Azure bolsters cloud migration planning and pricing offerings

April 20, 2017

Tom Nikl

It’s no surprise that Microsoft is pursuing aggressive adoption of their cloud platform, Azure, especially among their existing base of on-premises customers. This ongoing campaign included two interesting announcements this week, one to better support planning and the other to keep costs down.

To help enterprises plan better, Azure offers a preview of their total cost of ownership (TCO) calculator online. This gives IT professionals a straight forward way to estimate what they’re currently spending on their on-premises architecture and what those costs might look like in the Azure cloud. This is crucial, because every report on the cloud essentially confirms that cost is a huge driver for migration. So, its imperative that organizations do thorough, apples-to-apples cost comparisons before making the jump into the cloud.

Figure 1: Microsoft’s TCO Calculator (click to enlarge)

Though most IT professionals can probably carve out a baseline using the TCO calculator as-is, Microsoft also unveiled a new cloud migration assessment package which includes a 33-page report that goes into significant detail on how to use and maximize the TCO calculator. You’ll have to fill out a quick form to get access, but that should be expected for a report of this detail.

The aim of the report is to help companies identify the servers within their datacenter, analyze the workload configurations, and estimate the potential cost benefits of moving to Azure. By referencing the report and using the TCO calculator, you’ll get a summarized view of your on-premises cost and projections for Azure (see figure 1). You can also drill down into the specific cost buckets—compute, data center, networking, storage, and IT labor–to see how Microsoft has calculated their estimates (hence the word calculator, right?).

Figure 2: TCO calculator summarized results (click to enlarge)


Figure 3: TCO calculator drill down into networking (click to enlarge)

The other announcement Microsoft made this week was regarding the Azure Hybrid Use Benefit, which is a discount Microsoft provides such that customers only pay for compute resources they use by applying existing Windows Server licenses with Software Assurance to VMs they are running in Azure. The cost estimates in the TCO calculator, by the way, include this discount within the calculations, so this is important.

The substantial change is not the discount itself, however, but who has access and how it is applied. Previously, customers that had enterprise agreements with Microsoft could use the Azure Management Portal to apply the discount but everyone else had to use Azure PowerShell. Now, any customer can use the Azure Management Portal to apply this discount, making it significantly easier for many more customers to take advantage.

These changes show that Microsoft is continuing their aggressive push to get customers (especially their existing on-premises customers) into their Azure cloud, and we suspect that we will continue to see more updates and incentives like this throughout the year. And, if you’ve already decided to migrate to Azure, check out these short videos on how Velostrata can seamlessly accomplish your pre-migration testing and the migration itself. And, of course, feel free to drop us a line anytime if you need guidance on your migration to Azure.