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Top 3 Pitfalls When Migrating SQL On-prem to Azure

Data modernization, cost, and security have all been driving organizations to move their data to the cloud thus making the shift from legacy to modern data platforms. No doubt it’s a smart move and Gartner predicts that more than 45% of IT spending on system infrastructure, infrastructure software, application software, and business process outsourcing will shift from traditional solutions to the cloud by 2024 making cloud computing one of the most disruptive forces in the field of IT.

Explains Ed Anderson, Distinguished VP Analyst, Gartner, “Gartner’s cloud shift data reveals that enterprises are demonstrating a continued preference for public cloud services compared with traditional non-cloud alternatives. The proportion of IT spending that is being allocated to the cloud will accelerate even further in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis, as companies look to improve operational efficiencies.”

As the trend continues, Microsoft Azure has climbed in demand and popularity. With a revenue of $16.7 billion as compared to that of Amazon Web Services (about $ 45.4 billion) and Google Cloud ($ 13 billion), Azure has been Microsoft’s fastest-growing product in the final quarter of 2020. While cloud migration is fairly simple, it may bring along a few challenges too when you decide to migrate SQL on-prem to Azure.

Azure allows database administrators to run applications locally with unlimited data storage and servers. It works incredibly well for scalable applications with numerous users. Though there are concepts that are unique to the cloud and hence capacity planning and resource management will differ when you decide to go for an Azure migration. Database administrators need to understand the attributes of Azure and prepare accordingly. 

There will be other factors such as bandwidth to be considered too. For instance, in a hybrid cloud solution, the traffic between locally hosted systems and remote cloud elements will be huge making bandwidth a major issue to cope with. Plus, you need to look into other things such as system downtime, dependencies, security issues, and monitoring concerns. After all, applications seldom work in a vacuum and there are inter-dependencies and connection configurations that need to be reviewed. 

All in all, modernizing and migrating your legacy and on-prem applications to Azure cloud is not devoid of pitfalls. Though once you tide over these initial hiccups, it’s a smooth road ahead. 

Here, we bring to the fore the top 3 pitfalls when migrating SQL on-prem to Azure:

1. Failing to plan

Migrating to the cloud does require initial prepping up. Given its infinite benefits, enterprises dive headfirst into the process only to realize they didn’t factor in the time and cost required correctly. What follows then is a deluge of performance lags that they were simply not prepared to handle. Also, there is this temptation to do it all by yourself without seeking the help of professional migration services. While it may be manageable for smaller organizations, others may want to seek professional help. Migration is not just about data replication and the many nuances associated with it will require specialists. They are skilled in preventing potential disasters and sudden complications that can arise from moving an entire infrastructure from on-prem servers to the cloud and are often difficult to fix.

The ideal way to handle this is to prepare in advance, have a clear plan of action, set goals, single out the main data components that need to be migrated, and then train your teams for the process. It is always a good idea to have an orientation meeting where everyone understands their individual roles and responsibilities during the operation.

2. App integrations and compliance

Every app comes with its own integration points which means you will have to consider payment gateways, web services, external storage, SMTP servers, and third-party vendors. Only then will you know if the apps are scalable. There would be hundreds of applications to be moved and a prior review, therefore, is a must. Experts often iterate the importance of performing a proof of concept (POC) in advance to know where you stand and how ready your system is for migration. 

Pay attention to the existing applications, look into the network challenges that may crop up suddenly, and understand the support you will get from your vendor before moving forward. More importantly, make sure that your Operating System (OS) is compatible with Azure and that the vendor you choose offers the necessary migration support.

A lot of organizations do the mistake of assuming that other ongoing issues will get resolved automatically once you migrate to Azure. If performance lags existed before migration, you may still suffer some data loss or service disruptions even after Azure migration. 

Also, make sure that you take care of the regulatory compliance especially if you are located in the US, Canada, or the European Union. Understand the regulatory aspects in your area before you begin with Azure migration. You will also need to have a virtual private network with end-to-end encryption to ensure complete security.

3. Resource planning

Migrating SQL from on-prem to Azure means you will need people to handle both on-premises and cloud-based storage. Database administrators will have to manage and monitor the changes that occur in applications, images, or drivers and should therefore be adept at handling challenges on both fronts. Training on new management techniques may also be required once you start redesigning processes post migration. You may therefore need more staff. DBAs need to understand different licensing rules too so that they can assign proper resources.

Assuming that migration is all about forklifting applications and juxtaposing them to the cloud will lead to disappointment if you fail to analyze your business environment. Re-architecturing in the post-migration phase will entail a bit of work and the tasks can get complex. You will have to re-sync a lot of things, scale, and adapt before things start working flawlessly, or else you will be in for some downtime.

Migrate with MiCORE

Failing to plan for Azure migration and underestimating its scope are serious mistakes that should be avoided at all costs. We at MiCORE help enterprises plan their Azure migration strategy for transitioning their business smoothly to Azure. We are proficient in handling every aspect of cloud migration right from capacity estimation and resource planning to services management and disaster recovery planning. 

Call us to know how our Azure specialists can help you. Book a consultation today to let our experts simplify the migration process for you.