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Which Microsoft tools can help me migrate to Azure?

There are a number of Microsoft tools that can monitor workload performance. But which tools can help gauge if my apps are ready to migrate to the Azure public cloud?

Successful migrations from a local data center to a public cloud provider like Microsoft Azure require detailed knowledge of a workload's resource and performance characteristics, as well as what that workload needs in the cloud.

There are many tools that can help collect resource and performance metrics, such as Windows Performance Monitor, but they typically only tell you where you are and offer little insight into migration goals. For example, Windows Performance Monitor won't tell you whether a different server can accommodate a given workload migration.

Tools such as the Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit offer additional insight that can help organizations migrate to Azure. MAP Toolkit offers features such as assessments of hardware and software migration readiness for platforms like Windows Server and Microsoft Office, capacity planning, and software usage tracking. MAP Toolkit is designed to collect, process and report on more than 30 different scenarios in the data center.

But MAP Toolkit isn't limited to local data centers. It also provides a Windows Azure VM Readiness Report that summarizes the Windows Server and Linux systems evaluated for migration to Azure VMs. In addition, it provides a Windows Azure VM Capacity Report that summarizes estimated resource usage and sizing for migrating physical and virtual machines to Azure VMs.

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Beyond that, MAP Toolkit -- which can be downloaded for free -- organizes workloads in terms of migration difficulty and suitability, helping admins decide which workloads might be easier, faster or more economical to migrate to Azure.

An alternative to MAP Toolkit is Microsoft's Virtual Machine Readiness Assessment tool, which automatically inspects the local data center environment -- both physical and virtual elements -- to deliver detailed, step-by-step guidelines for moving workloads to Azure. The tool provides a report that details the steps involved in planning a migration, indicating areas that might need more work, such as design or configuration changes. Users can drill down into each point for advice or recommendations tailored to their local environment before they migrate to Azure.

Microsoft's Virtual Machine Readiness Assessment tool is free and available for download.

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