Amazon EC2 and Azure Virtual Machine (Instance) Comparison

Both Amazon EC2 and Azure VM provide a wide selection of VM types optimised to fit different use cases. An instance or VM is combinations of virtual CPU, virtual memory, temporary storage, and networking capacity and give a customer the flexibility to choose the appropriate mix of resources for workloads. Both AWS EC2 and Azure offers instances at scale for the requirements of any target workload. Both EC2 and Azure provide the option to store VM in persistent storage called EBS in Amazon terminology or Blob Storage in Azure terminology.

EC2 vs Azure VM

Available Windows/Linux VM both Cloud Services Providers:

Type Description Azure VM

Windows & Linux

AWS EC2

Windows & Linux

General purpose Balanced CPU-to-memory ratio. B, Dsv3, Dv3, DSv2, Dv2, Av2 T2, M4, M5
Compute-optimised High CPU-to-memory ratio. Fsv2, Fs, F C4, C5
Memory-optimised High memory-to-CPU ratio. Great for database servers Esv3, Ev3, M, GS, G, DSv2, Dv2 X1e, X1, R5, R4, Z1d
Storage optimised High disk throughput and IO. Ls H1, i3, D2
GPU Specialized for heavy graphic rendering and video editing NV, NC, NCv2, NCv3, ND P3, P2, G3, F1
High performance compute fastest and most powerful CPU H C4, C5

Both AWS and Azure are utility pricing model analogous to your gas, water or power bills. Both Amazon and Azure provide standard instance as PAYG model, and also some instances are available in the reserved pricing model. In a reserved pricing model, you pay upfront at a cheaper rate for instance but commit for certain months or years. In a reserved instance, you pay additional for -storage consumption and network utilisation if it’s cross-geo connectivity. Both AWS and Azure have vast marketplace from where you can pick up and deploy any instance of your requirements at Scale.

Here is where Microsoft differentiate from AWS, you can save up to 72% over pay-as-you-go pricing with an upfront one- or three-year commitment in Azure Cloud. You can also exchange or cancel the RI at any time. Microsoft also offers Hybrid benefits, i.e. 40% off when you bring in Microsoft Windows/Linux workloads from On-prem to Azure. You can use your on-premises Windows Server or SQL Server licences with Software Assurance to make big savings when migrating a few workloads or entire data centres to the cloud.

You can get discounted rates on Azure for your ongoing development and testing, including no Microsoft software charges on Azure Virtual Machines and special dev/test pricing on other services.

Microsoft also offers US$5000 credit for the validated Not-for-Profit organisation for the use of Azure Cloud whilst signing

Relevant References:

Azure Pricing Calculator

Azure TCO Calculator

Offset IT Cost with Azure Cloud

Microsoft Azure credits now available to eligible not-for-profit organisations

Azure 54 regions in 140 countries

Migrate Amazon Web Services (AWS) EC2 VM to Azure Cloud

In my previous blog, I have written how to migrate workloads from VMware to Azure Cloud.  In this tutorial, I am going to elaborate you how to migrate Amazon Web Services (AWS) EC2 virtual machines (VMs) to Azure VMs by using Azure Site Recovery.

AWStoAzure

Supported Workloads Which can be migrated:

  1. Windows Server 2016 or later version
  2. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.7

Prerequisites

  1. The Mobility service must be installed on each VM that you want to replicate. Site Recovery installs this service automatically when you enable replication for the VM.
  2. For non-domain joined Windows VMs, disable Remote User Access control on the local machine at the registry, under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\System, add the DWORD entry LocalAccountTokenFilterPolicy and set the value to 1.
  3. A separate VM in AWS subscriptions to use as Site Recovery Configuration Server. This instance must be running Windows Server 2012 R2.

Credential Requirements

  1. A root on the source Linux server
  2. A Domain Admin Credentials for Windows VM.
  3. A Local Admin Account for non-domain joined VM.

Prepare Azure resources (Target)

Step1: Create a Storage Account

  1. In the Azure portal, in the left menu, select Create a resource > Storage > Storage account.
  2. Create a Storage Account in your region.

Step2: Create a Recovery Vault

  1. In the Azure portal, select All services. Search for and then select Recovery Services vaults.
  2. Add new Recovery Vault in your region.

Step3: Add a separate network for migrated VM

  1. In the Azure portal, select Create a resource > Networking > Virtual network.
  2. Add new Network and Address Space.

Step4: Prepare Recovery Goal

  1. On your vault page in the Azure portal, in the Getting Started section, select Site Recovery, and then select Prepare Infrastructure.
  2. Create a protection goal from On-prem to Azure.
  3. When you’re done, select OK to move to the next section.

Step5: Create a Replication Policy

  1. To create a new replication policy, click Site Recovery infrastructure > Replication Policies > +Replication Policy. In Create replication policy, specify a policy name.
  2. In RPO threshold, specify the recovery point objective (RPO) limit. This value specifies how often data recovery points are created. An alert is generated if continuous replication exceeds this limit.
  3. In Recovery point retention, specify how long (in hours) the retention window is for each recovery point. Replicated VMs can be recovered to any point in a window. Up to 24 hours retention is supported for machines replicated to premium storage, and 72 hours for standard storage.
  4. In App-consistent snapshot frequency, specify how often (in minutes) recovery points containing application-consistent snapshots will be created. Click OK to create the policy.

Prepare Source Environment (AWS)

Step6: Prepare Source ASR Configuration Server

  1. Log on to the EC2 instance where you would like to install Configuration Server
  1. Configure the proxy on the EC2 instance VM you’re using as the configuration server so that it can access the service URLs.
  2. Download Microsoft Azure Site Recovery Unified Setup. You can download it to your local machine and then copy it to the VM you’re using as the configuration server.
  3. Select the Download button to download the vault registration key. Copy the downloaded file to the VM you’re using as the configuration server.
  4. On the VM, right-click the installer you downloaded for Microsoft Azure Site Recovery Unified Setup, and then select Run as administrator.
  5. Under Before You Begin, select Install the configuration server and process server, and then select Next.
  6. In Third-Party Software License, select I accept the third-party license agreement, and then select Next.
  7. In Registration, select Browse, and then go to where you put the vault registration key file. Select Next.
  8. In Internet Settings, select Connect to Azure Site Recovery without a proxy server, and then select Next.
  9. The Prerequisites Check page runs checks for several items. When it’s finished, select Next.
  10. In MySQL Configuration, provide the required passwords, and then select Next.
  11. In Environment Details, select No. You don’t need to protect VMware machines. Then, select Next.
  12. In Install Location, select Next to accept the default.
  13. In Network Selection, select Next to accept the default.
  14. In Summary, select Install. Installation Progress shows you information about the installation process. When it’s finished, select Finish. A window displays a message about a reboot. Select OK. Next, a window displays a message about the configuration server connection passphrase. Copy the passphrase to your clipboard and save it somewhere safe.
  15. On the VM, run cspsconfigtool.exe to create one or more management accounts on the configuration server. Make sure that the management accounts have administrator permissions on the EC2 instances that you want to migrate.

Step7: Enable Replication for a AWS EC2 VM

  1. Click Replicate application > Source.
  2. In Source, select the configuration server.
  3. In Machine type, select Physical machines.
  4. Select the process server (the configuration server). Then click OK.
  5. In Target, select the subscription and the resource group in which you want to create the Azure VMs after failover. Choose the deployment model that you want to use in Azure (classic or resource management).
  6. Select the Azure storage account you want to use for replicating data.
  7. Select the Azure network and subnet to which Azure VMs will connect, when they’re created after failover.
  8. Select Configure now for selected machines, to apply the network setting to all machines you select for protection. Select Configure later to select the Azure network per machine.
  9. In Physical Machines, and click +Physical machine. Specify the name and IP address. Select the operating system of the machine you want to replicate. It takes a few minutes for the servers to be discovered and listed.
  10. In Properties > Configure properties, select the account that will be used by the process server to automatically install the Mobility service on the machine.
  11. In Replication settings > Configure replication settings, verify that the correct replication policy is selected.
  12. Click Enable Replication. You can track progress of the Enable Protection job in Settings > Jobs > Site Recovery Jobs. After the Finalize Protection job runs the machine is ready for failover.

Test failover at Azure Portal

Step8: Test a Failover

  1. On the page for your vault, go to Protected items > Replicated Items. Select the VM, and then select Test Failover.
  2. Select a recovery point to use for the failover:
    • Latest processed: Fails over the VM to the latest recovery point that was processed by Site Recovery. The time stamp is shown. With this option, no time is spent processing data, so it provides a low recovery time objective (RTO).
    • Latest app-consistent: This option fails over all VMs to the latest app-consistent recovery point. The time stamp is shown.
    • Custom: Select any recovery point.
  3. In Test Failover, select the target Azure network to which Azure VMs will be connected after failover occurs. This should be the network you created in Prepare Azure resources.
  4. Select OK to begin the failover. To track progress, select the VM to view its properties. Or you can select the Test Failover job on the page for your vault. To do this, select Monitoring and reports > Jobs > Site Recovery jobs.
  5. When the failover finishes, the replica Azure VM appears in the Azure portal. To view the VM, select Virtual Machines. Ensure that the VM is the appropriate size, that it’s connected to the right network, and that it’s running.
  6. You should now be able to connect to the replicated VM in Azure.
  7. To delete Azure VMs that were created during the test failover, select Cleanup test failover in the recovery plan. In Notes, record and save any observations associated with the test failover.

Migrate an AWS EC2 Instance to Azure Cloud

Step9: Trigger Azure Migration

  1. In Protected items > Replicated items, select the AWS instances, and then select Failover.
  2. In Failover, select a Recovery Point to failover to. Select the latest recovery point.
  3. Select Shut down machine before beginning failover if you want Site Recovery to attempt to do a shutdown of source virtual machines before triggering the failover. Failover continues even if shutdown fails. You can follow the failover progress on the Jobs
  4. Ensure that the VM appears in Replicated items.
  5. Right-click each VM, and then select Complete Migration. This finishes the migration process, stops replication for the AWS VM, and stops Site Recovery billing for the VM.

 

EMC Unity Hybrid Storage for Azure Cloud Integration

The customers who have placed their workload in both on-premises and cloud forming a “Hybrid Cloud” model for your Organisation, you probably need on-premises storage which meets the requirement of hybrid workloads. EMC’s Unity hybrid flash storage series may be the answer to your business critical problem. This unified storage array is designed for organisations from midmarket to the enterprise. Cover the broadest range of workloads – SAN and NAS both. The EMC unity has been designed for workloads rather than a tin seating on your data centre consuming power and cooling bills, and you are calling it a SAN. After all, that was a traditional tin-based SAN solution.

Previously I wrote an article about Dell Compellent. I received an overwhelming response from the Compellent user. I have been asked many occasion what other option do we have if not the Compellent storage.

To answer the question, I would choose from either EMC Unity Hybrid Storage, Nimble and NetApp Storage subject to the in-depth analysis of workloads, casestudy and business requirements. But again, this is a “Subject to x,y,z” question. The tin-based storage does not fulfil the modern business requirement. I would personally like to use Azure or AWS than procure any tin and pay for power, cooling and racks.

EMC Unity

The Unity midrange storage for flash and rich data services based on dense SSD technology helps provide outstanding TCO. The Unity provides intelligent insight into SAN health with CloudIQ, which provides cloud-based proactive monitoring and predictive analytics. Additionally, the ongoing operation is simple with proactive assistance and automated remote support.

What I like about Unity is that the Unity Software, most notably CloudIQ, Appsync and Cloud Tiering Appliance. The Unity has the capabilities include point-in-time snapshots, local and remote data replication, built-in encryption, and deep integration with VMware, Microsoft Apps, Hyper-v, Azure Blob, AWS S3 and OpenStack ecosystems. The Unity provides an automated tiering and flash-caching, the most active data is served from flash.

Management

The Unity provides the most user-friendly GUI management interface. After installing and powering on the purpose-built Dell EMC Unity system for the first time, the operating environment will boot. The interfaces are well-defined and highlighted for areas of interest – drive faults, network link failures, etc. Within Unisphere are some options for support, including Unisphere Online Help and the Support page where FAQs, videos, white papers, chat sessions, and more

Provisioning Storage

The EMC Unity offers both block and file provisioning in the same enclosure. The Disk Drives are provisioned into Pools that can be used to host both block and file data. Connectivity is offered for both block and file protocols using iSCSI and Fibre Channel. You can access LUNs, Consistency Groups, Thin Clones, VMware Datastores (VMFS), and VMware Virtual Volumes.

Fast VP

The FAST VP (Fully Automated Storage Tiering for Virtual Pools) is a very smart solution for dynamically matching storage requirements with changes in the frequency of data access. Fast VP segregate disk drives in three tiers

  • Extreme Performance Tier – SSD
  • Performance tier – SAS
  • Capacity Tier – NL-SAS

Fast VP Policies – FAST VP is an automated feature but provide controls to setup user-defined tiering policies to ensure the best performance for various environments. FAST VP uses an algorithm to make data relocation decisions based on the activity level of each slice.

  • Highest Available Tier
  • Auto-Tier
  • Start High then Auto-Tier
  • Lowest Available Tier
  • No Data Movement

Cloud Tiering Appliance (CTA)

If you are an organisation with hybrid cloud and you would like to move data from on-premises to Azure Cloud or AWS S3, then Cloud Tiering Appliance (CTA) is the best solutions for you to move data to a cloud-based on user-configured policies. The other way is also true which means you can return your data to on-premises using this appliance.

Why do you need this appliance? If you run of storage or free-up space, you can do it on the fly without capital expenditure. This ability optimises primary storage usage, dramatically improves storage efficiency, shortens the time required to back up data, and reduces overall TCO for primary storage. This functionality also reduces your own data centre footprint. You can move both file and block data to Azure Cloud or AWS S3 using CTA.

EMC CloudIQ

Another cool feature is CloudIQ. CloudIQ provides the operational insights and overall health scores EMC midrange storage. CloudIQ provides Central monitoring, predictive analytics and health monitoring.

CloudIQ is a no-cost SaaS application that non-disruptively provides overall health scores for Unity systems through cloud-based proactive monitoring and intelligent, predictive analytics.

AppSync Data Protection

Your priority is workload. You must protect workloads and simplify management of workloads. AppSync empowers you to satisfy copy demand for data repurposing, operational recovery, and disaster recovery with AppSync.

AppSync simplifies, orchestrates, and automates the process of generating and consuming copies of production data. You can integrate AppSync with Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, and Microsoft Exchange for application-consistent copy management. AppSync is the single user interface and provides VM-consistent copies of data stores and individual VM recovery for VMware environments

RecoveryPoint

EMC RecoverPoint provides continuous data protection with multiple recovery points to restore applications instantly to a specific point in time. EMC RecoveryPoint protects applications with bidirectional synchronous and asynchronous replication for recovery of physical, virtual, and cloud infrastructures. Minimize network utilisation with unique bandwidth compression and deduplication, significantly reducing replicated data over the network.

RecoveryPoint is software-only solutions to manage the disaster recovery provisioning and control their replication policies and recovery, ensuring that VM service levels are met.

EMC Storage Analytics

The Storage Analytics software lets you extend VMware vRealize Operations analytics to supported EMC storage platforms. Optimize performance and diagnose issues across physical storage and virtual machines with EMC Storage Analytics (ESA).

The Storage Analytics is dashboards based visual tools provide deep visibility into EMC infrastructure. Actionable capacity and performance analysis help you troubleshoot, identify, and act on issues fast.

Encryption

EMC Unity lets you encrypt user data as it is written to the backend drives, and decrypted during departure. Because encryption and decryption are handled via a dedicated hardware piece on the SAS interface, there is minimal impact on Unity Storage. The system also supports external key management through the use of the Key Management Interoperability Protocol (KMIP).

Conclusion

The Unity Hybrid Storage reduce cost, datacentre footprint, complexity and management overhead of your SAN systems while maintaining workload performance, protection and path to migrate data to Azure Cloud or AWS.