Azure s a huge and complex platform that has many services that allow you to pick and choose to build the solution you're after. Obviously, the more complex the organization, the more complex the planning required to effectively leverage these services. To assist in this complex planning, Microsoft provide a framework to address this in their whitepaper "Azure Strategy and implementation Guide".

What is presented here is a more hands on approach, derived largely from Microsoft's "Azure OnBoarding Guide for IT Organizations".


Recommendations for moving to the cloud

Azure Services
  • Catalog existing applications

    To understand what applications should be moved, when and how, it’s important to create a well attributed catalog of applications managed by IT. Then, the relative importance of each attribute (say, business criticality or amount of system integration) can be weighted and the prioritized list can be built.

  • Define criteria for moving to or starting applications in the cloud

    You should set priorities within your migration plan based on a combination of business factors, hardware/software factors, and other technical factors. Your business liaison team should work with the operations team and the business units involved to help establish a priority listing that is widely agreed upon. For sequencing the migration of your workloads, you should begin with less complex projects and gradually increase the complexity after the less complex projects have been migrated.

  • Architect core infrastructure components for cloud integration

    You must account for the following elements when planning and implementing hybrid cloud scenarios.
    Networking for hybrid cloud scenarios includes the connectivity to Microsoft cloud platforms and services and enough bandwidth to be performant under peak loads.
    Identity for SaaS and Azure PaaS hybrid scenarios can include Azure AD as a common identity provider, which can be synchronized with your on-premises Windows Server AD, or federated with Windows Server AD or other identity providers. You can also extend your on-premises Identity infrastructure to Azure IaaS.
    Security for hybrid cloud scenarios includes protection and management for your identities, data protection, administrative privilege management, threat awareness, and the implementation of governance and security policies.

  • Acquire cloud development skills

    You must develop competencies with cloud technologies and services even as those services evolve and change. Practically, this means that staff must have time to explore new technologies and that you may need to increase your investment in IT staff training.

  • Retool for adoption and change management

    Rethink your IT service management and disaster recovery practices, as well as how a given cloud service integrates with your existing in-house technology infrastructure. Consider the usage of cloud-based IT service management solutions.

  • Take a systematic and disciplined approach to Security, Governance, Compliance

    Invest in core capabilities within your organization that lead to secure environments:

    • Governance & Security Policy
    • Administrative Privilege Management
    • Identity Systems and Identity Management
    • Threat Awareness
    • Data Protection

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