Effective Azure Migration Moving Applications to the Cloud

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1 Effective Azure Migration Moving Applications to the Cloud Effective Azure Migration Cover

2 Table of Contents Executive Summary 1 Defining Line-of-Business Applications 1 An Example Application 2 The Migration Scenario 4 Using Microsoft Azure Services 5 How Rackspace Can Help 6 About Rackspace 9 Effective Azure Migration Contents

3 Executive Summary Some organizations operate solely on packaged applications, selecting those applications because they meet already-existing business process needs. And it s not uncommon for organizations to alter their business processes to fit the capabilities of packaged applications simply to avoid customizations. But the vast majority of larger organizations have custom line-of-business (LOB) applications. Those applications were either written by in-house Moving existing lineof-business (LOB) development staff or by outside contracting firms. These LOB applications enable core business processes and have been created to support the applications to the cloud specific needs of the organization. can be a daunting task. Moving existing line-of-business (LOB) applications to the cloud can be a daunting task. Differences in execution environments, application remediation efforts, and unfamiliar functionality can all combine to make the process more difficult than it needs to be. Microsoft Azure provides a rich Platform-as-a-Service environment to make application migration not only easy but advantageous over on-premises solutions. In this paper, we ll examine the process of migration and look at a sample application migration scenario. Defining Line-of-Business Applications Line-of-business applications provide critical business functionality. They differ from more generic business applications such as or word processing because they support specific business processes that pertain directly to the organization s main operational activities. A line-of-business application can be simple or complex, depending on its development history and function. Highly customized systems such as ERP, billing and CRM can also be considered LOB applications. However, for the purposes of this white paper, we will focus on custom applications created specifically for an organization. Effective Azure Migration Page 1

4 An Example Application GlobalCo is a large property and casualty insurance provider dealing primarily with commercial fleet vehicle insurance. One of the company s critical business activities is managing claims, and GlobalCo has a custom claims management system it operates within its on-premises data center. GlobalCo WEB FARM STORAGE SERVERS ACTIVE DIRECTORY SQL SERVER CLUSTER Figure 1 - GlobalCo Claims Management Architecture The application is a typical web-based system that allows policyholders to submit claims online. The application also allows claims adjusters to interact with the claimants during the life cycle of the claim. Additionally, various internal personnel use the application to manage and update the claim as required. Effective Azure Migration Page 2

5 The application was developed using Microsoft.NET technologies including ASP.NET and SQL Server. The web servers handle the application interfaces, the service layer and the business logic. The SQL Server cluster stores the claim information as well as other business data, and the storage servers are primarily used for storing all documents and other materials associated with a claim. Policyholders are authenticated using forms-based authentication with SQL Server as the back-end store. Internal users are authenticated through GlobalCo s Active Directory instance. GlobalCo has been working with virtualized environments for some time. The web servers and SQL Server instances are running on virtual machines. The domain controllers and storage servers are still running on physical hardware. Effective Azure Migration Page 3

6 The Migration Scenario GlobalCo is interested in migrating the claims application to the cloud because they are rapidly expanding their business outside the United States. They want to take advantage of the global reach that many cloud service providers offer as well as eliminate the need to host the claims application in their own data center. GlobalCo has selected Microsoft Azure for two primary reasons. First, as a Microsoft shop, GlobalCo believes that Azure can provide a more compatible environment for their.net-based application while still offering flexibility in the open-source technologies of the future. Second, GlobalCo is comfortable that Microsoft s Azure data centers are in locations that make sense for GlobalCo s planned geographic expansion. GlobalCo is pursuing a phased migration that allows them to test the waters. GlobalCo is pursuing a phased migration that allows them to test the waters before committing to a wholesale migration of the entire claims application. They plan to do this by moving the application development and testing environments to Azure first, followed by the production environments (assuming the first step is successful). GlobalCo also plans to do some limited beta testing with select customers during this pilot phase. Effective Azure Migration Page 4

7 Using Microsoft Azure Services Microsoft Azure has a wide range of capabilities and services that can be used to make the migration of existing applications (and the development of new solutions) easy and powerful. The following diagram shows the proposed solution components for GlobalCo s claims management system. DIRECTORY SERVICES Azure CLAIMS WEB APP GlobalCo has elected to continue AZURE BLOB using the existing forms-based ACTIVE STORAGE DIRECTORY authentication process for policyholders. For internal users, they have decided to use Azure Active Directory to allow those users to log in using their existing GlobalCo SQL AZURE SQL DATABASE Figure 2 - Proposed Azure Solution Components credentials. This provides a single sign-on experience without having to deploy additional servers but does require synchronizing the on-premises Windows Active Directory information with Azure Active Directory. APPLICATION DATA In order to simplify the environment, GlobalCo has elected to use Azure SQL databases rather than using an SQL Server VM image. From a development and deployment perspective, there is no difference in terms of the actual operation. The advantages of this approach are that there is no instance of SQL Server to manage and that Azure provides data redundancy by asynchronously committing transactions to up to four online secondary databases. The replication can occur within the same region as the primary database or in different regions as needed. DOCUMENT STORAGE Because there are almost always documents associated with each claim, scanned forms, photos and other materials need to be housed and attached virtually to a claim. Effective Azure Migration Page 5

8 Although GlobalCo could replicate its existing file server structure in Azure using virtual machines and virtual hard drives, it has decided to use Azure blob storage instead. While this requires a minor modification to the web application, the advantages (such as similar redundancy to that offered for Azure SQL databases) far outweigh the cost of the work required. Additionally, GlobalCo has already been experimenting with Azure blob storage as a means of archiving some of its older materials in the cloud, so the development team is already familiar with the technology. WEB APPLICATIONS GlobalCo had considered simply replicating its existing web farm in Azure. The process of migrating existing Hyper-V virtual machines to Azure is relatively simple, and the ability to move the environments practically unchanged was appealing. However, the development team made a strong case for redeploying the existing web applications as Azure Web Apps instead. This allows for advanced development capabilities (such as deployment slots and built-in automatic deployment from GitHub) as well as auto-scaling capabilities to account for demand and slack time. Although some modifications may be required to the web applications to take advantage of some of the features in Azure Web Apps, the development team is confident that these changes will be minimal. Also, their existing development tools and processes should work relatively unchanged. Effective Azure Migration Page 6

9 How Rackspace Can Help We make moving to the Microsoft Cloud easy. Whether it s assessing your current systems or understanding how to utilize new cloud capabilities, you can take advantage of our experience and expertise. Our deep relationship with Microsoft and our long history of supporting Microsoft technologies uniquely positions us to assist you in making the best decisions about the Microsoft Cloud. Our team will work with your team to create solutions that make sense, both now and in the future. We can guide you to the best use of Microsoft Cloud services to ensure successful adoption, migration and operation of cloud-based systems. FANATICAL SUPPORT FOR AZURE Fanatical Support for Microsoft Azure is a managed cloud solution that reduces the complexity of Azure by providing planning, guidance and implementation assistance. You ll get the most Azure has to offer through added support, proactive monitoring, patching, antivirus and 24x7x365 access to Windows and Linux engineers at Rackspace, who can log into your VMs to troubleshoot when you have an issue. The constant evolution of Microsoft Azure and the addition of new features can make Azure a challenge to adopt and manage. When you hand management responsibilities to Rackspace, we help ensure you get the most out of Azure. PROFESSIONAL SERVICES We ve taken our experience and expertise and distilled it into a set of capabilities that lets us help you maximize your investment in the Microsoft Azure platform. Whether it s a simple consultation or a complex multi-phase project, Rackspace can provide the technical and project leadership you need to take a cloud endeavor from concept to completion. We offer a wide range of capabilities that address all phases of delivery. ENVISION PLAN INTEGRATE CONSULT Envision Rackspace can help you see the future. Our consultants and advisors will guide you through activities such as analyzing your existing environment, defining a new or updated solution architecture, and assessing your readiness to migrate to Azure. Effective Azure Migration Page 7

10 The results of these activities help drive value discussions and prepare you to engage in the planning process. Plan Proper planning is essential to achieving success with Microsoft Azure. We can assist with proof-of-concept creation, deployment and migration planning, and project planning and budgeting. The goal is to create actionable guidance that will ensure consistent and measurable delivery of your cloud solutions. Integrate When it comes to implementation, Rackspace can provide experts who can manage the project, create and deploy the environments, and help with application remediation and verification. We ve been working in the cloud space for years, and our engineers are among the most qualified in the industry. Consult We also offer a variety of other services and capabilities to give you the guidance you need. We offer mentoring (both remote and on-site), application modernization assistance, training, and best practice guidance. Our experience with Microsoft technologies and systems plus our extensive experience with real-world cloud implementations uniquely qualifies us to provide you the consultative experience necessary to succeed. Effective Azure Migration Page 8

11 About Rackspace Rackspace (NYSE: RAX)is the #1 managed cloud company. Its technical expertise and Fanatical Support allow companies to tap the power of the cloud without the pain of hiring experts in dozens of complex technologies. Rackspace is also the leader in hybrid cloud, giving each customer the best fit for its unique needs whether on single- or multi-tenant servers, or a combination of those platforms. Rackspace is the founder of OpenStack, the open-source operating system for the cloud. Based in San Antonio, Rackspace serves more than 200,000 business customers from data centers on four continents. GLOBAL OFFICES Headquarters Rackspace, Inc. 1 Fanatical Place Windcrest, Texas Intl: UK Office Rackspace Ltd. 5 Millington Road Hyde Park Hayes Middlesex, UB3 4AZ Phone: Intl: +44 (0) Benelux Office Rackspace Benelux B.V. Teleportboulevard EJ Amsterdam Phone: Intl: +31 (0) Hong Kong Office 9/F, Cambridge House, Taikoo Place 979 King s Road, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong Sales: Support Australia Office Rackspace Hosting Australia PTY LTD Level 1 37 Pitt Street Sydney, NSW 2000 Australia 2015 Rackspace US, Inc. All rights reserved. This whitepaper is for informational purposes only and is provided AS IS. The information set forth is intended as a guide and not as a step-by-step process, and does not represent an assessment of any specific compliance with laws or regulations or constitute advice. We strongly recommend that you engage additional expertise in order to further evaluate applicable requirements for your specific environment. RACKSPACE MAKES NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AS TO THE ACCURACY OR COMPLETENESS OF THE CONTENTS OF THIS DOCUMENT AND RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MAKE CHANGES TO SPECIFICATIONS AND PRODUCT/SERVICES DESCRIPTION AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. RACKSPACE RESERVES THE RIGHT TO DISCONTINUE OR MAKE CHANGES TO ITS SERVICES OFFERINGS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. USERS MUST TAKE FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR APPLICATION OF ANY SERVICES AND/OR PROCESSES MENTIONED HEREIN. EXCEPT AS SET FORTH IN RACKSPACE GENERAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS, CLOUD TERMS OF SERVICE AND/OR OTHER AGREEMENT YOU SIGN WITH RACKSPACE, RACKSPACE ASSUMES NO LIABILITY WHATSOEVER, AND DISCLAIMS ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTY, RELATING TO ITS SERVICES INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTY OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, AND NONINFRINGEMENT. Rackspace and Fanatical Support are either registered service marks or service marks of Rackspace US, Inc. in the United States and other countries. Azure is a trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other states. Third-party trademarks and tradenames appearing in this document are the property of their respective owners. Such third-party trademarks have been printed in caps or initial caps and are used for referential purposes only. We do not intend our use or display of other companies tradenames, trademarks, or service marks to imply a relationship with, or endorsement or sponsorship of us by, these other companies. Modified: Effective Azure Migration Page 9

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