As businesses move to the cloud in their digital transformation journey many IT managers feel the pressure to find the most efficient and effective way to embark on such a task.

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Over the past few years I have come across numerous migration tools.  Each promises its own ‘unique’ benefits, yet for me it is vital to get beyond the hype and drill down into the nitty gritty of the technology itself.

To illustrate how important the decision-making process is, I have conducted a side-by-side comparison of RiverMeadow Software’s SaaS-based Cloud Migration Platform and Microsoft’s Azure Site Recovery (ASR) with the insight and support of our key partners.

Cost-Efficiency

For any company migrating workloads to the cloud, cost-efficiency is a top priority. In my search to find a suitable and low-cost solution, it became clear to me that the ‘Free Tools’ offered by ASR are not entirely free. Microsoft incentivises customers by offering the first 31 days for free. However, you can still expect to pay for the cost of storage during replication and after cutover.

Beyond the first month you will pay a monthly fee of $25 and depending on the Tier pricing and RPO settings (the number of unique copies and how long they are retained), this fee can rise. When you consider the amount of expertise required to identify and manage the cloud migration project, a complex setup such as ASR that has lots of moving parts will likely incur significant costs in the long-term.

In conclusion, the value that RiverMeadow’s Cloud Migration Platform delivers is higher than those free options when you evaluate the hidden costs of "Free." As an automated and agentless solution, RiverMeadow keeps costs down by dramatically reducing the time it takes to move workloads to the cloud securely. Since you can expect a safe and controlled migration to be completed within 24 hours there is no need to pay the monthly fees that ASR requires for lengthy migrations. 

Compatibility and Support

For versions that are earlier than Windows Server 2008 R2, there are no Azure Marketplace support patches or security updates. This may cause security and compliance issues and expose customers’ applications and businesses to serious security risks.

RiverMeadow overcomes compatibility issues with its agentless, direct and secure any-2-any migration capability that can move all types of workloads and features a discovery assessment and cloud enablement service. The ability to lift and evolve apps withdraws any potential for compatibility in the future. 

Whist Microsoft requires you to run newer versions of Windows software before migrating workloads to Azure, RiverMeadow’s Cloud Migration Platform integrates with Azure through its external facing API and requires only a few clicks of a button.

UXP

On the front end, RiverMeadow offers a seamless user experience through a point-and-click web portal interface. It automated and simplified the entire process for me, and moved my workloads from one region to another with ease. Conversely, ASR required me to have a massive on-premise Appliance (Windows Server 2016 with System Center, MySQL, IIS (8cpu, 16GM RAM, 1.3TB Disk).

Configuration

When I attempted to configure the server I discovered that I must be logged into Azure. Failure to provide a valid Azure authentication code results in source machines failing to replicate. Consequently, I was forced to keep logging into Azure from the configuration server due to dropped heartbeat and interruption to synchronization.

Scalability

When it came to scalability, RiverMeadow’s Cloud Migration Platform far outranked ASR. Each migration consumed storage on the configuration server and concurrency would require even more storage when using ASR. This caused significant concerns around scale-out-abilities for 100’s of machines for migration.

Meanwhile, RiverMeadow’s Data Only Migration capabilities meant it was possible to migrate just the data of an application across platforms, across clouds and across OS versions without having to carry out a full migration. This allowed me to focus my efforts and network bandwidth on only those elements of the migration that were truly needed and  allowed me to meet my cutover deadline.

Synchronisation

The synchronization of one 7GB image took 2.5 hours with ASR. During this time, aside from Azure side status x%, I had no way to identify the duration of time remaining prior to completion, nor did ASR offer any insight into what was happening during the synchronization process.

Conversely, RiverMeadow’s online data transfer with real-time sync provided a far more robust experience with enhanced granularity and feedback regarding the ongoing process. This allowed me to determine exactly how long the process would take and the various stages of the synchronization process.

For simplicity’s sake I have listed below the key differences between the two migration tools:

RiverMeadow over ASR:

  • ASR is not Free. After 31 Days, it’s $25USD/month plus the cost of Storage (pricing depends on Tier and RPO settings aka the number of unique copies and how long they are retained)
  • Windows 2003 (No Azure support)
  • No support for NFS
  • Requires massive on-premise Appliance (Windows Server 2016 with System Center, MySQL, IIS (8cpu, 16GM RAM, 1.3TB Disk)
  • Configuration Server must be logged into Azure (Azure Auth) or Appliance fails heartbeat and replicated source machines won’t replicate (I had to keep logging into Azure from the Config Server due to dropped heartbeat and interruption to synchronization)
  • Agents installed on each machine to be replicated (Agent deployment can be orchestrated from the Configuration Server/Appliance)
  • ASR Solution is based on InMage NetScout - InMage was acquired by Microsoft in 2014.
  • Each migration consumed storage allocated on the Configuration Server (staged there before replication) Concurrency would require even more storage - concerns around scale-out abilities for 100’s of machines for migration
  • Synchronization of 7GB image took 2.5 hours - during which, aside from Azure side status: x% there is no way to identify time remaining or what’s happening in the process. Our steps and their granularity show ongoing progress much better
  • It took me almost 2 days to have the infrastructure built and a single migration of a small Linux workload completed whereas RiverMeadow can do the same task in 30 minutes. This all to migrate one machine…

ASR over RiverMeadow:

  • MPIO Support (Microsoft DSM, EMC PowerPath 5.7 SP4, EMC PowerPath DSM for CLARiiON)
  • Test Failover concept (similar to Cloud Endure) While this is a function of DR based tools - it appears more simplistic in workflow approach (Replicate / Sync -> Test Failover -> Resync -> Failover or Complete Migration)

Conclusion

As said earlier, with ASR it took me almost two days to build the infrastructure and complete a single migration of a small Linux workload whereas RiverMeadow took less than 30 minutes. It’s simply a no-brainer! RiverMeadow’s setup and migration process is infinitely faster and easier.

RiverMeadow’s agentless, automated migration process is totally transparent and its methodology consists of 9 easy steps. As I hope I have demonstrated, the hidden costs and expertise required to migrate workloads with ASR ended up costing considerably more in time, money and effort in the long run.

So if you’re looking for a low risk, fast, cost effective and scalable migration, RiverMeadow’s powerful suite of SaaS-delivered features and capabilities that are Migration-centric far outperforms ASR in every part of the journey.

To find out more about our purpose-build cloud migration platform and services, please click here to connect with one of our Cloud Migration Experts or click here to schedule a demo.