Microsoft works with Codify to assess application suitability for Azure Cloud migration with CloudLift

“We place unreserved faith and trust in Codify’ ability to meet our needs and solve businesses challenges if, and when they arise. We consider Codify an extension of Microsoft Australia’s digital marketing team”
Jeff Flanagan
Team Leader – Digital Marketing
Microsoft Australia

Synopsis

Migrating terrestrial based applications to Microsoft’s Azure cloud is a task typically undertaken only once and for business management to allocate training budget towards ramping up cloud migration skills just makes no sense. Today’s IT professionals are tasked with extracting the maximum business value from an organisation’s technology investment, not exhibiting their hands on engineering prowess. Certified Gold Cloud Platform Partner Codify were selected to migrate Microsoft’s digital marketing application suite to their Azure Cloud. Codify were chosen because of the reference assignments they had completed for Microsoft and their proven ability to maximise the value returned from the companies’ solutions. With broad expertise drawn from numerous successful Azure Cloud migration projects, Codify developed “Cloud Lift”, their own methodology that identifies the suitability of applications for hosting in Microsoft’s market leading Azure Cloud. Cloud Lift reduces risks and dispassionately reviews every software application’s suitability for Cloud migration. By applying Codify’s assessment across prospective migration candidates, only those applications deemed suitable were selected for transfer. Any applications that failed to conform because they were outdated or unsuitable for integration were refreshed or replaced. The value this assessment returned for Microsoft’s marketing group was a reduction in risk and lower ownership costs that deliver better shareholder returns.

Challenge

Microsoft face the same challenges managing complex computing environments as do other organisations. Their business units are accountable for the costs incurred delivering their services to stakeholders and they must seek new economies and efficiencies wherever possible. Microsoft’s Australian digital marketing team needed to ramp up their responsiveness in rapidly adapting to changes in the volatile consumer marketplace. One of the key project deliverables was to harness the flexibility of the Azure Cloud platform and increase the marketing team’s agility to manage processes themselves without the need for technical intervention. This would make their processes more agile and allow the team to self-manage their marketing automation environment while also reducing costs. Microsoft’s longterm hosting and technology partner Codify were approached to assess the suitability of migrating applications to Microsoft’s recently completed Australian Azure App Service infrastructure. Codify’s assignment was to streamline all processes while also eliminating any risk of service interruption. Even a minor outage that could adversely affect Microsoft’s brand equity was completely unacceptable.

Solution and Implementation

Codify’s Cloud Lift readiness assessment was used to review application workloads and test their suitability for transitioning to the Azure environment. The project’s first phase was setting up a test workload and simulating three days of intensive stress testing. Key performance parameters were measured during the evaluation period to ensure existing workloads could be met and that ample headroom was available to meet unexpected peaks caused by social media driven visitor traffic. Codifytested using synthetic HTTP transactions that mimic the most intense stress levels that could be reasonably expected in production. One critical task was validating any Server-side errors and ensuring web requests were met in a timely manner to ensure service levels were maintained. The transition was staged over a two week period at the completion of rigorous testing that validated all the applications were suitable for migration to Azure’s Platform-as-a-Service. The DNS migration posed the most severe risk of service interruption because it required tight co-ordination with Microsoft’s global DNS team and split-second timing to switch the old services to the new environment. To complicate matters further, the existing DNS services operated under differing service level agreements depending on the performance guarantee demanded by the marketers. The DNS transition was completed without a hitch and switchover was transparent for both users and the Microsoft digital marketing team.

Business Benefits

  • As one of Microsoft’s valued business partners, Codify has helped a number of organisations realise value from Microsoft’s cloud solutions and through this effort has attained a Gold certification in the Microsoft Partner Network program for Cloud Platform. This experience ensured Microsoft experienced zero service interruption
  • Extensive planning and stakeholder consultation was undertaken prior to the commencement of the migration process
  • Project risks were mitigated thanks to detailed planning and liaison with Microsoft’s Seattle based DNS engineering team
  • Capacity was mapped and headroom was allocated for unexpected peaks in website demand
  • Microsoft’s proactive digital marketing team needed the resources to act instantly and independently without the need to call on external technical resources to initiate campaigns

Outcome

The blueprint for Azure architecture was critical to meet Microsoft’s overarching brief that service must be selfadministered and need no technical resources to initiate campaigns. In spite of the rapid deployment service they had experienced prior to migration, Microsoft’s digital marketing team needed to respond instantly to even minor market changes. Codify allocated much of their design and planning focus to make sure expectations were met and Microsoft’s digital marketers were online without delay when the migration was completed. Scaling to meet unplanned social media driven demand was a key design goal with the extra capacity harnessed from Azure’s elasticity, ready to quickly adapt to changing workloads. Ultimately it was the needs of Microsoft customers who were placed at the forefront of all design considerations. Azure system architecture was optimised for high performance that guaranteed the delivery of an unparalleled Microsoft technology experience.