Prepare for Best Practice: Cloud Adoption using Azure Landing Zones

When you hear the term “Azure Landing Zones”, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was some sort of high-tech specialist solution. But in fact, Landing Zones are the foundation blocks for an Azure environment, enabling you to create and migrate workloads in the most effective way that’s designed with the future in mind.

What are Azure Landing Zones?

Microsoft describe using Landing Zones as building the foundation for a house. I always use the analogy that if you had a pilot’s licence, you still wouldn’t just get on a plane without having somewhere to land, something to monitor you or security measures in place to protect you. The same can be said for Landing Zones in Azure.

Landing Zones essentially set everything up ahead of time before you move workloads. This includes security, networking, monitoring, resource organisation, governance and disaster recovery, making it much simpler and cleaner in the long run whilst also providing automation moving forward. It’s also best practice as part of the Cloud Adoption Framework’s “Ready” phase to establish Landing Zones ahead of migration.

Governance is a key area frequently spoken about in regard to Cloud migration, and so it should be; governance provides the processes to maintain control over applications in your Azure environment. One of the joys of Landing Zones is that it gives customers the confidence that governance is being applied and covered during the creation stage, instead of relying on a service that’s applied after the migration. Once you’re set up, Azure Landing Zones enable seamless application migration, modernisation and innovation at enterprise-scale in Azure by creating Cloud-ready environments.

Design areas of a Landing Zone

Landing Zone designs can differ dramatically depending on an organisation’s requirements. However, the beauty of a Landing Zone is that it’s modular and scalable, meaning pieces can be added as and when needed. Whether you have a small, medium or large organisation, all Landing Zones will cover the following design areas:

  • Enterprise Enrolment: Setting up billing and subscriptions.
  • Identity: How will access be controlled?
  • Networking: Networking design and architecture.
  • Resource Organisation: How do we organise resources whilst ensuring simple growth?
  • Governance: How do we stay complaint and meet regulatory commitments?
  • Operations Baseline: How will the system be monitored, managed and optimized.
  • Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR): How do we recover from disasters and backup solutions?
  • Deployment Methods: How will the Landing Zone be deployed?

Design best practices

A Landing Zone is part of an Azure environment that has been pre-provisioned through code to help support one or more workloads. Services such as ARM Templates, Azure Blueprints and Terraform can be used to build and deploy a Landing Zone. Something important to bear in mind is that Landing Zones should always be created using code, as this reduces the risk of errors and allows for repeatability if it’s required.

When it comes to designing or creating Landing Zones, it’s important to be mindful of the future and how you see your organisation evolving over time. Landing Zones should be created with the foresight that Azure service migrations may not be in the pipeline right now, but may well be in the not-so-distant future. The aim here is to prepare an environment so that it’s capable of being used 5-10 years down the line with the knowledge that governance and guardrails are already in place.

There’s no “one size fits all

Organisations come in all different shapes and sizes, and there’s no definitive “one size fits all” when it comes to designing and building Landing Zones. Some customers decide to start small by creating foundations that can easily be expanded and added to in the future, whereas others will look to deploy enterprise-scale Landing Zones from the start which they then work towards fully utilising.

As Azure experts, here at Transparity we follow the Cloud Adoption Framework methodology to create Landing Zones for our customers regardless of project size. The type of Landing Zone fully depends on the customer use cases, internal skilling and Cloud adoption velocity.

Next steps

To share our knowledge as Microsoft Cloud experts, Transparity offer immersive workshops where we cover Azure Landing Zones and their deployment in great detail. Simply click below to submit your interest for one of our workshops and an Azure expert will be in touch.

You can also join our free online event coming up on the 17th August where we will showcase the Cloud Adoption Framework, as well as Landing Zones. Just click here to register!

Anthony Cooke
Microsoft Azure Technical Lead at Transparity

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