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New Azure Tool Migrates Workloads from Amazon, VMware and Private Clouds

Microsoft is readying a tool that it says will "seamlessly" migrate physical and virtual workloads to its Azure public cloud service. A limited preview of the new Migration Accelerator, released yesterday, moves workloads to Microsoft Azure from physical machines, VMs (both VMware and Hyper-V-based) and those running in the Amazon Web Services public cloud.

The launch of the new migration tool comes as Microsoft officials are talking up the growth of its Azure cloud service at the expense of Amazon Web Services. Microsoft Technical Fellow in the Cloud and Enterprise Mark Russinovich emphasized that point in a speech at last month's TechMentor conference, which like Redmond magazine is produced by 1105 Media.

Migration Accelerator "automates all aspects of migration including discovery of source workloads, remote agent installation, network adaptation and endpoint configuration," wrote Srinath Vasireddy, a lead principal program manager for enterprise and cloud at Microsoft, in a post on the Microsoft Azure Blog yesterday . "With MA, you reduce cost and risk of your migration project."

The technology enabling the workload migrations comes from Microsoft's July acquisition of InMage, whose Scout software appliances for Windows and Linux physical and virtual instances captures data on a continuous basis as those changes occur. It then simultaneously performs local backups or remote replication via a single data stream. A week after announcing the acquisition, Microsoft said the InMage Scout software will be included in its Azure Site Recovery subscription licenses.

While the tool looks to give Microsoft a better replication story, it appears Microsoft's Migration Accelerator is pushing customers to use Azure for more than just disaster recovery and business continuity, although that has emerged as a popular application for all public cloud usage.

For example Vasireddy pointed to the Migration Accelerator's capability of migrating multitier production systems that he said offers consistency of applications that are orchestrated across all tiers. "This ensures multitier applications run the same in Azure, as they ran at the source," he said. "Application startup order is even honored, without the need for any manual configuration."

Vasireddy outlined in his blog post how the Migration Accelerator works and its components:

  • Mobility Service: A lightweight (guest based) centrally deployed agent which gets installed on source servers (on-premises physical or virtual) to be migrated to the target virtual machines on Azure.  It is responsible for real time data capture and synchronization of the selected volumes of source servers to target servers.
  • Process Server (PS): A physical or virtual server that is installed on-premises. It facilitates the communication between the Mobility Service and target virtual machines in Azure. It provides caching, queuing, compression, encryption and bandwidth management.
  • Master Target (MT):  A target for replicating disks of on-premises servers. It is installed within a dedicated Azure VM in your Azure subscription.  Disks are attached to the MT to maintain duplicate copies.
  • Configuration Server (CS): Manages the communication between the Master Target and the MA Portal. It is installed on a dedicated Azure VM in your Azure subscription. Regular synchronization occurs between the CS and MA Portal.
  • MA Portal: A multitenant portal to discover, configure protection and migrate your on premise workloads into Azure.

Microsoft's new cloud migration tool also offers automated asset discovery and migration, cutovers to Azure within minutes using in-memory change-tracking, ensuring target VMs are dormant during migrations to lower compute costs and ensure automated provisioning, lightweight agents on targets to enable continuous replication and support for automated network adaptation and endpoint reconfiguration, he said. Those interested in testing the Migration Accelerator must sign up here for the preview.


Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 09/05/2014 at 12:33 PM


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