A tale of two Azure transitions

We’ve been speaking with customers a lot about the end of mainstream support for SQL and Windows Servers 2008. We’re seeing many organisations preparing for migration, while others are yet to appreciate the urgency and are squeezing every last drop out of their existing infrastructure. The latter is a high-risk approach that places critical business systems and customer data at risk. With the average total cost of a data breach sitting at $4 million1, one in five organisations losing customers and nearly 30% of revenue due to an attack2 – now is the time to consider your migration strategy.

Well-planned migrations don’t happen overnight. It’s likely every IT team can feel the clock ticking towards their move to the cloud. To help you prepare and make the move with confidence, here is a tale of two customer’s recent Azure transitions.

Customer Snapshot #1

Education Shared Service Provider
Product and Services
Microsoft Azure
Organisation Size
1,000 employees

A large New South Wales education authority were looking to leverage Azure advanced services. The education body, responsible for approximately 150 primary and secondary schools, wanted to reduce their administrative burden and the cost of service delivery, as well as improve their ability to backup and recover services they deliver to schools.

The authority had several hundred Windows Servers and also a large number of SQL Servers running in an on-premises hyper-converged environment. Data#3 was invited by Microsoft to deliver an Azure Modernisation Assessment for the customer, to evaluate workload feasibility for an Azure transition. The assessment revealed the customer’s virtual environment comprised of Linux, SQL and Windows Servers including 2003, 2008 and 2012 versions, many of which had reached end of life and posed a security threat for the organisation. Windows Server 2003 has been unsupported since July, 2015, and 2008 SQL and Windows Servers reached end of support July, 2019 and January, 2020 respectively.

After the assessment, Data#3 was engaged to upgrade the unsupported Windows and SQL Servers to a supported platform level, and to consolidate and migrate the SQL workloads to managed Azure instances.

The transition has reduced risk and simplified the customer’s environment, having upgraded their unsupported Windows and SQL Server to managed instances. The education provider now has the ability to provision new workloads in real time, and to scale workloads to any capacity. They are now looking at further advanced services for new capabilities to deliver improved educational outcomes.

Customer Snapshot #2

K-12 School
Product and Services
Microsoft Azure
Organisation Size
230 employees, 1,500 students

A large private school located in Queensland was seeking to adopt cloud services to gain the ability to scale workloads on demand, as well as to improve the resilience of their IT services in the event of a physical disaster. With approximately 1,500 students and 230 staff on campus, the college wanted to ensure that their critical data and platforms would not be lost or suffer significant down time in the event that the school experienced a fire, flood or other physical damage to their on-premises data centre.

Data#3 was initially engaged by Microsoft to deliver an Azure Modernisation Assessment to review workload feasibility for an Azure transition. The majority of the workloads were determined to be ready to transition to the cloud, with most virtual machines running Windows Server 2012 R2. There were however, some Windows 2003 and 2008, and SQL 2008 and 2012 servers still in the environment, which had all reached end of mainstream support and therefore had become a security threat to the organisation.

After presenting the findings, Data#3 was invited to upgrade the unsupported Windows and SQL Server workloads to supported versions, and to transition SQL workloads to a managed Azure environment.

As workloads were transitioned to the cloud, the school has freed storage space in their data centre, reducing their reliance on on-premises infrastructure. In doing so, they have also reduced their risk profile, improved the resilience of their IT services and upgraded their backup and disaster recovery capabilities.

Azure Modernisation Assessment

If like these two education customers, your team are planning a move to Azure, get in touch today. An Azure Modernisation Assessment is a great way to start, you’ll receive a detailed understanding of exactly what infrastructure is in your environment and a plan of action for transitioning your workloads.

1. Ponemon Institute (2016). Cost of Data Breach Study: Global Analysis. [Online] Available at:
2. Cisco (2018). Annual Cybersecurity Report. [Online] Available at:

Tags: Cloud, Microsoft, Microsoft Azure, Security, Managed Services, Data Centre, Microsoft Windows Server 2008, Microsoft SQL Server 2008


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