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Opinion Piece, Phillip Lotter - Senior Consultant: Azure Migrate with Azure ARC ESU

Microsoft's Extended Security Update (ESU) program is designed as a safety net for customers who need to continue running legacy operating systems and applications. Many organizations still rely heavily on Windows Server 2012 (R2) and SQL Server 2012 in their production environments. Recognizing this dependency, Microsoft has included these versions in their ESU program. SQL Server 2014 is set to join the ESU program in July 2024, and customers should start preparing for this transition.


The ESU program primarily aims to provide critical and important security updates to customers who cannot immediately upgrade from these legacy platforms. For server operating systems, these updates are released monthly, covering both critical and important vulnerabilities. In contrast, SQL Server updates focus exclusively on critical security patches and are released on an as-needed basis.


While the ESU program offers vital protection, it should be viewed as a temporary solution. Migrating to modern, supported software versions remains the best long-term strategy. This is where Azure Migrate comes into play.


Azure Migrate: Streamlining Your Path to Modernization


Azure Migrate is a comprehensive toolset that facilitates the discovery, assessment, and migration of on-premises environments to Azure. Leveraging Microsoft's extensive analytics and migration expertise, Azure Migrate provides tailored recommendations for your migration journey.


Azure Migrate starts by conducting a comprehensive discovery of your on-premises environment. It identifies all servers, databases, web applications, and virtual desktops, providing detailed insights into their configurations and interdependencies. This thorough assessment helps in understanding the current state of your IT infrastructure and planning the migration accordingly.


Based on the insights gathered, Azure Migrate offers migration recommendations. These suggestions guide you on whether to migrate workloads to Platform as a Service (PaaS) or Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) within Azure. This ensures that each component of your IT environment is moved to the most suitable and efficient platform.


One of the critical features of Azure Migrate is its ability to provide cost estimates for migrating workloads to Azure. This financial insight helps organizations plan and budget for their migration projects effectively, ensuring there are no surprises during the process.


Azure Migrate also creates a dependency map, which is essential for understanding how different servers, technologies, and applications interact with each other. This map ensures that all interconnected components are migrated together, maintaining the operational integrity of your IT environment.


Azure Migrate supports various migration scenarios. You can use it for Azure regional migration, moving resources from one Azure region to another. It also facilitates cloud-to-cloud migration, allowing you to transition from another cloud provider, such as AWS, to Azure. The most common use case is on-premises to Azure migration, where traditional on-premises servers or virtual servers are moved to Azure. Additionally, it supports database migration to Azure, enabling you to shift SQL Server databases to either SQL on an Azure VM or an Azure SQL instance.


The migration process with Azure Migrate can be divided into four phases. The first phase, "Assess," involves discovering and assessing your environment and meticulously planning and preparing for the migration. The "Migrate" phase includes executing the migration in planned stages, closely monitoring the process to address any issues, and testing to confirm that workloads function correctly in Azure. The third phase, "Optimize," involves validating the migration and implementing necessary optimizations. Finally, the "Manage" phase covers post-migration operations, ensuring that your IT environment continues to function smoothly as part of your regular business activities.


*Starting July 1, 2024, the complimentary data benefit for Azure Migrate in Log Analytics will no longer be available. However, the server migration service remains free for the first 180 days for each machine, and the Database Migration Service (DMS) is free for the first 180 days.


Partner with Venture 1 Consulting


If you need assistance with your migration journey or enrolling your systems in the ESU program, Venture 1 Consulting is here to help. Our team has extensive experience implementing Azure Migrate for various customers and can support you in securing and modernizing your IT infrastructure.


Reach out to Venture 1 Consulting to ensure your legacy systems remain secure and your migration to Azure is smooth and efficient.

About The Author:

Phillip Lotter works as a Senior Consultant for Venture 1 Consulting and you can connect with him on LinkedIn here

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