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Azure Data Center Migration Solution 1.0 Released

Microsoft and Persistent Systems have rolled out an Azure Data Center Migration Solution 1.0 tool.

The solution, available for free from the GitHub code repository, was published in December and lets IT pros move their Microsoft Azure subscriptions to different datacenter locations, either using the same subscription or a different one. It's specifically designed for moving Azure infrastructure-as-a-service deployments. The tool is licensed under the open source Apache 2.0 license.

The Azure Data Center Migration Solution can assist organizations when they are moving an Azure deployment to a Microsoft datacenter region that's closer to their operations. It can be used for both exporting and importing operations. It also can be used as a backup solution when performing maintenance, according to a Persistent blog post description. Persistent is Microsoft's developer partner that collaborated on building the tool.

The solution runs off a command line as either a console app or PowerShell cmdlet. A future graphical user interface isn't available, but it's under consideration, according to the User Guide (PDF). The solution requires Windows 7 Service Pack 1 or higher, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 or higher, .NET Framework 4.5 or higher and PowerShell 3.0.

To move an Azure subscription, IT pros modify a preconfigured XML configuration file. The configuration file, when run, generates metadata information about the deployment in JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) format. It delivers information about an Azure deployment's "affinity groups, networks, disks, availability sets, load balancers and cloud services," according to a Microsoft blog post announcing the solution.

Azure Data Center Migration Solution 1.0 has some limitations. The migration process actually happens offline, and so it takes more time to complete a migration than an agent-based approach, such as the Microsoft Migration Accelerator (which is in preview release) or Vision Solutions' Double-Take Move product, according to the User Guide. While the solution can move storage accounts, one exception is virtual machine-independent Blobs. They require a manual copying process. Web roles and worker roles details are excluded in the migration process.

Migration speed is affected by the number and size of a site's data disks or Blobs. For instance, in field tests, the solution took about six hours to copy Blobs from Microsoft's U.S. East region to a Northern Europe region, according to the User Manual. The solution copies Blobs first to save time.

The solution has some protections built into it. It will retry a migration when faced with transient faults during the migration process. It will automatically roll back in the case of a permanent failure. It automatically shuts down virtual machines before starting a migration.

IT pros can change the metadata file that gets generated by the solution to customize a migration. They can add PowerShell scripts to it, if wanted. Since the solution uses open source code, it's actually possible to modify the code to address particular migration needs. The solution was built, in part, to ease the potential headaches of having to set up a manual migration process, according to Microsoft.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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