Below is the Why Azure and Understanding Microsoft Azure section of the IBM Mainframe to Microsoft Azure Reference Architecture. This document is a part of the Astadia Mainframe-to-Cloud Modernization series. You can download the full reference architecture by clicking on the link.)
Organizations keep discovering new and improved benefits for moving their mainframe (as well as other) workloads to the public cloud such as flexibility, scalability, automatic backups, automatic software upgrades, cost model optimization, versioning control and adding multiple security layers, just to name a few.
Azure is a recognized leader in the public cloud space with a diverse customer base and a broad range of use cases. They also have one of the largest compute capacities in use by paying customers. This attracts Microsoft-based and open source application developers as well as service providers to make their applications compatible or add their services to Azure.
Understanding Microsoft Azure
Microsoft Azure has provided the technology and services that make running mainframe applications in the cloud a safe, secure, reliable way to achieve high performance results and fuel future innovation for the organization.
There are specific elements of Azure that are relevant to a mainframe modernization project. Below, we address some of these – this is not the extent of all Azure services nor is it meant to exclude the use of other Azure service offerings.
Let’s begin with the following description from the Microsoft Azure website:
Azure is built on the same technologies that you (and millions of others) already trust: Windows Server, SQL Server, Active Directory, Hyper-V, and more. This means a consistent, familiar, and stable environment. Move your virtual machines between on-premises and the cloud as often as your business needs dictate — no conversion needed.
Help protect your business-critical applications with managed cloud backups and Disaster Recovery as a Service built in. For applications spanning on-premises and Azure, take advantage of ExpressRoute for a private, fast, and reliable connection.
With unparalleled compute and storage performance, Azure is where to run your demanding workloads. G Series virtual machines and >80,000 IOPs of Premium Storage performance deliver a powerful combination for your data-intensive workloads, including SQL Server, SQL Data Warehouse, Oracle databases, NoSQL databases, and SAP SD Standard Application. In fact, we broke a world record for running an SAP SD Standard Application in a public cloud environment. Azure G and D Series virtual machines run on the latest Intel cloud technology, which are designed with the latest Intel Xeon processors. For you, that means record-breaking performance and reliability that can handle your data and compute-intensive applications.
You don’t need to be an expert on configuring, deploying, and maintaining your business applications—because we’re here to help. Choose from a growing number of pre-packaged templates to get started immediately. These templates are based on tried and tested configurations, and help you easily set up complex environments for applications, including SharePoint and Dynamics AX.
We’re enabling a hybrid world because that’s what you want. You’ve asked for the ability to move existing Windows Server and Windows licenses to Azure, just as you can with other popular Microsoft products, such as SQL Server and SharePoint. And we’re pleased to say that we’re making that possible.
Azure is not just about Microsoft software. It is an open and flexible cloud that supports multiple operating systems, programming languages, frameworks, tools, databases, and devices—it’s about your business needs. We continuously work with industry-leading software vendors to certify their applications on Azure and to give you peace of mind. We have unique relationships with SAP, IBM, Oracle, and Red Hat so that you get a first-class support experience. In addition, Azure Marketplace provides more than 3,400 certified applications that are ready to be deployed.
We are committed to giving you the best pricing and flexible options. For many apps, you can bring your existing licenses to Azure or enjoy a pay-as-you go model. You can also take advantage of various pricing plans that fit your unique needs. If you have predictable workloads with well-defined compute requirements, you can take advantage of the Compute Pre-Purchase Plan—and save up to 63 percent on your compute costs. And if you’re moving a significant number of workloads to Azure, but at a moderate or less predictable pace, the Compute Option provides great pricing with more budget flexibility. The more you use Azure compute, the more you save.