Azure IaaS – Part 2

Salaam, Namaste, Ola and Hello!

For those who are new to the blog welcome, and for those returning a big thanks! In my last blog ( ) I set the scene for a project I had recently where I was working with a customer who was unhappy with there on premises Infrastructure and had a set of requirements which I believed made them ideal for an Azure IaaS based platform.

I ended the first part of this two blog series at the point of implementing the proof of concept.  You may notice a pattern with most of the work I do in that where possible I look to do POC’s, and the main reason for it is to give the customer a feel and understanding of what the final platform will look like.  It gives them the confidence that what I am proposing works and is also a great way to iron out any issues before going live!  As I mentioned in the previous blog the POC consisted of an Azure VNET, an IPSEC site-to-site VPN from Azure to the customers on premises Infrastructure, two Azure VMs (Domain Controller/File Server and RDS server) along with a small Office 365 tenancy.  We decided to implement the POC for staff only as we wanted to avoid causing any further disruption to the students.

Staff were able to utilise their existing thin clients and connect to the Azure based RDS instance via the site-to-site VPN on which we provisioned a set of pre-defined applications.  With the addition of email being hosted in Office 365, the platform was fully cloud based.  The feedback was 100% positive in that users were not having any of the same issues and pains that they felt with the current on premises Infrastructure.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t smooth sailing all the way!  We had to ensure the POC was as realistic as possible, so getting the customers application base working within Remote Desktop Services was a challenge and required us to work with 3rd party vendors of the apps to get them fully functional.

Once the POC was completed and signed off it was time to spec the live platform and get the solution priced up.  One of the better pricing tools is the ‘Azure Calculator’ which made putting the specs and pricing together quick and easy!  Due to the nature of this requirement that the resources required were pretty static, we decided to go with the Reserved Instance pricing model which reduced the monthly cost by 70% making the solution even more appealing to the customer.  “But with the Reserved Instance model you have to pay upfront for the instance so isn’t monthly billing” I hear you say?  Reserved Instances are available with monthly billing on a CSP platform which is something we were able to offer this customer!

Due to the state of the on premises Infrastructure rather than migrate the domain we provisioned a new domain and migrated the only the data.  This meant new AD accounts, new NTFS permissions and whole new beginning for this customer!  We used a 3rd party tool to migrate the email (a topic I will be blogging about very soon!) from the Exchange 2007 and Office 365 which was again seamless!

Since the platform went live last year the customer has given great positive feedback and has even agreed for us to do a case study on there story!

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed this two part blog of my experience with Azure IaaS  implementation/migration! Until next time, ‘I am IT geek’ over and out!

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