Creating cloud ready environments with Azure landing zones

Moving to the cloud creates an opportunity to pause and think about how to operate the IT environment. Most organizations in the world have seen their ability to innovate and adopt cloud technologies slowed down by the rules and operating model that governs their existing IT environments. Organizations have their own set of processes, tools, and dedicated staff to ensure that these environments can continuously support business needs.

With the move to a cloud environment, IT has access to new tools and processes that unblock IT operations. By revisiting the operating model, technology-focused teams and Azure partners can help organizations improve agility, cost, and scale.

Azure landing zones in the Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure are designed to accelerate efforts to map, modernize, or even reimagine the operating model. Azure landing zones help build a cloud environment aligned to the optimal technology operations specific to your needs in the cloud.

As the following analogy illustrates, a standardized foundation can’t fit the variety of needs seen by organizations and operating models. Respecting any need for options and customization, we provide a range of landing zone architectures and implementation options. Organizations can use the implementation option that most clearly aligns to their current cloud strategy. As the approach to managing, operating, and governing the cloud platform matures, you can support your customers and refactor their Azure landing zone implementation to reflect changes to their operating model.

Landing zone analogy

The cloud environment is similar to laying a foundation in any construction project. All architects have to consider common decisions when designing and laying the foundation for any building. They all share things like concrete, rebar, and conduits to bring in necessary utilities, like plumbing or electricity. While foundations contain similar elements and considerations, they may have other considerations that make them unique and wildly different. The foundation for a house is concise and well-contained. The foundation for a stadium is larger and more complex. The foundation for a bridge is even more complex and may require stricter governance and performance standards. Designing the right foundation requires an understanding of what that foundation will support.

The cloud environments, created by Azure landing zones, are very similar as they are all built from the same common design elements. While commonalities exist across all environments, each landing zone implementation is customized to support a specific type of structure or cloud operating model. Like traditional foundations, the cloud environment will require review, modification, and iteration by an experienced architect to ensure that it supports the organization’s long-term needs.

When getting started or rethinking operations, Azure landing zones help accelerate the design, review, and implementation of the cloud environment. When working with your customers to accelerate their journey, Azure landing zones can guide your collaboration, as you validate, customize, and expand Azure landing zones to build the foundation for their digital transformation.

Azure landing zones

Azure landing zones provide a clear architecture, reference implementations, and code samples to create the initial cloud environment. This environment will support all other adoption efforts by consistently applying a set of common design areas. These design areas represent how the operating model is supported in the cloud.

Design areas of a well-architected landing zone.

Azure landing zones implementation options provides a reference implementation or approach to help make decisions regarding networking, identity, resource organization, governance, operations, and other design areas that impact the environment. The options provide a structure, which organizations can follow, to ensure all minimal design considerations have been made and decisions are reflected consistently across the cloud environment.

Azure landing zones implementation options

Azure landing zones are designed to meet our customers distinct needs based on today’s requirements, and then provide a clear path to customize and mature any personalized landing zone implementation. This starts with choosing an landing zone implementation option, which will quickly deploy a starting point for the cloud environment.

Some of the Azure landing zones are small by design to encourage skills development and customization. The “start small” implementation options establish an infrastructure-as-code approach and then provide the IT team with a series of decisions guides. This approach helps guide the thoughts and decisions that need to happen. This iterative approach builds the foundation in parallel to the cloud adoption plan to help the team make concrete decisions, as cloud experience matures.

For organizations with well-defined operating models, the “enterprise-scale” implementation option fills in those decisions. This option includes very detailed solutions for security, governance, and operations. These solutions are automated and enforced by Azure Policy and other governance tools in the reference implementations. When starting with enterprise-scale, organizations can reduce the number of decision points and implement a proven cloud operating model faster.

Azure landing zones development

Regardless of the landing zone chosen, the Ready methodology of the Cloud Adoption Framework (CAF) for Azure helps guide organizations while developing the skills needed to create and support their cloud environment. The theory behind Azure landing zones brings well-established development practices to the infrastructure management function.

As Azure landing zones are implemented and customized, the team will develop skills in general Azure architecture. It is also important to learn how to refactor landing zones to meet new business and technical requirements and how test-driven development can ensure high-quality changes are adding value to the cloud environment. You’ll also experience how the governance tools in Azure can be used to create an environment factory to provide your customers with the rapid deployment of security, well-governed, well-managed azure landing zones.

As your customer’s cloud adoption efforts advance, you can use the guidance found in the Govern and Manage methodologies to further help them mature their governance and operational management postures. As these processes and disciplines mature, Azure landing zones and the suite of Azure governance tools provide a convenient approach to apply changes to existing environments. This allows the collective technology teams to mature governance and management at the right pace, while ensuring that such progress isn’t stalled by technical compatibility challenges.

Learn more

To learn more about Azure landing zones, check out the Ready section under the Cloud Adoption Framework (CAF) including:

If you are ready to help your customers deploy Azure landing zones, the following resources will help you get started:

Already have workloads on Azure and want to assess them against best practices? Check out the Microsoft Azure Well-Architected Framework and the Microsoft Azure Well-Architected Review.

Grow your business and strengthen your position, as a trusted cloud advisor, by leveraging Azure landing zones to create the right cloud environment to support your customer’s cloud adoption needs! Building on the right environment, ensures that your own and your customers’ modern operations are able to support the innovation and migration needs of the organization. Adopting the cloud on top of Azure landing zones is the first step to unlocking the agility, scale, and cost benefits of the cloud across your customer’s IT portfolio.

Source: Azure Blog
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