Planning a Move to the Cloud

In an earlier post, The Problem with Moving to the Cloud is Everything Works, I wrote about the difficulties of moving a customer’s applications to the cloud.  The point was that you need to have a plan to make that transition smooth.  Well, we’ve developed at least an initial plan.

First we’re going to use Microsoft Sync Framework to create a SQL Azure version of our database.  We’ll also write a .NET program to keep the local database and the SQL Azure version synchronized.  At that point everything will keep working as before, and the SQL Azure database will just be  a copy. 

Step two will be getting our main data entry system working using SQL Azure.  This really amounts to changing the connection string.  My guess is the program will work fine.  Some changes will likely be needed to optimize performance when our data is being accessed over the Internet. 

Of course we’ll have to set up a test bed before doing it for real.  The cloud will make that simple though.

Next we’ll move the Web apps one by one into Windows Azure.  I’m not too worried about that, and to be honest, I don’t care if it takes a while.  We always move at a snail’s pace anyway.

Lastly, I want to move file sharing and authentication services into the cloud.  I’m not entirely clear about what to do about authenticating users, but I know I can figure that out using the AppFabric

Then, I’ll turn off the servers and throw them away (well maybe not).

Learning Tree course 2602: Windows® Azure™ Platform Introduction covers each of these technologies; Windows Azure, SQL Azure, Microsoft Sync Framework and the AppFabric.  One of the nice aspects of  authoring an overview course like this is that it forces me to learn the details of a broad range of technologies and features.  This is also exactly what I need for my customer.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Doug

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