the words get started and azure, you’ll find 19,000+ suggestions. But here are a few ways that we have seen our customers successfully step in to Azure.

Azure DevOps

Formerly know as Visual Studio Team Services, Azure DevOps is a development collaboration solution including free private Git repositories, pipelines, dashboards (including Kanban boards) and numerous testing services. Try a small greenfield project in Azure DevOps or migrate from TFS (take a look at the migration overview). Many find the testing infrastructure and management to be much easier than provisioning on premises hardware. Premier Developer Consultant Derrick outlines how quickly you can provision a CI pipeline as one small example of how quickly things can be done in Azure DevOps. Also, don’t get stuck in the mindset that development in Azure DevOps is only for cloud solutions – this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Take a look at Developer Support consultant Ilias’ thoughts on this here. Read more about Azure DevOps.

Azure DevTest Labs

Azure DevTest Labs provides a swift way to create environments in Azure while minimizing waste and controlling cost. All the labs can be automated to start up or shutdown on a schedule of your choosing (to save you provisioning time and compute cost). You can create your own templates for the labs and these can be tied right in to Azure DevOps using an extension (see above). One great use-case is for training labs; Premier Developer Consultant Wesam walks through a training lab deployment using DevTest labs. Read more about Azure DevTest Labs.

Serverless Applications

Serverless is another big buzz word in the development community. It can mean many different things: containers, Logic apps, functions, machine learning, oh my! Azure provides a host of different services for any serverless scenario you can dream up. A few small examples that are simple to adopt with your existing architecture from our Premier Developer community: creating a form with Azure functions, API redundancy with Azure API Manager and Deploying Azure Web Apps on containers.

Lift & Shift into Infrastructure as a Service

The more popular Azure starting point we see customers adopt is lifting and shifting the applications to Azure Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) with minimal to no changes to the architecture or code. Many customers start migrating their applications to Azure into IaaS and then start adding Platform as a Service (PaaS) workloads once they are comfortable working in the cloud. Combinations of IaaS and PaaS services can be used to implement a solution in Azure. Premier Developer can help you with your migration strategy in a more streamlined approach as outlined in Moving your ASP.Net Applications to Microsoft Cloud

How Premier Developer can help

Premier Developer Application Development Managers and Consultants are all well versed in Azure; we are all certified. Our goal is to help your organization achieve more through your Azure usage: by helping you architect a solution, enabling and training your developers to develop for the cloud, and working through a proof of concept. We can be there every step of the way from planning through implementation.

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