Demystifying Azure Migrations – Part 12 (Migrate): Azure Migrate

In the introduction to this series, we identified that there are multiple parts of the cloud migration journey; namely: Discover, Assess, Migrate, Manage, and Operate.

We will cover various tools that either falls into one of or span multiple phases in the migration journey.

As a quick-link reference, here is the list of tools this series will cover:

 

Continuing our focus on the tool(s) that fall within the third phase, Migrate, the next tool that we categorize under Migration is the Azure Migrate tool.

 

Tool Introduction / Summary

The Azure Migrate tool is the latest option available to facilitate and ease your migration to Azure.

The tool itself actually performs functions in all 3 categories (i.e. Discover, Assess, Migrate).

Firstly, Azure Migrate helps with the discovery by using a Collector Application. Currently, this only is available for VMware environments (Hyper-V is on the roadmap) and uses an Open Virtualization Appliance (.OVA) format to deploy the Virtual Machine. The Collector Appliance then connects to your on-premises vCenter Server and collects data (agentless-ly) from the systems.

The collected metadata includes VM information (cores, memory, disks, disk sizes, and network adapters). It also collects performance data for VMs, including CPU and memory usage, disk IOPS, disk throughput (MBps), and network output (MBps).

Next, after discovering your on-premises systems, the service assesses migration suitability and performance-based sizing and provides cost estimations for running your on-premises machines in Azure. For further details on what’s in an assessment, see the Microsoft documentation here.

Azure Migrate – Overview Diagram

But what about the migrate part?

Currently, Azure Migrate does not have a migration component. Right now, it directs us to use either the Azure Site Recovery (ASR) or Azure Database Migration tools.

According to the Azure Migrate team…

In future, we will integrate the migration capabilities of ASR in Azure Migrate to provide a single streamlined experience for both planning and performing migrations.

The tool also will include dependency visualizations by leveraging the Operations Management Suite (OMS) Service Map solution.

 

What Is It Used For?

The tool combines discovery and assessment activities, with the “migrate” action to be released in the future.

It’s best used when you are just starting on your Azure migration journey.

 

Pro’s vs Con’s

Here is a quick list of what we deem as Pro’s/Con’s of this tool.

Pro’s

  • Includes the use of the Operations Management Suite (OMS) Service Map solution to provide a full application topology map (at no additional cost)
  • Assessment includes calculations for Software Assurance, Azure Hybrid Use Benefits, and subscription-specific discounts
  • Performance evaluation is based on a month of history
  • The comfort factor accounts for issues such as seasonal usage, short performance history, and likely increases in future usage

Con’s

  • No support currently for Hyper-V (on the roadmap), physical servers, or non-vCenter servers (i.e. ESXi standalone)
  • Azure Migrate Projects can only (currently) be created in the West Central US
  • Azure Migrate only supports managed disks for migration assessment
  • Limited up to 1,000 VMs in a single discovery, and 1,500 in a single Project
  • Assessments are limited up to 400 VMs at a time
  • Dependency visualization requires the installation of 2 Agents (the OMS Agent and the Service Map Dependency Agent); whereas all other components are agentless
  • During the preview phase/timeframe, use of Service Map incurs costs

 

Other Thoughts

This tool will become the one-stop-shop for Azure migrations. As the tool is enhanced (with the inclusion of Service Map) and expanded (to include Hyper-V), it will become the default starting point for everything migration related.

 

It’s important that you understand how Azure Migrate differs from the Azure Site Recovery (ASR) Deployment Planner.

The ASR Deployment Planner does a deep, ASR-specific assessment of your on-premises environment for successful ASR replication and failover. Azure Migrate, does a quick, migration tool-independent assessment of your on-premises environment.

ASR Deployment Planner profiles your environment over a few days and provides ASR-specific recommendations like network bandwidth required for replication, recommended VM batch size for replication, storage type and accounts required, etc.

Azure Migrate performs right-sizing considering performance history for compute, storage, as well as networking. It also estimates the ongoing costs of running the machines in Azure, post-migration.

So, ASR Deployment Planner and Azure Migrate have different features that complement each other. Over time, the plan is for Azure Migrate to subsume the ASR Deployment Planner functionality, so you get both high level and detailed assessments.

As the following picture depicts, if you are contemplating migrations, start with Azure Migrate. If you are at the stage of implementing migrations, use the ASR Deployment Planner, and if you are performing migrations, use Azure Site Recovery (ASR).

Azure Migrate – Stages

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