How To Move With Microsoft To Linux: a short checklist and pitfalls

At the end of July 2022, Microsoft stopped the SPLA contracts for many providers. Most of them will not be able to extend licenses, which means to use Azure, Windows Server, Microsoft 365. And this is not counting the proprietary software available only to Windows users.

Piracy is unsafe. Therefore, we tried to give our customers an approximate plan for migration on Linux.

Alternative software

The Microsoft catalog has dozens of programs for organizing servers, spaces for collaboration, content sites and other things. And first, you need to understand what kind of software this software falls on your infrastructure. Conditionally, write out a list of software used and divide it into two groups on the principle of “this can be replaced, and this is impossible.”

Some of the companies at this point diverging. Those who have a small infrastructure unfold Linux and calmly tolerate data and services. And someone despair and decides to step on the dark Rutra … Runet. But there are those who, despite the bulky infrastructure, continue migration – for them we have painted further action.

Migration from Azure

If you use the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, forget for a while about finding alternative software. Before expanding the backup infrastructure, you need to take care of the migration of the space itself with data and services. This is better to do it quickly: if there is little time left before the end of the license, there is a risk of losing corporate and client data. The policy of foreign corporations is now unpredictable.

The first thing to do is prepare a reserve platform – a dedicated or cloud servers for emergency recovery, Disaster Recovery (DR). The main thing is that the selected decision meets the requirements – they are different depending on the needs of the company.

  • If the IAAS company will be easier: it will be necessary to choose the necessary server configurations in another cloud. Read more about the assessment of the consumed resources by the Azure cloud here.
  • If the company uses a specific software like MSSQL in Azure, you need to look for a provider that still supports it. So, it will be possible to quickly move to ON PREMISE-solution-without the cost of independent deployment and testing.

If the infrastructure is too large and there is no time to turn the DR platform, first you need to make a data backup in ON PREMISE storage. And only then-raise the DR platform and transfer services and data to it.

How to transfer services and data to a DR platform?

Now that you have a DR platform, you can clone the image of Azure. Depending on the technology of virtualization with which you work, there are several ways.

  • Transfer and load the image of Azure yourself. Azure has a disk unloading function into ON-PREMISE format-it can be installed in your virtualization system. A striking example is copying the image in Hyper-V.
  • Replicate the virtual environment using special software. You can use third -party software like Smikar Carbon. Is it safe to open a question. Therefore, it is better to rely on the first and third options.
  • Make a backup OS using an agent Windows. To back up the systemic image and data, you can deploy Veeam Backup & Replication. Moreover, you can configure the Veeam agent so that the backup is performed automatically. After you can unload the data and the image on the DR platform.

If there is too much data and there is no way to immediately transfer it to the reserve site, you can use the SCD service – a data storage system.

Migration from OneDrive

Another scenario is possible: the infrastructure is located in the “cloud without sanctions”, not in Azure, but the files are stored in OneDrive Online. Here is also the first thing to do is prepare a reserve platform. It can be like another cloud (Google Drive, Dropbox), and a full -fledged cloud provider’s cloud platform.

How to transfer files to a backup cloud?

After starting the reserve cloud, you need to transfer the data. This can be done in several ways.

  1. Transfer data to another cloud using utilities. For automated data transfer, for example, with OneDrive to Google Drive, you can use special software like MultCloud.
  2. Download a copy of the OneDrive Online disk and download data into a new cloud. This option will take more time than the previous one, but does not limit the choice – you can transfer data to any cloud storage. If there is no way to engage in this routine yourself, for help with migration, you can contact the selected provider.

Is it possible to move in a short time?

Depending on how many services, users and data, the move time may vary. Even the help of the provider and the use of a special software does not guarantee that the move will be quick. Consider the most frequent cases, according to experts, cases.

Copying mail servers

If you have a relatively small number of mailboxes (100-300), there should be no problems with copying these mail servers. To “pull” the data from Microsoft Exchange into an alternative system – Postfix or Communigate – you need:

  • Install the mail server (Postfix or Communigate) as an additional one,
  • export the list of user mailboxes in a PST archive-this can be done using the MS PowerShell commandlet,
  • transfer user data to a new mail server using IMAP agent,
  • Download the missing components (in the case of Postfix, you need to additionally configure the LDAP protocol).

All this can be done in about a month. If the database has, for example, 2,000 mailboxes and 20 data, then the transition can take ten times more resources and time.

The most detailed process of copying data from Exchange is described in the article.

Copying data from 1C

The same is with accounting: the more data, the longer the move will be. However, with software, like 1C, the situation is simpler: no need to look for analogues, it is enough to establish the Linux version of the selected software. For example: 100 GB of data can be transferred alone in 2 days. Together with testing – in a week.

Other pitfalls

Restrictions in the speed of moving are something from the category of natural. Do you have a big infrastructure? Be prepared to spend a lot of resources and time on moving. But the costs will be even more if you do not prepare for the defense of the “migrant services” on the DR platform. There are a number of conventions that need to be accepted.

Not for every software you can find an alternative

A striking example is AutoCAD-software for 3D modeling and drawing. It is often used in companies that are designing different installations and structures. For collaboration in AutoCAD, virtual desktops are launched on servers – VDI. The problem is that this software does not have a version on Linux.

Use a 3D compass, Inventor or Blender instead of AutoCAD is impractical: documents differ. The only thing you can work with is drawings. But about 3D modeling can be forgotten.

The second example is SharePoint – a service that is included in the Microsoft 365 package (Office 365). It can be used, for example, to create corporate portals. There is a similar software – for example, Bitrix, but it cannot be migrated to it. There is another scenario: you need to adapt the engine, write part of the modules yourself and only then transfer data to your “creation”.

Need to test. Test a lot

There are companies that do not need to hire developers to restore part of the services. But almost everyone has to test. Even if the services have alternative solutions for Linux, there may be problems with compatibility at the junction of “infrastructure-service”.

For example, if the company uses MSSQL and all scripts are written to work with its interface, costs cannot be avoided. In the case of moving, for example, to PostgreSQL, you need to rewrite all the programs for working with the new API. Changes also need to be tested – check how interfaces work with the new DBMS.

The main advice

The relevance of moving the last statements of Microsoft distributors do not affect in any way. Uncertainty has not gone away.

If you are going to migrate, here is the main advice: study the market of alternative solutions and use the experience of other companies. For example, if you want to move to Astra Linux, you can see if anyone tried to do it before you.

Navid Anjum

Full-stack web developer and founder of Laravelaura. He makes his tutorials as simple as humanly possible and focuses on getting the students to the point where they can build projects independently.

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