How Azure Migrate Helps You Assess Cloud Readiness

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Thursday, February 6th 2020 — Categories: Azure, Migration, Cloud Hosting, Cloud Storage, Microsoft

Every cloud migration follows the same general path: assessment, optimization, security protocol, and management. As your cloud environment matures, the latter three phases should be repeated to refine and improve your operations.

One native Azure tool that can be useful to begin this cloud journey is Azure Migrate. It consists of Azure Server Assessment and Azure Server Migration. Assessment is a discovery tool helps you assess cloud readiness and collect valuable intelligence about your virtual machines and associated infrastructure so you can be prepared to replace them in Azure. Migration, as you might expect, can actually migrate those servers to Azure.

Within the Azure Migrate hub are also database migration tools, Movere (an assessment tool purchased by Microsoft), a web app migration assistant, and Azure Data Box which assists with large scale data migration without using the internet.

This blog will focus on the Server Assessment tool, which helps you plan for cloud readiness, budget, and target environment architecture within Azure. Learn if it will work with your target environment, what it reports, and how it can lay the groundwork for a successful migration.


Does Azure Migrate Work for Me?

Just one year ago, Azure Migrate only worked with VMware virtualized servers. Today, you can still use it to assess your vCenter 5.5 and up environment, but it also works with Hyper-V virtual machines, and even physical servers without a hypervisor. So basically if you aren’t running a Citrix or open-source hypervisor, you can likely use Azure Migrate for your cloud assessment and planning purposes.


How Does Azure Migrate Collect and Aggregate Data?

You’ll install the Azure Migrate appliance either as a local script on a physical server or as a lightweight VM in virtual environments. For local servers it is installed via Powershell and for VMs it is a downloadable template you can import. Depending on your target environment you will need specific ports open and of course you’ll need Guest access and public internet connectivity.

Within your Azure account, you’ll need to add an Azure Migrate project. You can find and add it to your account by searching for Azure Migrate. Within the Migrate hub, create a new project. Click Overview and choose your assessment or migration scenario.

Once your project is setup and your local appliance is installed, you can begin collecting data. The appliance grabs real-time samples at 20-second, 30-second, or five-minute intervals depending on your target. It then aggregates them into a 10 minute datapoint which is sent to Azure. The Server Assessment tool stores these for the previous month.

Assessment uses the percentile values from performance history and utilization to inform its right-size estimates for the Azure equivalent of your servers. You can choose the 99th percentile if you wish to size for absolute peak usage. Otherwise it will multiply the 95th percentile by a “comfort factor” to provide an effective size. You can also select an “as-is on-premises” option to create a 1-1 size recommendation.

Metrics include CPU and memory utilization, disk IOPS and throughput, and network throughput. Number of cores, disk sizes, network adapters, and memory allocation are of course also included. The tool will record and assess guest Operating Systems as well.


What Results Will I Get from Azure Migrate Server Assessment?

Azure Migrate Server Assessment will produce an Azure readiness status for each category listed above. Assuming it is within limits for configuration and running an Azure-ready OS, your machine will receive a sizing recommendation with an Azure VM SKU and disk type.

Each assessment will also receive a “confidence rating” of one to five to help you estimate the reliability of the recommendations produced. Microsoft recommends only proceeding with five-star confidence ratings and letting anything less run another day within the assessment in case of missing data.

Azure Migrate will also provide a cost estimation for post-migration. This includes the OS, software assurance, reserved instances, uptime, and location as applicable. It also totals all VMs for a monthly compute cost and monthly storage costs.


Is Azure Migrate the Same as a Cloud Economic Assessment?

In a word, no. Using more words – kind of. You can replicate a complete Cloud Economic Assessment pretty closely by using data from Server Assessment and Power BI. But that requires quite a bit of heavy lifting on your part. A Cloud Economic Assessment also covers a bit more ground, checking to see if your licensing will migrate to the cloud seamlessly as well as your servers and operating systems.

Microsoft partners can deliver a complete report with visualized data dashboards that help you make the case for cloud migration and keep tabs on what areas you will need to adjust for success within Azure. While Server Assessment from Azure Migrate is a great starting point especially for smaller environments, enterprise scale data centers will require more careful inspection to ensure less cleanup and optimization post-migration.

Learn more about Azure Migrate on the Microsoft Documentation hub, or reach out to us to schedule a consulting or management engagement for your shiny new cloud environment.