Microsoft Unveils InMage-Based Migration Accelerator for Azure

A few months after acquiring data protection specialist InMage, Microsoft releases a tool that automates cloud migration operations.

Microsoft Azure cloud migration

Microsoft has kicked off a limited preview of its Migration Accelerator for Azure tool, the company announced.

The tool is based on technology the company acquired from this summer's InMage buy, a provider of cloud-enabled backup and recovery software that supports both physical and virtual servers. Microsoft predicted that the deal would help accelerate its "strategy to provide hybrid cloud business continuity solutions for any customer IT environment, be it Windows or Linux, physical or virtualized on Hyper-V, VMware or others."

Nearly three months later, the company is inviting Azure customers to take Migration Accelerator (MA) for a spin.

"Spawned from the technology of our InMage acquisition, the MA is designed to seamlessly migrate physical, VMware, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Hyper-V workloads into Azure," said Srinath Vasireddy, principal lead program manager of Cloud and Enterprise at Microsoft, in a statement. "It automates all aspects of migration, including discovery of source workloads, remote agent installation, network adaptation and endpoint configuration."

Migration Accelerator supports the transfer of workloads running on VMware, Hyper-V, Amazon Web Services and physical servers that are nestled within an organization's data center. Operating system support includes Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, 2012 and 2012 R2.

In a Sept. 4 blog post, Vasireddy underscored the product's automated, low-touch attributes.

"The MA portal allows you to automatically discover your enterprise workloads, remotely from the cloud," he stated. "With few clicks you can configure end-to-end migration scenarios."

To avoid downtime, administrators can use Migration Accelerator to perform tests "without impacting the existing on-premise production workload offering the ability to validate workload functionality before a cutover is performed."

A major distinguishing feature is the solution's multi-tier application migration capabilities, said Vasireddy. "MA boasts the unique ability to migrate [a] multi-tier production system with application-level consistency orchestrated across tiers." Startup order is preserved without manual intervention.

Migration Accelerator consists of five components, including a lightweight software agent called Mobility Service that "is responsible for real-time data capture and synchronization of the selected volumes of source servers to target servers," informed Vasireddy.

Process Server (physical or virtual) handles communication between Mobility Service and Azure. Master Target serves as the Azure-based target for disk replication operations. Finally, Configuration Server handles communications between Master Target and the MA Portal, the solution's management toolset.

Migration Accelerator is an integral part of Microsoft's plan to lure businesses, and their virtualized workloads, onto its Azure cloud computing platform. However, many have already standardized on VMware's rival virtualization platform.

"A huge number of the requests we get about supporting VMware environments is tied to a broader (and always growing) need to make it simpler to migrate to Azure or a Microsoft private/hosted cloud," revealed Brad Anderson, corporate vice president of Cloud and Enterprise for Microsoft, in statements made in the wake of the InMage deal. "It is no exaggeration to say that there are a lot of customers doing this right now."

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...