Microsoft plans to migrate internal IT operations to Azure by 2018

The “ideal migration scenario” is Azure for legacy infrastructure components. Microsoft wants to become the best customer for their own products. But even if Microsoft itself wants to become a cloud-driven business, only a hybrid cloud is possible in the medium term.

Instead of exchanging older hardware systems in a data center for a new infrastructure, Microsoft has apparently decided to migrate legacy applications to its own cloud solution. With new applications and workloads in Redmond meanwhile, the motto is to use Azure as a standard infrastructure. Now this policy should also be applied to existing components.

This emerges from an in-house document written by cloud-specialized services The Whiris present. Moving older systems to newer hardware would cost Microsoft around $ 200 million, according to the document dated May 2014. As a result, the company decided to move all compatible infrastructure components to Azure by the end of fiscal 2018 in June this year. This is an ambitious project for Microsoft itself.

Microsoft IT, the organization responsible for internal IT operations for Microsoft’s worldwide 1900+ employees, plans to run the applications as a public cloud, a virtual private Azure cloud, or an Azure virtual machine.

Accordingly, there are apparently solutions that can not be operated on Azure. The Microsoft document here refers to Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS), Domain Name System (DNS), Windows Server Update Services, and Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager. Therefore, Microsoft would continue to operate these functions from an on-premise data center. Therefore, Microsoft continued to rely on a hybrid cloud.

Solutions that cover sensitive data will not be moved until the end of the project, according to the migration plan.

In total, around 14,000 operating system instances will be moved to Azure as part of this transition. In addition to Azure, this project also uses Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit, System Center 2012, Server 2012, Windows Azure Pack for System Center, and FacFinder from BlueStripe Software.

The solution FactFinder Enterprise allows to track individual transactions across the company. This allows tracing dependencies.

As part of the transition, Microsoft will also close a total of four traditional data centers in three locations.

In a Technet blogĀ  Microsoft says “We want to be the first and best customer by first internally installing and testing products and services before we roll them out to our users.”

Microsoft follows the strategy “Cloud and Mobile First”. In addition, Microsoft could gain experience in migrating to Azure in this way and then incorporate it into further product development and services for the users.

The migration will largely be done in two models. Lift and shift moves existing virtual machines to the cloud. If there is already a private cloud, the virtual machines are “exported” and then transferred to Azure. Physical infrastructures are first converted to a virtual machine and then moved to Azure.

If these methods do not work, grab the concept ‘Build in the cloud’. This means that Microsoft mimics the core features in Azure and then elevates them into applications in the cloud. Although this method requires a bit more administration, there are some advantages as well, such as the VM builds are ready within about 20 minutes and the builds are standard compatible and would then provide a consistent user experience.

Another important issue in migration is the question of which application is first lifted into the cloud, so would be in advance of several preparations made: The migration may not take place during a busy load phase, also responsible persons should accompany the process.

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