Don’t overlook this crucial issue before moving to Azure

If you’re planning on moving your IT systems to Microsoft’s Azure cloud, you are no doubt looking closely at the infrastructure costs.

But there’s another important issue to consider – do you have the time, skills and tools to keep your systems running properly on Azure?

Moving to Azure involves more than choosing a payment plan and spinning up virtual machines. You’ll also need to keep your systems available, optimized, and secure.

Otherwise, you’ll miss out on some of the biggest benefits of cloud, such as faster operations and time-to-market.

So, consider how you’ll tackle each of the following critical tasks.

Integrating legacy systems

You might be planning to re-host legacy systems and applications on Azure, but not replace them with Azure native services and Software-as-a-Service just yet.

If so, you’ll need to get those legacy systems working optimally with the newer underlying infrastructure.

Consider how you’ll integrate legacy systems with cloud-native tools and how you’ll monitor and patch those systems efficiently. That work is essential to keep your environment running securely and optimally, but it could be difficult. For example, you might need to get monitoring tools working with a decade-old virtual machine (VM).

Another important to-do item is building an accurate list of software running on every VM.

And you may need to integrate configuration management tools with your systems. This remediation takes considerable effort and skill.

Ensuring a desired state configurations

Of course, you’ll need to make sure VMs run properly. A key challenge will be ensuring a desired state configuration – where VMs are configured correctly and configurations remain correct across different environments – without slowing down application deployment.

To achieve this, you’ll need to use automation tools such as Puppet and Ansible, which allow you to define in code how servers are configured.

Keeping your systems secure

Storing data and deploying and running applications on third party infrastructure creates security risks that your orgnisation is responsible for addressing.

For example, you must make sure all workload security patches are up to date. And you must configure VMs to ensure they comply with governance policies.

Keeping up with this work won’t be possible unless you follow best practice and use the latest tools. For example, it’s important to automate patching and configuration to ensure that VMs are deployed with up-to-date patches and correct security settings.

Of course, there are many other steps to secure systems on Azure.You should use cloud-native security tools to proactively monitor your cloud environment and identify cyber-attacks.

Also consider how you’ll enforce password control policies and implement single sign-on.

An easier approach

Many organizations don’t have the luxury of a team with the skills and time to do all this.

But there is an easier way to tackle these tasks – you can offload the work to an Azure Managed Services Provider. Not just any MSP, mind you. You’ll need one that addresses all these issues, rather than simply spinning up VMs for you.

At NTT, we’ve invested heavily to build such an Azure Managed Services business. Our 200-strong expert Australian team uses next-gen tooling to handle every aspect of Azure migration and management.

Importantly, we’ve built an automation framework to speed up the task of ongoing Azure management. It automates everything from VM patching and configuration, to enforcing security policies. Typically, only large enterprises can afford to build this capability.

This automation-first approach ensures your systems will run properly and consistently on Azure, and frees you from myriad management tasks.

But it’s not just about saving you time. A well-managed Azure environment will allow your organization to move faster and more securely, while lowering the cost of running systems in the cloud.

To experience a hands-on demonstration or talk to our Azure Discovery Service team, contact NTT in Sydney on 02 9270 3400, Melbourne on 03 9230 9000, or Canberra on 02 6229 3600. Or, you can email us at sales@nttict.com.

Added 20 August 2019

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