Microsoft is planning on migrating all its compatible legacy infrastructure to its own Azure cloud in an effort to reduce operating costs and take advantage of server virtualization efficiencies, but also to prove that its cloud is capable of the company’s own demanding IT needs.
Microsoft IT has been hoping to close four data centers containing traditional data center infrastructure. Instead of replace end-of-life hardware and move the physical infrastructure to other data centers, which would cost more than $200 million in capital costs, it chose to optimize its infrastructure on Azure.
In a report from Microsoft, Microsoft described its “ideal migration scenario” as being able to migrate all compatible legacy infrastructure to hybrid cloud by June 2018 (the end of its 2018 fiscal year).
The company deemed a few functions unsuitable to the Azure cloud including its Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS), Domain Name System (DNS), Windows Server Update Services, and Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager. These functions will remain in on-premises data centers.
In all, the company plans on migrating around 14,000 operating system instances to Azure. These operating systems will be deployed either on the Azure public cloud primarily as Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines, or on a private Azure cloud hosted in Microsoft data centers. According to Microsoft, this will save the company $82 million in capital expenditures.
According to a TechNet blog post, it’s also about providing a testing ground for Azure, and to prove the platform’s viability.
“We support the IT infrastructure and applications that run the business of Microsoft,” the blog post notes. “We are a consumer of the Microsoft products and services while being a separate entity from the divisions that create and manage those services. We strive to be our own first and best customer, deploying and testing products and services internally, before they are released to our customers.”
This move also aligns with Microsoft’s new strategy which places cloud and mobile at the center of the business, and provides much needed assurances after a series of cloud service outages have shook at least some confidence in Azure. If Microsoft can pull the migration off and achieve the cost savings and performance increases it expects, then that will be proof enough for many companies of the Azure cloud’s viability.