Healthcare Technology Featured Article

February 01, 2023

Migrating Health Applications to the Azure Cloud

What Is Azure Cloud?

Azure is a cloud computing platform and service created by Microsoft for building, deploying, and managing applications and services through a global network of Microsoft-managed data centers. It provides a variety of services such as virtual machines, storage, and databases, as well as tools for analytics, machine learning, and Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

Azure allows developers to use various programming languages, frameworks, and tools to build and deploy applications, and it supports both Windows and Linux operating systems. Microsoft charges for Azure services based on usage, which is measured in units such as hours, gigabytes, and transactions. The cost of each service varies depending on the specific service, the level of service, and the amount of usage.

Why Migrate Health Applications to the Azure Cloud?

There are several reasons why healthcare organizations may choose to migrate to Azure:

  • Security and compliance: Azure provides a highly secure environment for healthcare data and meets strict industry compliance standards, such as HIPAA and HITRUST.
  • Scalability and Flexibility: Azure allows healthcare organizations to scale their resources up or down as needed, making it more cost-effective and efficient. It also allows them to easily integrate with other systems and platforms, providing more flexibility in terms of data management and analytics.
  • Cost savings: By moving to the cloud, healthcare organizations can reduce the costs associated with maintaining on-premises infrastructure and can instead pay for only the resources they use.
  • Improved disaster recovery and business continuity: Azure offers disaster recovery and business continuity solutions that can help healthcare organizations ensure that their data and applications are always available, even in the event of a disaster.
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning: Azure offers various services for artificial intelligence and machine learning, which can help healthcare organizations improve patient outcomes, reduce costs, and streamline operations.
  • Internet of Things (IoT): Azure also offers IoT services which can be used to connect, monitor, and analyze data from IoT devices, which can be used to improve patient care and reduce costs.

Azure Migration: Step by Step

Here are the main stages of the Azure migration process.

Inventory and Evaluate

The discovery and evaluation phase is the first step in the Azure migration process and is focused on gathering information about the current state of the application and determining the best path for migration to Azure. The specific steps involved in this phase will depend on the type of application and the specific requirements of the organization, but generally, it includes the following steps for health applications:

  • Application inventory: Collect information about the current environment, including the number and types of applications, the number of servers and databases, and the current usage patterns.
  • Application assessment: Evaluate the applications to determine their suitability for migration to Azure. This includes identifying the dependencies, data storage, and security requirements of each application.
  • Application profiling: Perform detailed analysis of the application to understand the usage patterns, performance characteristics, and resource requirements.
  • Risk assessment: Identify any risks that could impact the migration, such as data loss or service interruption, and develop a plan to mitigate them.
  • Cost estimation: Estimate the costs of migrating and running the applications on Azure, taking into account the resources required and the pricing model that best fits the organization's needs.
  • Business case: Develop a business case which includes the cost-benefit analysis, risks and mitigation, and the expected ROI.
  • Planning: Develop a migration plan that outlines the steps required to move the application to Azure, including the timeline, resource requirements, and any potential risks.
  • Health compliance: Make sure the application complies with the regulations and guidelines of the healthcare industry.

During this phase, it is important to involve stakeholders from different departments and teams, such as IT, development, and business, to ensure that the migration plan takes into account the needs and requirements of all parties involved.

Migrate the Application

The migration phase is the second step in the Azure migration process, and it involves deploying the necessary cloud infrastructure and migrating the workloads to Azure. This will often include:

  • Cloud infrastructure deployment: Create and configure the necessary Azure resources, such as virtual machines, storage accounts, and virtual networks, to support the migrated applications.
  • Workload migration: Move the application and data to Azure. This step might include using Azure migration tools, such as Azure Site Recovery, Azure Database Migration Service, or Azure Migrate, or manual procedures via Azure Storage Services or Azure Data Factory.
  • Networking and security configuration: Configure the networking and security settings for the migrated applications to ensure that they meet the compliance and regulatory requirements of the healthcare industry.
  • Testing and validation: Test the migrated applications to ensure that they are functioning correctly and that the data has been migrated successfully.
  • Cutover: Switch to the new Azure environment by changing the DNS settings, and make sure the application is running seamlessly on Azure.

Optimize the Application

This phase involves optimizing the performance and costs of the migrated applications. Generally, it includes the following steps:

  • Right-sizing: Monitor the usage patterns and resource utilization of the migrated applications to ensure that they are running at optimal performance levels. Make any necessary adjustments, such as scaling up or down resources, to ensure that the applications are running at the appropriate size.
  • Cost management: Monitor the costs of running the applications on Azure and make any necessary adjustments to reduce costs. This might performing Azure cost management to track and optimize the costs, or using Azure Reservations or Azure reserved instances to reduce costs.

Continuously Monitor the Application

The continuous monitoring phase is an ongoing process that begins after the migration of a health application to Azure, and it is focused on ensuring that the application is running optimally, securely and compliantly. There are several types of application monitoring, including:

  • Performance monitoring: Use Azure monitoring and diagnostic tools to monitor the performance of the applications and detect any issues or bottlenecks.
  • Security and compliance monitoring: Continuously monitor the security and compliance of the applications to ensure that they meet the regulatory and security standards of the healthcare industry.
  • Backup and disaster recovery monitoring: Monitor the backup and disaster recovery strategy to ensure that data is protected and that the organization can recover from any disruptions. This is especially important for sensitive healthcare data such as patient information.
  • Auditing: Regularly audit the application and infrastructure to ensure they are configured and operated according to the organization's policies and standards.


Migrating health applications to the Azure cloud can bring many benefits, such as increased scalability, security, and compliance, as well as cost savings. However, this process requires careful planning and execution. The migration process usually includes three main phases: discovery and evaluation, migration, and optimization.

Finally, continuous monitoring is an important step in the process to ensure that the application continues to run optimally, securely, and compliantly. This includes monitoring the performance, security, and costs of the application, as well as proactively identifying and resolving any issues that may arise.

By following the steps outlined in this article, organizations can ensure that their health applications are running optimally, securely, and compliantly on Azure.

Author Bio: Gilad David Maayan

Gilad David Maayan is a technology writer who has worked with over 150 technology companies including SAP, Imperva, Samsung NEXT, NetApp and Check Point, producing technical and thought leadership content that elucidates technical solutions for developers and IT leadership. Today he heads Agile SEO, the leading marketing agency in the technology industry.


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