Plan: 7 Ways to Start Small with the Cloud

Over the next several months, we’ll be sharing many ideas and tools you can use to PLAN your cloud migration, MOVE users, data, and applications, plus best practices to MANAGE resources and costs once you get there.


First up, let’s talk about some planning considerations. When it comes to the cloud, it certainly doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing migration. In fact, most businesses these days find themselves in a hybrid scenario. This is where they run some applications from the cloud while keeping others on-premises. So it’s absolutely okay to start small and experiment with how the cloud can best serve your business.

You might choose to do this because your organization isn’t ready to go all-in with the cloud. Perhaps your execs are fuzzy on how the cloud can help. Your users might be skeptical. Or your IT team needs to beef up on their cloud skills. Whatever scenario you face, a great approach is to migrate some low-risk—yet still high-value—workloads that you can easily roll back to on-premises if something doesn’t go as you expect.

The good news: Microsoft Azure offers several products and features that can make it easier to make your way over to the cloud over time. Here are some of our favorites.

1. Spin up dev/test

You can easily set up new development and test environments with Azure DevTest labs. These help you:

  • Use reusable templates to set up new virtual machines with a few clicks
  • Set quotas and policies to minimize waste
  • Set automated shutdowns to minimize costs
  • Build both Windows and Linux environments

2. Migrate standalone VMs

Maybe you have a simple virtual machine or two that could just as easily be run from the cloud. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use Azure Migrate.

3. Back up to the cloud

Here, you can replace any of your current on-premises backup solutions with Azure Backup. This supports VMware and Hyper-V virtual machines running on Linux and Windows, as well as physical Windows Servers.

4. Set up site recovery

Maybe you have an on-premises environment that doesn’t yet have an effective disaster recovery solution in place. Try setting one up in the cloud using Azure Site Recovery. It’s backed by a 99.9% SLA and 24x7 support to keep your environment up and running smoothly.

5. Move simple websites

If you have any websites with minimal dependencies (like marketing or other informational sites), they might be great candidates to move over to Azure Web Apps. From there, you can experiment with things like availability, autoscale, and load balancing.

6. Store files

You can replace retiring file share servers using Azure Files service or Azure StorSimple. This lets your users access these files from wherever they want, while keeping everything safe and easy to manage. You can even use the Azure Data Box to easily transfer large amounts of data to Azure, which is great when you’re limited by time, network availability, or costs.

7. Swap out legacy hardware

Say you’ve got a few aging servers that are reaching their end of life. If these are currently storing standalone, non-critical workloads without complex dependencies, these might be a great candidate to replace with virtual storage in the cloud. This way, you can start trying out what it’s like to run servers in the cloud.

Get started

If you need help on the above (or beyond), we’re standing by. At Binary Tree, we’re exclusively focused on helping enterprises around the world plan, move, and manage their way to the Microsoft cloud. To get started, get in touch.


Source: Microsoft. Cloud Migration and Modernization Playbook, 2018