What you need to know about Azure Reserved Instances

What is Azure Reserved Virtual Machine?

Azure Reserved Instances is a model of operating virtual instances which have been chartered on Microsoft Azure’s Public IaaS cloud for dedicated use on a one-year or three-year basis. It is for those enterprises that rely predominantly on Microsoft Azure as a cloud platform and permanently operating a part of their workloads on Azure.

For customers with relatively predictable workloads and resource requirements, Azure RI can help budget and plan months or even years in advance.

 

Cost Benefits

Reserved Instance offers customers a discount of up to 72% as compared to Microsoft’s standard pay as you go VM pricing mode.

Wait, there is more!

After Microsoft made instance size flexibility for Azure Reserved Virtual Machine Instances public, your reserved instance purchasing and management has become even simpler by applying reservation discounts to different virtual machine (VM) sizes within the same VM group.

With instance size flexibility, you don’t have to deploy the exact same VM size to get the benefit of your purchased Azure Reserved Instances (RI) as other VM sizes within the same VM group also get the RI discount.

Azure Reserved Instances

                                                                                                                             Source: Microsoft

Instance size flexibility simplified

If you have purchased 1 Azure Reserved Instance for a D2s_v3 VM, then the following VM Instances could be covered through your reserved instance purchase if they are in the same region:

  • 1 Standard_D2S_v3
  • 1/2 Standard_D4s_v3
  • 1/4 Standard_D8s_v3
  • 1/8 Standard_D16s_v3
  • 1/16 Standard_D32s_v3
  • 1/32 Standard_D64s_v3

A VM regardless of its Operating system, be it Windows Server, Linux, RHEL, e.t.c, can benefit to the infrastructure cost when Instance size flexibility is applied on the Azure reserved Instance.

 

How to buy Reserved VM Instances

First, RI based on a VM type should be purchased (take a look at this guide on Azure Families for more information). Microsoft or a CSP will then look at your account or subscription for a VM of the same family. If available, it will apply your RI credit to that VM.

If you buy an RI for a VM family that you are not currently running, the credit will not be applied and you will not be able to take advantage of it for that billing period.

RIs can be purchased for use across an Azure account or a subscription. If you buy an RI for an Azure account, the discount it gives you can be applied to any VM in any subscription on that account. If you buy an RI for a subscription, it can only be applied to VMs in that subscription.

 

Exchanging or canceling your Reserved VM instances

So what to do when you don’t need the Reserved VM anymore?

Microsoft offers the ability to exchange or cancel RIs. Cancellation will incur an early termination fee of 12% (of the upfront cost) and will allow you to exchange your RI for a different type.

You could make significant cost-savings if you are prepared to pay upfront for an RI. While RIs will not replace on-demand instances, we’re likely to see companies now investing in a mixture of Virtual Machine payment models to suit their needs; using RIs for predictable workloads and on-demand instances as they are needed.

For more information on the discount provided by Reserved Virtual Machines, take a look at Microsoft’s documentation

 

Sysfore, A Microsoft Cloud solution provider and a Gold Partner, uses leading network, technology, and service expertise to deliver our service anytime, virtually anywhere, quickly and efficiently. We have helped over 80 small enterprises and 30 mid-sized enterprises across the globe for a successful cloud migration in the past 8 years. Contact one of our experts today and we will help you find the perfect solution for your business. Write to us at info@sysfore.com or give us a call at +91 (80) 4110 5555.

Cloud Migration: Strategies For A Successful Migration

The global cloud computing market is now worth $180 billion in vendor revenues with the market still growing at 24% annually (source: Synergy Research). It’s extremely critical for organizations to carefully think through their cloud strategy as cloud gives even the small player the ammunition to overthrow the biggies in a short period of time.

While planning for cloud migration you should take a holistic view of all the aspects involved in meeting the business and technical goals of your organization.

The 4 major activities involved in cloud adoption for any business are:

  1. Cloud Readiness assessment
  2. Choosing a Cloud Partner
  3. Cloud Migration strategies
  4. Cloud Management

The right cloud migration strategy is crucial for a successful cloud journey

cloud migration strategies

In this article we are going to delve deep into strategies for cloud migration:

After cloud readiness assessment and choosing a cloud partner, business needs should be evaluated, potential benefits should be validated, and a cloud migration strategy must be defined. The migration strategy should encompass the business priorities, application usage scenarios, challenges, technology benefits, risks and challenges. Based on the cloud migration strategy, a roadmap should be designed which can provide detailed activities involved.

Planning and Assessment

 

Technical & Functional

As part of cloud readiness assessment, application architecture review would help in deciding the best suitable cloud platform or services to deploy the application. Based on the chosen cloud and technology matrix, cloud architecture should be drawn up in detail.

The cloud architecture should cover the following critical things

  • Compute resource configurations
  • Network architecture
  • Storage models
  • Load balancing
  • Setup Backup/Disaster recovery plan
  • Security – Both at Application & Infra level
  • Setup for alerts/monitoring

 

Financial

Once the cloud deployment architecture is decided upon, a monthly estimate of the cost is calculated. With the estimated monthly spending a cost benefit analysis should be carried out in an objective way. This would be considered as the baseline and the variable parameters like storage, bandwidth should be defined with clear growth numbers.

According to Forrester’s cloud predictions, “global public cloud market will jump from $146 billion in 2017 to $178 billion in 2018. Beyond this year, Forrester predicts it will continue to grow at a 22 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR).”

By the end of 2018, more than half of global enterprises will rely on at least one public cloud platform for digital transformation. -Forrester

 

Transformation & Migration

A detailed migration plan with the phases involved, application batches for migration, staging setup, data migration plan and testing plan should be abstracted.

Managed and Unmanaged Tools

Once the basic cloud architecture is set up and required resources are provisioned, resources should be moved based on the identified priority and also applying the dependency constraint using varied tools. For e.g. Backing up VM and moving it to cloud or creating an instance on VM and then installation/ configuration of all the existing applications.

Microsoft Azure and AWS have cloud migration tools which could help in easily deploying some applications to cloud.

Microsoft Azure has a standard process outlined, read now.

If you need an easy, one-and-done method to move data at small scales, go for the following tools:

 

Refactoring

Review the technology stack to validate the compatibility of the application with the cloud. The changes that are identified as a result of this exercise and the best option should be agreed in conjunction with the customer.

Post Migration

This phase focuses on setting up the manageability aspects of the cloud environment

Documentation

As a good base for reference, all the changes implemented, architectures, tools used should be documented to ensure everything is in place. The document should include information around security setup, database management, storage space, completeness of resource migration, data validation, application stability, BOM(monthly used services with cost), backup and DR policies, etc.

As a best practice, keep the dynamic data close to compute and static data close to the user.

Cloud Managed Services

This activity focuses on setting up the manageability aspects of the cloud environment. As a first, maximum process/activities should be automated for minimal manual intervention. Automation can be done in the areas of autoconfiguration, scaling, monitoring, backup, release & updates.e.g: Automation of scaling up your cloud instance when the average of CPU value 10 minutes is greater than 70%.

Cloud monitoring is another key area that is important for cloud management. Implementation of monitoring at both infrastructure and application level should be done by leveraging the inbuilt tools offered by the cloud provider.

There are a few cloud monitoring tools and management solutions which are designed to help create a more proactive cloud.

  • Microsoft Cloud Monitoring – Using Azure cloud? Look no further,  Microsoft gives you a full picture of your web app’s performance by providing log analysis, application monitoring, and security alerts. The best part is that these tools are built into Azure, so you don’t have to install any new software. Microsoft Cloud Monitoring is perfect for companies who want a simple solution for monitoring their Microsoft stack.
  • Amazon CloudWatchAmazon CloudWatch is a monitoring service for AWS cloud resources and the applications you run on AWS. You can use Amazon CloudWatch to collect and track metrics, collect and monitor log files, set alarms, and automatically react to changes in your AWS resources.
  • Third party tools include: ExoPrise, Datadog, Logic Monitor and many more

Sysfore technologies manage cloud environment with a model around inputs from the client on appropriate up-time, DR strategy, resource usage, SLA based commitments, incident based response and resolution times.

Know More about sysfore cloud managed services

Cost optimization

64% of the time the cost changes and it is likely that the initial estimate might decrease or increase. A few reasons for cost change are increased storage space, data transfer issues, prolonged migration duration.

Draft a revised bill of material to make sure the actual cost is in par with the initial cost estimate. Return on Investment (ROI) should be calculated to perform a cost-benefit analysis in an objective way.

According to recent stats, it is estimated that by 2020, more than 1/3rd of the data will pass through the cloud. Well, it would be better to learn swimming than to sink.

Here are the following benefits you would get as a result of cloud migration:

  • Modernize Current IT asset base
  • Prepare for future needs
  • Lower infrastructure costs
  • Increase Business Agility
  • Disaster Recovery
  • Security

Sysfore, a Microsoft Gold partner, uses leading network, technology, and service expertise to deliver our service anytime, virtually anywhere, quickly and efficiently. We have helped over 80 small enterprises and 30 mid-sized enterprises across the globe for a successful cloud migration in the past 8 years. Contact one of our experts today and we will help you find the perfect solution for your business. Write to us at info@sysfore.com or give us a call at +91 (80) 4110 5555.

Microsoft Inspire: Daily Rundown

Microsoft Inspire 2018, formerly called Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), continues in Las Vegas. Check this ongoing blog for live Azure Cloud and Dynamics 365 partner news updates, and perspectives throughout the day.

19/07/2018: Day 3: After a full three days of action, Microsoft’s annual partner-focused Inspire conference is finally set to wrap up tomorrow. We’ve seen tons of Azure, Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, and Microsoft Cloud news throughout the week

Yesterday Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella took the center stage at Inspire 2018 with an extended round of standing ovation, before he’d even said a word. In case if you  missed the keynote, you can always watch it here.

microsoft inspire 2018- Satya Nadella keynote

Here are few of the updates from Day 3

  • Microsoft Teams Monitoring: GSX solutions has come up with Microsoft teams monitoring and performance reporting capabilities
  • Automation capabilities on Microsoft Azure Managed service
  • Azure Cloud Security: Customers can now gain modern vulnerability management, analytics-driven incident detection for hybrid environments, and simplified agent deployment within the Azure infrastructure
  • Azure reserved instances will available across all Azure workloads
  • Azure information protection – unification of data loss prevention in the ‘search and compliance center’ labels and AIP

“Day 3 – Keynote”

 

18/07/2018: Day 2: Watch the Day 2 Keynote here 

Day 2 of Microsoft’s biggest event for Partners, Microsoft Inspire 2018,  featured Gavriella Schuster, Corporate Vice President, One Commercial Partner; Jason Zander, Executive Vice President, Microsoft Azure Team in the Cloud and AI group; Ron Markezich, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft 365; Alysa Taylor, Corporate Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise Business Applications and Global Industry; and Anand Eswaran, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Digital, Services, and Success

“Day 2 – Highlights”

 

Here are few of the updates from Day 2

  • Walmart-Microsoft Azure Partnership 
  • Azure for MSPs: Cloud distributor Pax8 unveiled a Wingman Professional Services Program. The offering allows MSPs to leverage customized IaaS solutions built by Pax8 cloud architects and engineers
  • ClearDATA has launched “healthcare compliant” cloud services for Microsoft Azure.
  • Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack announced that the on-premises extension to Microsoft’s public cloud supports a variety of file formats now
  • Workspace as a Service: CloudJumper has unveiled Cloud Workspace for Azure

 

17/07/2018: Day 1Watch the Day 1 keynote here

“Day 1 – Highlights”

 

Here are few of the updates from Day 1:

  • Office 365 Accelerator: Office 365 accelerator reduces latency, packet loss and network congestion experienced by branch office and mobile users when accessing Office 365 cloud applications via the public Internet
  • GE and Microsoft: Expanded partnership will help industrial companies capture greater intelligence from IoT and asset data, boosts GE innovation across its business

 

microsoft Inspire

 

Got news to share from the conference? Email me the details (evelyn.dennis@sysfore.com).