Are you looking for a fast, straightforward and secure way to move your on-premise applications to the cloud?
Frequently Asked Questions
As well as the immense personal costs, the coronavirus is impacting businesses across the globe. Across the IT Lab group of companies, we’ve observed two specific technical needs emerging:
In the early days of the pandemic, our conversations with our 750+ clients centred on enabling and optimising remote working. As our clients adjust to the new normal, these conversations have turned to a second urgent need: how best to address the challenges presented by inaccessible applications or workloads.
On-premise infrastructure, including co-lo data centres and legacy applications - termed stranded workloads, are presenting new risks and obstacles. And countless businesses, having been forced to change shape rapidly, are also looking for ways to reduce their costs.
With the lockdown set to continue indefinitely, our clients are focussing on the security, capacity and availability of the systems they depend on.
As part of our COVID-19 support for businesses, we ran a webinar to discuss the most efficient cloud migration options, including our Rapid Azure Migration Plan (RAMP) and our unique Azure Landing Zone. But the webinar wasn’t a platform to sell our services; it addressed the concerns we know many IT heads have, and we’re offering a free cloud viability assessment to help you on your journey.
You can watch our webinar on-demand here: De-Risking Stranded Workloads with the Rapid Azure Migration Plan.
These FAQs condense the advice our cloud specialists covered in the above mentioned webinar and signpost you to the solutions available.
What is a stranded workload?
A stranded workload is infrastructure or an application that is on-premise or in a co-location data centre. In the wake of the coronavirus and the explosion in remote working, stranded workloads are proving harder to manage.
- Accessibility, both physically and digitally
- Scalability or capacity
- Hardware upgrades
- Security concerns
- End of support
I have critical stranded workloads and need a quick, simple solution now. What do you advise?
We strongly recommend migrating your business-critical on-premise workloads to the Azure public cloud. It’s the fastest way to reduce your risks and affords a multitude of benefits.
We, alongside our colleagues at Content and Code and Sol-Tec, are here to help. We point to your options – including Microsoft End of Support: Your Get Out of Jail Card [Introducing RAMP: Your Rapid Azure Migration Plan] in these FAQs. But if you’d prefer a quick conversation, you’re welcome to contact us now.
What are the typical motivations for moving to a public cloud?
The classic triggers for moving to the cloud are shown on the right of the image, below:
In these exceptional times, are businesses that recently migrated to Azure realising specific benefits?
Yes; many of our clients have quickly reduced their expenditure. For example, by reducing the number of virtual machines online at any given time to suit a temporarily smaller workforce.
The OpEx-based pay only for what you consume model is a distinct advantage; our clients are right-sizing their environments to fit their changed circumstances. And they’ll have the flexibility to scale back up when things return to normal.
I’m not familiar with Azure and want a quick overview
Azure is a little over ten years old and today offers 600 distinct services. Azure’s services are across infrastructure-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service and software-as-a-service.
What Azure services should I look to put my priority stranded workloads in?
Most of our clients with stranded workloads are opting for infrastructure-as-a-service, with smaller numbers using platform-as-a-service.
What’s the difference between infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS)?
IaaS is a virtual platform for your operating environment and for running your applications. PaaS enables you to manage your application stack without having to manage the underlying infrastructure.
What is a region in Azure?
A region is one or more data centres which are physically separated from other regions where possible by at least 300 miles. There are 55 regions worldwide to choose from, serving 140 countries. There are currently two UK Azure regions: UK South and UK West.
Local and global redundancy are core features of Azure and a significant advantage of the public cloud. Azure has more global regions than any other cloud provider. For resiliency and compliance, each region is paired with another within the same geographic boundaries.
Why should I choose Azure?
What are the other benefits of migrating to Azure?
Many of our clients are running Windows-based environments, which is where Azure is especially helpful. It allows licence mobility from previous investments in on-premise licensing and significant discounts for fixed-term commitments.
How can IT Lab help me with my stranded workloads?
We can remotely assess your current environment, including the utilisation of your existing infrastructure and the application dependencies. Support available includes our Rapid Azure Migration Plan (RAMP) and our Azure Landing Zone, also known as our Velocity Landing Zone or VLZ.
What is the Rapid Azure Migration Plan (RAMP)?
It’s our delivery framework for migrating your critical standard workloads to Azure. RAMP includes licensing optimisation and projected future costs. Download your RAMP guide here.
Click here to learn more about RAMP and to book a remote consultation today.
How long will it take to migrate my stranded workloads to Azure?
Our Rapid Azure Migration Plan (RAMP) accelerates cloud migration for high priority, end of support workloads in a secure, controlled way. Typically, we can migrate your first three workloads to the cloud within six weeks.
Why should I choose IT Lab to help with my stranded workloads?
We offer unique and unrivalled technology which enables us to build secure, well-governed Azure environments using automation. We then rapidly migrate your services or applications into that new environment.
- One of the most capable and accredited Microsoft Partners in the UK
- Microsoft Gold Partner with 11 Cloud Competencies
- Advanced Specialisation in Azure Migration
- Azure Elite Management Partner
- 50+ Accredited Cloud Experts
- Proven deployment methodology and proprietary technology for rapid, safe and secure Azure migration
- 24/7 Global Managed Support Service to continually optimise your environment
What is IT Lab’s approach to migrating stranded workloads?
After your migration, we use these criteria to measure success.
What is the Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework?
The Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework, or CAF, is Microsoft’s approach to cloud adoption in Azure, consolidating and sharing Microsoft employees, partners, and customers best practices.
Does IT Lab apply Microsoft’s Cloud Adoption Framework?
Yes, our standard migration approach mirrors the Cloud Adoption Framework. As well as looking at your technology under the hood, we take a holistic view of your IT team and organisation to define a target operating model; a TOM, to suit your adoption of Azure cloud technology.
Does Azure host Linux-based workloads?
Yes, Azure hosts Linux-based workloads in addition to Windows.
Do I need to operate entirely in Azure?
No, some of our customers begin with a phased approach, operating a hybrid IT service between on-premise and Azure.
Are different skills required to use an Azure platform?
Yes, different skills are necessary to use an Azure platform. With on-premise workloads, you devote considerable time to keeping the lights on. When you move into the Azure world, IT becomes a shared responsibility between you and Microsoft, where your resources are freed up to focus on innovation, rather than managing the underlying platform.
By working with us, we will train and upskill your IT team as needed.
What are the cloud migration Five Rs?
You might also like this blog: Are You Thinking About the Cloud in the Right Way?
What is the Azure Landing Zone?
The Azure Landing Zone (also known as the Velocity Landing Zone, or VLZ) deploys the Azure services that become the foundation of your cloud data centre. It also establishes the governance and controls necessary to manage your cloud resources effectively.
What are the benefits of the Azure Landing Zone?
Fundamentally, the landing zone accelerates and de-risks your cloud journey. It also reduces your learning curve and training needs.
How does the Azure Landing Zone work?
The landing zone is based on a hub and spoke topology, designed around a core set of Azure services. It prepares your Azure subscription and migration of virtual machines.
The landing zone contains critical network infrastructure, ensuring that all traffic entering or leaving your Azure environment – via the spokes, is protected and controlled appropriately.
Is the Azure Landing Zone just for migration?
No, it applies equally to the creation of cloud-native applications and workloads. It’s not just for cloud migrations.
What types of organisations does the Azure Landing Zone help?
We help organisations of all sizes within the public and private sectors to build and manage their Azure environments – and we’ve been doing it for three decades.
Does the Azure Landing Zone contain all Azure services?
No, not all 600. it uses the foundational services that support the migration of your applications into Azure.
How is access to the Azure Landing Zone controlled?
Access to the landing zone is controlled by role-based access control and managed from groups. And we ensure your engineers and third parties have a method for secure access to critical cloud infrastructure.
I’ve heard horror stories of organisations running up large bills in the cloud. How can I avoid this?
Over our years of experience with Azure, we’ve picked up lots of insights. Here are our top three cost-saving strategies for managing your cloud costs:
I need a robust cloud strategy. What’s your top tip?
When migrating workloads to Azure, there are multiple choices open to you. The main thing to understand is that many apps are simple to transform to PaaS directly, or with some minor re-architecture.
Which on-premise apps are the easiest to transform to PaaS?
How can I unlock the biggest benefits of my Azure migration?
By moving to the PaaS side of Azure, you’ll realise significant cost-savings.
Has the global pandemic affected the demand for Azure?
Understandably, the demand for Azure has been unprecedented, with many organisations seeing it as the safest way to operate and scale in these uncertain times.
I’ve heard that some of the public cloud providers have limited capacity currently. Is this true?
Yes, the adoption of Microsoft Teams, for example, increased by 700% in the wake of the coronavirus. Across the IT Lab group, we’ve had more clients embracing our remote working FastStart packages to get their home-based people operational.
Microsoft is prioritising organisations supporting frontline workers, the NHS and government departments. The tech giant is working hard with supply chains to bring more physical capacity into its data centres.
However, while availability may be under pressure in your current or chosen region, be reassured that there is availability overall. If you need to spin something up in Azure, you can pick another region.
Is there latency between Azure regions that could impact services?
Traffic between Azure data centres is highly optimised; unless you’re looking at regions that are geographically very far apart, latency tends to be extremely low. And there are services in Azure that support traffic optimisation, like Traffic Manager.
I’ve heard there are some part-funded Azure cloud assessments?
That’s right, part-funded assessments are available with the IT Lab group in conjunction with Microsoft UK. Applications must be submitted before April 30th. Get in touch to learn more.
Do you recommend any good cloud-related reading material?
Yes, Expedition Cloud is a free Microsoft Azure eBook which charts Microsoft’s cloud migration and application development journey. It’s a fascinating read and demonstrates how Microsoft faced – and tackled – the same challenges that you’re facing now.
Can I get free help for my cloud migration?
Yes, we offer two variations of a cloud viability assessment, one of which is free:
- Cloud Viability Assessment – your cloud journey made clear
- Free Cloud Viability Assessment – avoid the classic missteps
You’ve talked about RAMP and the Azure Landing Zone – do I need both?
No, it depends on your circumstances and drivers – we’ll be glad to advise on the best option for your organisation.
Azure is a compelling way to reduce the risks of your on-premise systems quickly. To ease your cloud migration and control your costs, we can help you:
- Modernise your apps
- Advise you on cost-management tools
- Guide you on the right PaaS and IaaS options for your circumstances and needs
- Rapidly assess and migrate your priority workloads to a scalable Azure Landing Zone, optimised for security, performance and cost out-of-the-box
- Migrate your critical workloads to Azure in six weeks, with our Rapid Azure Migration Plan (RAMP)
Where do I go from here?
We invite you to speak with us about your risks, your objectives and the challenges that you’re experiencing today. We’d be glad to have an informal discussion about your options and how best to move forward with your Azure transformation.
Our Cloud Viability Assessment is a good starting point; we can conduct remote assessments in entirety. Our assessment will equip you with your next steps and give you an idea of cost.
For advice and information for your business on a range of topics, you can visit our COVID-19 Support Hub. Thanks for reading, stay safe, and we’re here when you need us.