Architecting your Network for Azure

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By David McKenney, Director,  Product Management

Microsoft Azure is one of the cloud platforms we work with most frequently. It is reliable, fast, and has some of the best security features in the industry. There’s a reason Azure is a multi-billion-dollar business for Microsoft. We trust it. So do millions of other businesses.

But, as with any cloud deployment, a little preplanning can result in a smoother transition. If you’ve not been part of a team responsible for moving applications and data to the cloud before, one of the best ways to gain knowledge quickly is to learn from others. If there is any organization that can push Azure to its limits, it would be Microsoft itself.

When Microsoft IT moved its application platform to an Azure cloud, they needed to:

  • Support more than 200,000 workers in more than 880 locations
  • Support more than 2100 line-of-business (LOB) applications running on more than 40,000 servers
  • Work with individual business units to develop road maps for moving applications out of the Microsoft data centers and into the Microsoft Azure public cloud

Note: Microsoft Azure is a separate business unit from Microsoft IT. Although both are Microsoft entities, all operations are separate, and Microsoft IT is functionally the same as any other Microsoft Azure enterprise customer.

Most of the organizations we work with don’t handle anywhere near that level of traffic on their network. Even so, the challenges Microsoft IT faced are similar to the challenges any organization would face. Because Microsoft IT was now supporting LOB applications in addition to their usual websites, traffic increased considerably, and they had to address potential bottlenecks. They also needed to ensure a smooth migration for applications and data to the cloud as well as seamless integration back to any applications that remained in their data centers. (Like many of our clients, Microsoft IT opted for a hybrid cloud.) And, of course, they needed to ensure the security of their data at all times.

Microsoft IT addressed their challenges in three ways:

#1 They conducted a preliminary analysis of their network traffic patterns. Doing this analysis first was critical as it allowed them to see potential issues and address them with the next two points.

#2 They redefined their traffic management policy along the existing public network edge to more intelligently reroute user and server requests.

#3 They implemented ExpressRoute to provide reliable, secure connections between on-premises applications and infrastructure services to resources in Microsoft Azure.

microsoft-azure-imageIn the Microsoft IT environment, edge security devices identify packets bound for either known or unknown public cloud destinations. The packets are subjected to required levels of inspection based upon security and compliance policies.

Microsoft IT shared their story as well as several best practices they discovered along the way in a new white paper: Architecting your network for successful Azure adoption.

You don’t have to go it alone

Not sure you have the time or all of the necessary skills on staff to ensure a smooth transition to the cloud? Our team of dedicated experts and cloud specialists can meet with your IT leaders and managers to help you define the right cloud infrastructure for your workloads. We’ll also work with you to seamlessly transition from an on-premises or private cloud environment to Azure or a hybrid solution tailored to your business. You can take over from there, or we can function as an extension of your IT team, handling some of your most time consuming or mission-critical day-to-day tasks through our managed services such as Managed Office 365, Managed Azure, Managed Security, and Managed DRaaS.

Give one of our advisers a call today at 844.267.3687 or as always, feel free to comment below.

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David currently serves as TierPoint’s Azure product evangelist and subject matter expert in customer, partner, and industry influencer interactions. He oversees the strategy, product rollout and technical direction of TierPiont’s Azure line.  Dave is a 15-year veteran of the industry and enjoys wearing the hat of ‘problem solver’ and jack-of-all-technical-trades.