Cloud Migration with Azure Migrate

Written for you by our Azure Practice team.

In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, cloud adoption has become a critical strategic move for businesses seeking scalability, flexibility, and cost efficiency. However, migrating customers’ infrastructure to the cloud can be a complex and challenging process for MSPs.

This is where Azure Migrate comes into play, offering a streamlined solution to help you seamlessly transition your clients’ on-premises resources to Microsoft Azure. In this article, we’ll delve into what Azure Migrate is, its significance in cloud migration, and how to get started with server assessment and subsequent migration steps.

Understanding Azure Migrate

Azure Migrate is a comprehensive suite of tools and services provided by Microsoft to facilitate the migration of on-premises and other types of workloads to Azure. It helps you assess, plan, and execute migration projects with minimal disruption. It does this by offering a unified platform, Azure Migrate simplifies the migration process, reduces the associated risks, and ensures a smooth transition to the cloud environment.

Azure Migrate provides the following:

  • Unified migration platform: A single portal to start, run, and track your migration to Azure.
  • Range of tools: A range of tools for assessment and migration, including Discovery and assessment and Migration and modernisation.
  • Integration: Azure Migrate integrates with other Azure services and tools, and with independent software vendor (ISV) offerings.
    Assessment, migration, and modernisation

In the Azure Migrate hub you can assess, migrate, and modernise:

  1. Servers, databases, and web apps: Assess on-premises servers including web apps and SQL Server instances and migrate them to Azure.
  2. Databases: Assess on-premises SQL Server instances and databases to migrate them to an SQL Server on an Azure VM or an Azure SQL Managed Instance or to an Azure SQL Database.
  3. Web applications: Assess on-premises web applications and migrate them to Azure App Service and Azure Kubernetes Service.
  4. Virtual desktops: Assess your on-premises virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and migrate it to Azure Virtual Desktop.
  5. Data: Migrate large amounts of data to Azure quickly and cost-effectively using Azure Data Box products.

Why use Azure Migrate for Cloud Migration?

  • Efficient Assessment: One of the initial challenges in cloud migration is assessing your existing infrastructure. Azure Migrate offers robust assessment capabilities that provide insights into your on-premises servers’ performance, utilisation, and dependencies. This data-driven approach enables you to make informed decisions about resource allocation and migration strategy.
  • Optimized Planning: Armed with accurate assessment data, you can create a well-informed migration plan. Azure Migrate recommends the appropriate Azure VM sizes based on the characteristics of your on-premises servers, ensuring efficient resource utilisation in the cloud.
  • Seamless Migration: Azure Migrate provides a step-by-step migration process, guiding you through each stage of the transition. This reduces the likelihood of errors and minimises downtime during migration.
  • Dependency Mapping: Understanding interdependencies between servers is crucial to avoid service disruptions. The Azure Migrate dependency mapping feature helps you visualise and plan for these relationships, ensuring a smooth migration process.
  • Cost Estimation: Cloud migration involves cost considerations. Azure Migrate offers cost estimation tools that help you understand the financial implications of your migration, allowing you to budget effectively.

Getting Started with Azure Migrate

Azure Migrate supports multipleworkloads, including on-premises servers, VMware, Hyper-V VMs, SQL Servers, and other public cloud platforms such as AWS and GCP.

The best place to start is with the discovery and assessment tool. This tool will provide the following:

  • Azure readiness: Assesses whether on-premises servers, SQL Servers and web apps are ready for migration to Azure.
  • Azure sizing: Estimates the size of Azure VMs/Azure SQL configuration/number of Azure VMware Solution nodes after migration.
  • Azure cost estimation: Estimates costs for running on-premises servers in Azure.
  • Dependency analysis: Identifies cross-server dependencies and optimisation strategies for moving interdependent servers to Azure.

The Discovery and assessment tool uses a lightweight Azure Migrate appliance that you deploy on-premises.

  • The appliance runs on a VM or physical server. You can install it easily using a downloaded template.
  • The appliance discovers on-premises servers. It also continually sends server metadata and performance data to Azure Migrate.
  • Appliance discovery is agentless. Nothing is installed on discovered servers.
  • After appliance discovery, you can gather discovered servers into groups and run assessments for each group.

Step 1: Server Assessment

  1. Set up an Azure Account: If you haven’t already, create an Azure account and log in to the Azure portal.
  2. Create an Azure Migrate project: Within the Azure portal, navigate to the Azure Migrate service and create a new project. Provide essential details such as project name, region, and subscription.
  3. Download and Install the Azure Migrate Appliance: Download the Azure Migrate appliance and install it on a VM in your on-premises environment. This appliance collects data from your servers for assessment.
  4. Discover and Assess Servers: Configure the appliance to discover on-premises servers. The appliance will collect performance data, helping you assess CPU, memory, disk utilisation, and network bandwidth.
  5. Review Assessment Results: Once the assessment is complete, review the results in the Azure portal. Gain insights into performance history, sizing recommendations, and cost estimates for Azure VMs.

Full Steps for physical servers – Discovery and assessment

Step 2: Migration Steps

  1. Select Migration Method: Based on assessment results, determine the migration method—lift and shift, re-platforming, or application re-architecture—that best suits your needs.
  2. Prepare for Migration: Set up the Azure environment by creating networks, storage accounts, and other necessary resources. Ensure compatibility by addressing any dependencies and prerequisites.
  3. Migrate Virtual Machines: Use Azure Site Recovery or Azure Migrate server migration tool to initiate the migration process. These tools offer a guided experience to move your VMs to Azure.
  4. Validate and Test: After migration, thoroughly test your applications and services to ensure they function as expected. Address any post-migration issues promptly.
  5. Optimise and Monitor: Continuously monitor your Azure resources and optimise configurations for performance and cost efficiency. Leverage Azure’s management and monitoring tools to maintain a healthy cloud environment.

Full Steps for physical servers – Migration

Azure Migrate – FAQs

  • What is Azure Migrate?

Azure Migrate provides a central hub to track discovery, assessment, and migration of your on-premises apps and workloads and private and public cloud VMs to Azure. The hub provides Azure Migrate tools for assessment and migration and third-party ISV offerings.

  • What can I do with Azure Migrate?

Use Azure Migrate to discover, assess, and migrate on-premises infrastructure, applications, and data to Azure. Azure Migrate supports assessment and migration of on-premises VMware VMs, Hyper-V VMs, physical servers, other virtualised VMs, databases, web apps, and virtual desktops.

  • How do I choose the assessment type?
  1. Use Azure VM assessments when you want to assess servers from your on-premises VMware and Hyper-V environment, and physical servers for migration to Azure VMs.
  2. Use assessment type Azure SQL when you want to assess your on-premises SQL Server in your VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V, and Physical/Bare metal environments as well as IaaS Servers of other public clouds such as AWS, GCP, etc. for migration to SQL Server on Azure VM or Azure SQL Database or Azure SQL Managed Instance.
  3. Use assessment type Azure App Service when you want to assess your on-premises ASP.NET web apps running on IIS web server from your VMware environment for migration to Azure App Service.
  4. Use Azure VMware Solution (AVS) assessments when you want to assess your on-premises VMware VMs for migration to Azure VMware Solution (AVS) using this assessment type.
  5. You can use a common group with VMware machines only to run both types of assessments. If you’re running AVS assessments in Azure Migrate for the first time, it’s advisable to create a new group of VMware machines.
  • How do I get started?

Identify the tool you need, and then add the tool to an Azure Migrate project.

To add an ISV tool or Movere:

  1. Get started by obtaining a license, or sign up for a free trial, in accordance with the tool policy. Licensing for tools is in accordance with the ISV or tool licensing model.
  2. In each tool, there’s an option to connect to Azure Migrate. Follow the tool instructions and documentation to connect the tool with Azure Migrate.

You can track your migration journey from within the Azure Migrate project, across Azure, and in other tools.

  • How much does Azure Migrate cost?

Azure Migrate and Azure Migrate tools are available at no additional charge. However, you may incur charges for third-party ISV tools.

Pricing List – Pricing – Azure Migrate | Microsoft Azure


Incorporating Azure Migrate into your MSP cloud migration strategy can significantly simplify the otherwise complex process of transitioning client’s workloads from on-premises infrastructure to Azure.

With its robust assessment, planning, and migration capabilities, Azure Migrate empowers businesses to make informed decisions, reduce risks, and streamline the migration journey. By following the outlined steps for server assessment and subsequent migration, you’ll be well-equipped to embark on a successful cloud migration journey, reaping the benefits of scalability, agility, and enhanced cost management that Azure offers.

For further help or guidance, please contact our Azure Practice team on: [email protected].