When migrating to the cloud, there are a whole heap of complications and considerations to take into account to make sure that this process is a success not only in the short term, but also for the foreseeable future.
So long as you follow our migration guide, you should be able to evolve your database deployment from an on-site SQL Server solution to one which operates in one of the most popular Azure cloud ecosystems, giving you more flexibility and resilience, amongst other benefits.
Of course, the best way to get the results you desire is to conduct thorough analysis and testing to ensure that your efforts are rewarded. Here is a look at how these stages should play out and any pitfalls that should be avoided if possible.
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Establishing useful points of comparison
Before getting started, you need to make sure that you have access to relevant data detailing the performance of your current database configuration since it will be impossible to make accurate assessments of potential benefits that could be achieved by migrating to the cloud.
There are lots of points of comparison to record at this juncture, including CPU utilization, I/O metrics, memory monopolization and more general aspects like how well the most-used queries perform at the moment.
Also remember to gather lots of data to back up your analysis at this point, since your figures could be skewed if you only pull stats from peak periods of database use, or alternatively from when it is barely being taxed.
Evaluating uptime requirements
Server outages are rare in an infrastructure as large and well maintained as Microsoft Azure, although that does not mean to say that they are entirely unheard of. Even minor amounts of downtime can be problematic, which is why your migration analysis needs to factor this in.
There are different service level agreements governing uptime according to the Azure cloud package you pick, with most offering a guarantee of 99.99% availability. Match your choice to your needs and remember that even the most robust and resilient cloud ecosystems are not entirely immune to disruption.
You do not need to carry out the analysis and testing of your SQL Server migration manually, since there are tools designed to streamline this process and also to pinpoint issues that you might not consider.
Microsoft has its own Database Migration Assistant, which is free to use and will indicate if there are any obstacles which might hamper your efforts to move your database to Azure’s SQL setup.
These tools can even allow you to pinpoint particular targets for migration that you had not yet included in your list of prospects, which is especially advantageous.
The DMA tool is also able to help with server size analysis, giving you an idea of how many database transaction units (DTUs) will be needed to cope with the amount of usage you will require of Azure.
Once you have chosen the best path to SQL Server migration and headed down it, you should also remember that testing and analysis should continue afterward to make sure that your original expectations are being met.
Once again there are a plethora of performance metrics to add to the agenda for assessment here. This includes not only how quickly the database responds to queries, but also how accurate results are being generated and whether or not data is managed appropriately in this new environment.
While most aspects of analysis and testing during and after cloud migration can be taxing, it is undeniably important to be engaged and involved with these processes.