Clients want to add agility to their IT estate while reducing (or eliminating) their data center footprint. There are four key stages for a successful and cost-effective migration. Working with an experienced partner ensures the following steps are properly executed, and the precise recommendations and guidance are provided.
Step One: Estimate your Monthly Azure Costs
The best way to start planning is with an assessment. Assessing your environment identifies options that will significantly impact your Azure migration experience. A properly run assessment will help you:
- Identify the right size virtual machines (VMs) to utilize in Azure, so you don’t wind up paying for more resources than you need.
- Define application dependencies and linkages to determine which servers/applications need to be moved in tandem to avoid any service disruptions, which typically lead to cost overruns.
- For our financial service clients, this is an opportunity to identify key systems which can leverage a move to the cloud. Some unique market data workflows may require specific planning to ensure optimization.
- Identify opportunities to take advantage of Platform as a Service (PaaS) solutions such as Azure SQL, as opposed to the standard SQL running on a VM.
Basic assessment information from tools such as the free Azure Migrate utility can provide results rather quickly (typically in less than an hour). However, don’t be tempted to grab those first results and run. This is where a partner with expertise can help. At Agio, we know how to configure and run the assessment to get the most useful and detailed results, benefiting you when choosing what size VMs to create in Azure.
Step Two: Plan for Storage
Managing and maintaining on-prem storage solutions (SAN or NAS), as well as the networks to support them, can be costly and time-consuming. Migrating file (storage) data to Agio Managed Azure alleviates operational and management headaches.
A knowledgeable partner with Azure expertise will be able to select the right target and storage type(s) for data, potentially saving your organization thousands of dollars. For example, data that isn’t accessed much and isn’t business-critical doesn’t need to be on the most expensive storage. Conversely, business-critical data should be on higher-tier storage options.
Price shouldn’t necessarily be the primary decision-making factor. During migration planning, we inventory your data and classify it by importance to map it to the most suitable storage. Picking the least expensive option could expose the workload to performance and availability risks.
Step Three: Leverage the Azure Hybrid Benefit
Many of Agio’s partners have asked about the Azure Hybrid Benefit. It certainly can offer some savings, but only in specific instances. First and foremost, you must have an active Microsoft Software Assurance (SA) subscription for Windows server. While having a SA agreement may be typical for large organizations who buy their software through a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA) or similar; most small- to mid-sized organizations get their server operating system licenses with the hardware that was purchased from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM).
If you do have a SA subscription, you may be able to reduce your monthly Azure VM costs by an average of 40% by leveraging the Windows Server licenses you already own. While it’s not a one-to-one relationship, a customer with an existing SA agreement for 16 cores can use the Hybrid Benefit savings on up to two 8-vCore virtual servers. As a Microsoft Partner, Agio can help evaluate your current licenses and make the most appropriate recommendations.
Step Four: Use reserved VM instances
Like the Hybrid Benefit, partners are asking if they can save money by leveraging Reserved Instances. Reserved Instances allow you to yield additional savings by committing to your Agio Managed Azure solution for a one- or three-year period. Taking advantage of Reserviced Instances can reduce costs by as much as 70% with a three-year commitment (less for a one-year agreement) by pre-paying for your VM, Azure SQL, or other resource consumption. Coupled with the Azure Hybrid Benefit, the savings are enticing. Agio can help evaluate the various options to make sure you are using the right subscription model for your company. Contact us to begin the assessment process.