Will your cloud platforms help me migrate my existing technology investments to the cloud?
For existing technologies that are appropriate to the cloud, cloud platforms should provide a migration path that preserves existing investments in applications and IT resources in a secure way.
Customers that have existing investments in on-premises computing capacity typically will want those investments to co-exist with the cloud. They should have the option to choose to migrate some or all of their computing needs at their own pace.
On-premises software enables customers with particular requirements relating to geo-location of their data, security, or service level agreements (SLAs) to determine that their preferred cloud platform would best meet their needs if it were deployed by a third party (such as a local hoster), or deployed internally.
CloudCloud platforms should address these needs by providing tools and services to ease migration. These tools and services should support virtual machine portability for cloud platforms that provide infrastructure as a service (IaaS) services for application deployment. Further, cloud platforms should support appropriate and commonly used infrastructure services such as identity and management. Cloud platforms should also promote federation between identity systems (such as Active Directory Domain Services and LDAP) using web standards whenever possible.
Windows Azure offers system integrators and developers a wide range of capabilities to ease migration and deployment of cloud services and applications. Existing applications running on Windows, CentOS, SUSE Linux, and Ubuntu can be migrated to Windows Azure virtual machines, and mixed mode applications (with resources on web/worker roles, virtual machines, and web sites) are also supported.
Microsoft has published extensive documentation on migrating existing applications and services to Windows Azure. See these resources for more information:
Applications and services running on Linux or Windows servers can easily be migrated and deployed on to Windows Azure, through use of cross-platform tools on Mac, Linux, or Windows workstations.
Microsoft has partnered with ClearDB, a popular cloud database service provider, to deliver a MySQL database service for Windows Azure. This makes it very easy to migrate existing MySQL applications to Windows Azure. The ClearDB service can be deployed on a Windows Azure Web Site in just a few clicks, through the Create With Database or Create From Gallery options in the Windows Azure management portal.
Windows Azure SQL Database and Windows Azure blog storage provide a variety of interoperbility surfaces to simply migration and deployment. You can migrate data between SQL Database in the cloud and on-premises SQL Server, or between local file systems, other cloud providers, and Windows Azure blob storage.
Windows Azure supports the memcache wire protocol to enable customers with existing memcache implementations to easily migrate to Windows Azure. Windows Azure Caching supports the APIs that other memcache implementations support, while providing value-added features such as graceful shutdown, high availability, local caching (on client shim), notifications (on client shim), data consistency, high availability (HA), and easy scale-up and scale-down. No code changes are required to deploy existing memcache applications on Windows Azure.
When you migrate an existing application from on-premises hardware to Windows Azure, you can continue to use management tools such as System Center, RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) for Windows servers, or SSH (Secure Shell protocol) for Linux servers. IT admin staff does not need to acquire and use new system management tools when you deploy applications on Windows Azure.
Windows Azure applications and services can accept your on-premise identities and your off-premise identities from providers such as Google, Facebook, Office 365, Yahoo, and others. An identity provider is a service that authenticates user or client identities and issues security tokens that can be consumed by Windows Azure ACS (Access Control Services).
Windows Azure supports standards for messaging protocols at the network layer as well as the web-services layer. As a result of this support for standards-based messaging, an entire application does not need to be deployed to Windows Azure at the same time. Some application components can be moved to Windows Azure while others can continue to be on-premises, thus providing deployment flexibility and ease of migration.
Most, if not all applications, require a durable data store. Whereas many applications use a relational database engine for durable storage, many others write content directly to a file system. Windows Azure drives are an infrastructure solution that provides a durable NTFS volume within Windows Azure, thus enabling users to move their data to the cloud and bring it back to their local infrastructure as needed.
The Windows Azure Service Bus provides connectivity across network and organizational boundaries. This flexibility helps developers connect applications and services in the cloud or on-premises. This includes applications running on Windows Azure, Windows Server, or another platform.