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InfoQ Homepage News Accelerating Cloud Migrations, Microsoft Introduces Azure Migration and Azure Lighthouse Programs

Accelerating Cloud Migrations, Microsoft Introduces Azure Migration and Azure Lighthouse Programs

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At the recent Inspire partner conference, Microsoft announced the availability of two programs designed to enable partners to deploy and manage Azure cloud environments. Azure Migration includes prescriptive advice, resources and tools for customers to leverage as they transition their computing assets to the cloud. Once a customer has migrated their infrastructure to the cloud, it needs to be managed. Using Azure Lighthouse, customers can delegate governance and monitoring activities to certified partners through a simplified, cross-tenant management plane.

Using the Azure Migration program, customers will work with Microsoft and specialized Microsoft Solution Providers (MSPs) who use proven methodologies to migrate customers to the cloud. Microsoft has obtained these learnings by working with organizations like Allscripts, Chrevron, J.B. Hunt and Carlsberg Beers

Microsoft has identified the following benefits that customers adopting Azure Migration can expect:

  • Curated, step-by-step guidance from Microsoft experts and specialized migration partners based on a proven Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure methodology.
  • Technical skill building with foundational and role-specific courses to develop new Azure skills and ensue long-term organizational readiness.
  • Free Azure migration tools including Azure Migrate to assess and migrate workloads. And free Azure Cost Management to optimize costs.
  • Offers to reduce migration costs, including Azure Hybrid Benefit, free Extended Security Updates for Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008.

One customer that Microsoft has been working with in this program is the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) who has realized benefits using the Azure Migration program. Marc Gunter, vice president of infrastructure, planning and engineering, explains:

We are on a multi-year transformation journey, and cloud migration is an important first step. Azure Migration Program offered the right mix of training, best practice guidance, tooling, and specialized partners to best meet our needs. Importantly, Microsoft was prepared to work hand-in-hand with us and showed deep commitment to our success.

Once a cloud migration has occurred, customers need to be able to manage and govern their deployments. Frequently, these responsibilities will be outsourced to partners. However, one of the challenges that both customers and partners experience is accessing customer environments without introducing a lot of friction. Azure Lighhouse seeks to reduce this friction by leveraging delegated resource management.

Delegated resource management works by allowing customers to extend role-based access control (RBAC) scopes to assigned service providers. This access can be extended across subscriptions, resource groups and individual resources. The partner can then access these resources as if they were in their own tenant, while allowing customer to revoke access if required.

Access to delegated resources occurs through the Azure Portal, by logging into the partner’s home tenant. In addition, access is available through the Azure Command Line Interface (CLI). This allows a partner to scale their resources without having to manage separate logins to several customer tenants.

Image source: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/how-azure-lighthouse-enables-management-at-scale-for-service-providers/

All activities performed by the partner show up in the customer’s Azure logs. In addition, governance features like Azure Locks and Azure Policy are respected. 

One partner who sees benefits in Azure Lighthouse is Ingram Micro, as a way to extend management capabilities for data backups. Tim FitzGerald, vice president, explains:  

We are delighted to see the adoption of the new Azure Lighthouse capabilities into Veeam’s Backup-as-a-Service offerings, representing a natural extension of our cloud-based business offerings. This partnership is a great opportunity for our managed services providers to easily extend Backup-as-a-Service offerings by Veeam using Azure Lighthouse, in order to manage their Azure customers at scale.

For additional information on Azure Lighthouse, please refer to the product documentation.

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