There is no doubt that Azure is an incredible platform, but it can lead companies to shy away due to its complexity. It can do a lot, but getting it set up properly is an absolute must in order to take full advantage of it.

Whether you are considering migrating your existing SQL server workloads or deploying new ones, a specialist will be a necessity in order to guide you in making the right decisions.


Migrate SQL Server


Consider Your Options

Every company will be in a slightly different scenario when the time comes to migrate. Fortunately, there are a number of different approaches that can be taken to the migration process in order to ensure it’s as easy as it can be.

The important thing is that your company and the specialist you choose to work with will consider what you are trying to achieve. This will allow them to guide you through the best migration and deployment options that are most suitable for your company.

Basically, you have these options:

  • SQL Server on a Virtual Machine
  • Azure SQL Database
  • Azure SQL Database Elastic Pools
  • Azure SQL Database Managed Instance

You may even wish to migrate to more than one of these platform options. You can learn more about them in this article on server migration and this article on resilience options.

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How To Migrate Your Workloads to Azure

Here at Compete 366, we follow five steps in order to migrate workloads to Azure efficiently and correctly. This is the same roadmap that Microsoft has laid out.

#1 Discovery

The first of the five stages requires us to discover the footprint of your database. In other words, we will take the time to figure out where your existing SQL Servers are currently located. We’ll also need to collect some additional information, like the current version(s) and how many databases you have in addition to their size.

This information will enable us to map the dependencies, thus allowing us to determine the databases that need to be relocated at the same time. The MAP Toolkit provided by Microsoft is an excellent tool that will help us with this process.

#2 Assessment

The next stage is the assessment stage. In this step, we will go through and assess your workload requirements. This will enable us to highlight any dependencies on other systems as well.

The Database Migration Assistant is a free tool that will be utilised to help check for compatibility issues in the databases and to identify any other problems that may prevent your workloads from being properly migrated to Azure. If there are issues, this tool will automatically make recommendations so that we can address them.

This tool may be run multiple times during the process to ensure the source databases are completely compatible before the migration process begins.

#3 Planning

With the databases mapped out and any migration issues pre-sorted, we will now enter into the planning stage. This step is all about getting things in order, like the tools and target platform.

This planning step will help us select which databases to migrate and the order in which we will migrate them.

The simple and low-risk workloads will clearly be migrated first. If you were to do it on your own, Microsoft would definitely recommend this so that your team could gain confidence and experience with the Azure migration process. Typically, we’ll begin with the testing and development systems as these lack dependencies and usually only have a relatively small list of users.

The planning stage will also require us to figure out the resource amount you’ll need to run the migrated workloads in Azure. We’ll work to determine the perfect balance of cost without sacrificing performance.

Finally, we’ll plan out based on your business’ requirements for each workload, for instance:

  • Is downtime acceptable? If so, when and for how long?
  • What are the on-going Availability requirements following migration?
  • What are the on-going Disaster Recovery requirements following migration?

You’ll be involved in this process to ensure we have everything planned appropriately.

#4 Transforming & Optimising

We are finally ready to prepare for migration in the fourth and near final stage. Right before we continue with the migration, we’ll work on transforming and optimising your workloads as needed. This is when we resolve any problems that need to be fixed in order to make things completely compatible.

Additionally, we’ll point out any optimisation tasks that can be completed based on the features of the target platform. The database schemas will be checked and updated, and any version upgrades will also be implemented. More assessment tools will be run before the migration process begins.

#5 Migrating

In the final stage of the process, the migration actually takes place. The plan will be executed.

During the migration, the target platform will be given more resources in order to ensure the migration goes over smoothly. Since the database will be participating in a tremendous amount of write operations, these extra resources will be needed temporarily. Once done, we’ll optimise everything for ongoing usage.

Ready to get started? Contact us for a free discussion with one of our Azure consultants or learn more about what we do here.

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Published On: December 3rd, 2018 / Categories: Azure / Tags: , /

Contact our Microsoft specialists

Phone or email us to find out more – or book a free, no-obligation call with our technical consultants using the contact form.

“It’s great to work with the Compete366 team, the team members are really knowledgeable, helpful and responsive. No question is too difficult for them. They have really helped us to manage our Azure costs and ensure we have the right environment. When we bring a new customer on-board we can scale up immediately via the Azure portal and quickly make environments available to our customers.”

“We also find that there’s never a heavy sales pitch from them – they are technically focused and recommend what’s right for us.”

Paul Coyne, Rusada

“We had great support from the Compete366 AVD expert, who was really helpful, and guided me through options to tackle issues that arose.”

“The great thing about our AVD set up is that we have a custom set up for each project which Compete366 showed me how to do. And with the scalability and flexibility of AVD – we can meet clients’ expectations and get project users up and running more quickly.”

Amir Dangol, Senior IT Manager, Integrity

“We were immediately impressed with the advice that the Compete366 specialists in Azure Architecture were able to provide. This was all new to us and we really needed some external expertise that we could use to get our questions answered. The beauty of working with Compete366 is that we transferred our Azure consumption to them, and at the same time received all of their advice and guidance free of charge.”

Tim Entwistle, Head of Software Development, Herrco

“Working with Compete366 has been like extending our own team – they are extremely and easy to work with. Right from the outset, it was clear what was on offer – everything was presented to us in a straightforward and uncomplicated way. They also provided just the right level of challenge to our developers and saved us time and money by suggesting better ways to implement our infrastructure.”

Oliver Mackereth, Project Director, Hanse

“Compete366 were able to help us leverage some useful contacts in Microsoft. We really value the expert advice and guidance that they have offered us in setting up a highly scalable infrastructure. We are also setting in place a regular monthly meeting which will allow us to further refine our architecture and ensure we keep on track as our requirements grow and change.”

Matt Brocklehurst, Technical Director - AWOL Adventure

“I have been delighted with the migration, where my team worked very hard, supported by expert advice from Compete366, and achieved everything in the timescale we had set out. Compete 366 made sure that we didn’t make any expensive mistakes, and guided us through the process”

Darrell Cann, Managing Director, APEX
Jon Milward
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