azure newbie

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I have been asked to quote for moving a client into azure. they have AD, Exchange three sql's hosting applications, print server and file server.


I take it I will need to get pricing for o365, azure AD, Azure SQL and a couple of servers for file share\print share? how does backup work with that would each service be an instance??i havent found it easy so if you can give me articles etc to build up my knowledge it would be greatly appricated.  

4 Replies

Hi, I suggest you to use Azure Calculator for pricing and for migration you can migrate with the following:

AD to Azure AD

Exchange to Office365

SQL to Azure SQL

Print server to Azure VM

File Server to Azure File Share

Where to start, I'd try and narrow down a few things


What licencing will they need for Office 365? For example,  Office 365 Enterprise E3 is a popular option but it depends on what they are after or is appropriate with costs etc. E3 includes almost everything a typical company will need, though there are some nice extras in E5.  


Exchange is also available standalone with Exchange Online Plan 1 or 2, as well as lots of other permutations like Office 365 Business Premium (max 300 users) or E1.  See the Office 365 Plan Options for more insights.


Another thing to consider is identity, in other words, how are they going to log in to Office 365.  Most companies want to login to Office 365 using their existing Active Directory usernames and passwords. This requires additional setup typically using Azure AD Connect which is installed on a local server and this syncs on-prem users into Office 365.  There is also an option for password synchronisation with Azure AD Connect as well as more advanced options like federation using something called AD-FS. There is a simplified option called Azure AD pass-through authentication, which is in preview, that will make this even easier. Azure AD doesn't cost anything when used with Office 365 unless you want extra features.  Here are some more details - Understand Azure identity solutions and Azure Active Directory features and capabilities.


Moving on to Azure, I'd ask how are the going to buy Azure services.  Using an Enterprise Agreement has advantages but there could be other options to consider.  For the SQL services, it depends on how this is to be deployed (IaaS vs PaaS), this has some more details -   Choose a cloud SQL Server option: Azure SQL (PaaS) Database or SQL Server on Azure VMs (IaaS).


Backups vary, some at additional cost or can be provided via third-party services.   For Exchange, for example, you would look at deleted mailbox retention which is 30 days, after 30 days, the mailbox is permanently deleted and can't be recovered. Hold options are worth exploring as well - Hold in Office 365. Plus the retention policy for Exchange can help with retaining items for longer after they have been deleted.  If this wasn't enough, a 3rd party option might be the next step.

Also the SQL is less simple than it appears. This comes down to volume of data and frequency of data tranfer as well as repsonsiveness. These need to be defined not as peaks and troughs but overall timeline trends as reducing resources when not required will alter the costs.


Also where the data is transfered between the resource locations increases costs. So ensure the design for the DB ensures these are efficient so facting the costing.


Also if they have dead time 9pm to 6am say ensure the machines/reources are stopped. Runbooks may help with this, someone in the know could possibly help.


The other cost is High Availability. When Azure infrstructure is being mantained HA has a different process to non-HA and there are costs involved. HA is migrated to a another center seamlessly, non-HA you are warned and have to make provision for this. There are other variances.


From this there will be ongoing work and monitoring to be done, who would be doing this, if it yourself, then you will need to factor this in.


This exhausts my knowledge so far, and I reckon things have changed since I looked a this as the Azure platorm is developing very quickly. There is a huge amount of information, unfortunately there is a huge amount of information :-).


There is the azure market place which may give you some indication of costs as well try before you buy.


This is not simple to acheive from a standing start, best of luck.  




To add to what the others mentioned, you also need to look at what you actually need "in the cloud" and why. AD, print servers, and file servers, to a degree, should really stay on premise, unless you can clearly show a business gain (e.g. money saved, improved uptime, etc.).


What are the contingencies if they lose internet service? Are you also recommending they get a second ISP and the hardware required to perform a failover? Do they have enough bandwidth to support sending 50MB documents to a print server (which is then sent right back to the printer on site...)? What sort of activity do you see on the file server? Do you have a VPN solution that can connect to your Azure virtual network so clients can access the file server? How will you backup that file server? Similar questions should be asked of your SQL servers. What sort of bandwidth do you need? How will your applications perform with the added latency between the local clients and Azure?


So unfortunately, as you can probably tell, it's not as easy as "getting a quote" for moving an entire infrastructure. For me, it helps to think of it more as moving to a datacenter/colo than moving to "the cloud". When you're moving to or between datacenters/colo's, there's analysis, planning, ROI projections, and a thousand other steps in preperation, and the same is true when you're moving to Azure or any other platform.