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3 Azure Cloud Technologies for Modernizing Legacy Applications


By now, cloud computing has gone from a cutting-edge technology to a business best practice for companies of all sizes and industries. While migrating to the cloud is generally seen as an advantageous move, too many companies aren’t sure what to do once they get there.

In particular, the cloud presents a new opportunity for you to transform and modernize your legacy IT. Below, we’ll discuss three different Microsoft Azure cloud technologies—Microsoft Flow, Microsoft Power Apps, and Azure Functions—and how you can use them to enact digital transformation within your own organization.

  1. Microsoft Flow

    Microsoft Flow is a tool for automating tasks and processes by connecting separate applications and services. Although Flow supports many cloud apps and services, it can also run on-premises, potentially serving as a “bridge” for your legacy IT.

    Microsoft Flow makes it simpler for organizations to achieve business process automation (BPA) through built-in connectors between apps and services. Flow includes over 100 pre-built connectors, including Salesforce, Microsoft SQL Server, Outlook, Twitter, Slack, and many more. Flow also includes dozens of pre-built templates, such as saving Gmail attachments to Dropbox or sending weather updates to Microsoft’s Yammer social network.

    The potential use cases of Microsoft Flow include:

    • Sending a notification such as a text message or email when a certain event occurs (e.g., when a new customer prospect is added to Microsoft Dynamics CRM).
    • Collecting data (e.g., monitoring social media for posts that mention a certain keyword, and then performing sentiment analysisto determine how popular opinion changes over time).
    • Copying files between different locations (e.g., between SharePoint, Dropbox, and Microsoft OneDrive).

  3. Microsoft Power Apps

    Microsoft Power Apps is a low-code solution for building robust, production-ready, mobile-friendly enterprise software applications. Power Apps empowers even non-technical employees to create and launch the software they need to become more productive and effective in their jobs.

    Power Apps benefits from a user-friendly, drag-and-drop visual interface, automatically handling the business logic behind the scenes. The Power Apps platform also easily integrates with other apps and services in the Microsoft ecosystem, including OneDrive, SharePoint, Microsoft SQL Server, and third-party services such as Google Docs and Oracle.


  5. Azure Functions

    Azure Functions is Microsoft Azure’s serverless computing solution. The term “serverless computing” is a bit of a misnomer: applications still run on servers, but developers don’t have to worry about the tasks of provisioning and maintaining them. Instead, smaller functions are run only in response to a given trigger or event, and then the server is shut down once execution is complete.

    “Function as a service” solutions such as Azure Functions have multiple potential benefits:

    • Applications are decomposed into smaller, lightweight functions.
    • Functions are only executed on-demand, saving resources and cutting costs.
    • Serverless computing requires zero support and maintenance obligations for developers.


Microsoft Flow, Microsoft Power Apps, and Azure Functions are three Azure cloud technologies that can help digitally transform your business—and we’ve just scratched the surface of what’s possible with Microsoft Azure. Here at Datavail, we should know: we’re a Microsoft Gold Partner who has already helped hundreds of our clients successfully migrate their applications and database workloads to the Azure cloud.

To learn how we used Flow, Power Apps, and Azure Functions for one client to modernize their CRM software, download our case study “Financial Services Company Modernizes Their CRM with Azure Cloud.” You can also get in touch with our team of Azure experts today for a chat about your own business needs and objectives.

The post 3 Azure Cloud Technologies for Modernizing Legacy Applications appeared first on Datavail.

Which Is Best for Your MariaDB Cloud Migration: Azure or an Azure VM?


MariaDB is a powerful open-source relational database that can expand to even more functionality when you migrate it to Azure Database for MariaDB. This Microsoft cloud service is built off the community edition and offers a fully managed experience suitable for many use cases.

The Benefits of Moving to Azure for MariaDB

Azure’s cloud platform offers many benefits, especially if you’re migrating an on-premises MariaDB database.

  • Scaling your capacity on an as-needed basis, with changes happening within seconds.
  • High availability is built-in to the platform and doesn’t require additional costs to implement.
  • Cost-effective pay-as-you-go pricing model.
  • Your backup and recovery processes are covered, with support for point-in-time restoration reaching up to 35 days.
  • Enterprise-grade security that keeps your data safe whether it’s in transit or at rest.
  • The underlying infrastructure is managed, and many processes are automated to reduce administrative load on your end.
  • Continue using the MariaDB tools and technology that you’re familiar with while taking advantage of Microsoft Azure’s robust platform.

Migration Options for Azure Database for MariaDB 

If you want to move your MariaDB databases to Azure, you have two migration options: Azure Database for MariaDB or MariaDB on an Azure-hosted virtual machine. The right choice for your organization depends on the feature set you’re looking for and how much control you want over the underlying infrastructure.

Azure Database for MariaDB

Azure Database for MariaDB is a Database as a Service (DBaaS) and handles the vast majority of underlying administration and maintenance for your databases. The platform uses MariaDB Community Edition. The pricing model for this service is pay-as-you-go, and you’re able to scale your resources easily based on your current demand.

You have high availability databases right from the start of your service, and you never need to worry about applying patches, restoring databases in the event of an outage, or fixing failed hardware.

Since this migration option is a fully managed service, you have several limitations to contend with. These include:

  • You cannot use MyISAM, BLACKHOLE, or ARCHIVE for your storage engine.
  • No direct access to the underlying file system.
  • Several roles are restricted or not supported, such as DBA, SUPER privilege, and DEFINER.
  • Unable to change the MySQL system database.
  • Server storage size only scales up, not down.
  • You can’t use dynamic scaling to or from Basic pricing tiers.
  • Password plugins are not supported.
  • Several minimum and maximum database values are dictated by your pricing tier.

MariaDB on Azure VM

MariaDB on Azure VM is an Infrastructure as a Service solution. Azure fully manages the virtual machine, but you retain control over everything else. One of the biggest benefits of this migration option is that it allows you to use the exact MariaDB version that you want to. You’re also able to make the optimizations and tweaks needed to get the most out of your database engine.

The biggest drawback of MariaDB on Azure VM is that you’re controlling everything other than the VM itself. You have a significant amount of configuration and maintenance tasks that your database administrators are responsible for.

Which MariaDB Migration Option Is Best for Your Organization?

Both MariaDB migration options have their merits. The right option for your organization varies based on your use cases, the technical resources at your disposal, your budget, and the pace of your MariaDB project.

Azure Database for MariaDB

  • Azure Database for MariaDB is billed hourly with fixed, predictable rates. It offers a more cost-effective experience than a comparable Azure VM deployment.
  • Another area of cost savings comes from not needing to manage the underlying infrastructure. Azure handles the database engine, hardware, operating system, and software needed to run MariaDB. Your database administrators don’t need to worry about patching, configuring, or troubleshooting anything relating to this part of the infrastructure. They can focus on optimizing your databases, tuning queries and indexes, configuring sign-ins, and handling audits.
  • Your databases gain built-in high availability that comes with a 99.99% SLA guarantee.
  • All of your MariaDB data is replicated automatically as part of the disaster recovery functionality.
  • In the event of a server failure, your MariaDB database has a transparent fail-over in place.
  • Azure Database for MariaDB scales seamlessly to handle workloads, with managed load balancing.
  • Use the data-in replication feature to create a hybrid MariaDB environment. You’re able to sync data from an external MariaDB server to Azure Database for MariaDB. The external server can be a virtual machine, an on-premises server, or even another cloud database service.
  • Advanced threat detection helps to identify potential cyberattacks proactively to protect your databases better.
  • Customizable monitoring and alerting keep you in the loop on your database’s activity.
  • The ideal use cases for Azure Database for MariaDB include projects that require a fast time to market, cost-conscious organizations, organizations with limited technical resources, workloads that need to handle fluctuating demands, and organizations that want an easy-to-deploy managed database.

MariaDB on Azure VM 

  • Your costs include the provisioned VM, the MariaDB license, and the staff to handle the administrative overhead. However, these expenses are often less than an on-premises deployment.
  • You can run any version of MariaDB, which offers more flexibility than the managed database service.
  • You can achieve more than 99.99% database availability by configuring more high availability features for your MariaDB database, although this will drive up the cost.
  • You have full control over when you update the underlying operating system and database software, which allows you to plan around new features and maintenance windows. Azure VM provides automated functionality that streamlines some of these processes.
  • Install additional software to support your MariaDB deployment.
  • Define the exact size of the VM, the number of disks, and the storage configuration used for your MariaDB databases.
  • Zone redundancy is supported with this migration option.
  • The ideal use cases for MariaDB on Azure VM migrating existing on-premises applications and databases into the cloud without needing to rearchitect any layers.

Preparing for Your MariaDB Azure Migration

Moving your on-premises MariaDB database to one of Azure’s cloud-based options is a complex process. Datavail is here to help with that process. We’re a Microsoft Gold Partner and one of Microsoft’s Preferred Azure Partners for Enterprise and Mid-Market companies. With over 50 Azure certified architects and engineers, we can take you from start to finish and beyond with your migration. Contact us to learn more about our Azure services and MariaDB expertise.

The post Which Is Best for Your MariaDB Cloud Migration: Azure or an Azure VM? appeared first on Datavail.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM: Should You Migrate to the Cloud?


Microsoft Dynamics CRM is Microsoft’s enterprise solution for customer relationship management, helping you keep track of all your contacts and relationships with clients and prospective clients. But as Microsoft increasingly becomes a cloud-first company, should you migrate Dynamics CRM from your on-premises deployment to the Microsoft Azure cloud?

Thinking about migrating Dynamics CRM to the D365 in Azure is especially timely, given a few important end of support (EOS) dates:

  • Mainstream support for Dynamics CRM 2016has already ended in January 2021.
  • Extended support for Dynamics CRM 2011ended in July 2021.

If you don’t want to fall out of compliance, or miss out on new features and functionality, and expose yourself to security risks, you need to upgrade your Dynamics CRM software—but should you remain on-premises or move to the Azure cloud? In this article, we’ll discuss the factors to consider, as well as a few tips for your Dynamics CRM cloud migration.

Should You Migrate Dynamics CRM to the Cloud?

For most Dynamics CRM users, migrating to the Azure cloud will be the right choice. Migrating Dynamics CRM on-premises to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Online comes with several benefits, including:

  • Higher availability: Microsoft guarantees 99.9 percent uptime for Dynamics 365 Online—that’s a total of less than 9 hours of downtime for every year you use the software.
  • Greater flexibility: Cloud solutions such as Dynamics 365 Online are accessible from anywhere, at any time, improving users’ flexibility and productivity.
  • Cloud integrations: In the Azure cloud, it’s easier to integrate your Dynamics CRM data with your enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, as well as other apps and services in the Microsoft ecosystem such as Office 365 and Power BI.
  • Fewer maintenance obligations: Cloud vendors are responsible for application support and maintenance, so your IT team doesn’t have to worry about unexpected problems and crashes.

Of course, your own business goals and requirements may be different—so be sure to speak with a trusted Azure migration partner who can help you decide on the best path forward.

Tips for a Dynamics 365 Azure Cloud Migration

  • Understand the new features and functionality that will be available with your move to the cloud. This is especially important for organizations who are still on an older on-premises version of Dynamics CRM, and thus haven’t used this new functionality before. Consider how you might leverage features such as automation to improve employees’ productivity and efficiency.
  • Take the time to review your on-premises enterprise data before proceeding with the cloud migration. Is there unused or out-of-date information that needs to be pruned? How will the on-premises CRM database map to the Dynamics 365 database in the cloud?
  • Additionally, consider combining your Dynamics CRM cloud migration with another Azure cloud migration, such as Office 365.


Moving your Dynamics CRM deployment to the cloud is no easy feat—which is why you’ll likely need a Dynamics CRM cloud migration partner. As a Microsoft Gold Partner, Datavail has helped hundreds of our clients successfully migrate their applications and data to the Azure cloud.

To learn how we helped one client move their on-premises Dynamics CRM deployment to the cloud, check out Datavail’s case study “Financial Services Company Modernizes Their CRM with Azure Cloud.” You can also get in touch with our team of Azure experts today for a chat about your own business needs and objectives.

The post Microsoft Dynamics CRM: Should You Migrate to the Cloud? appeared first on Datavail.

The Choice Between Virtualization and Containerization


Virtualization and containerization both offer ways for software developers to isolate environments from the physical infrastructure, but they use different approaches to achieve this goal. Choosing between virtualization and containerization depends on knowing the strengths and weaknesses of both, and the most applicable use cases.

What are Virtual Machines and Containers?

Let’s start with the basics of each technology.

Virtual Machines

A virtual machine (VM) provides an environment that acts as a full physical computer system. It does this through hypervisor software, which virtualizes the underlying hardware for use by the VMs. They have their own operating systems, libraries, and kernels you can use for software development and other purposes.

You may only have one physical server, but you can run multiple VMs that emulate a full PC environment. The VMs are isolated from one another and the underlying physical server operating system.


Containers virtualize the operating system, rather than the underlying hardware. They are isolated environments, but they share the host operating system and other resources, such as libraries. To implement containers, you need containerization technology software.

Container Pros and Cons


  • Portability: Containers share the host operating system and associated resources, so their overall size is small. A container typically has the application and any required dependencies. Moving containers is a simple, resource-light task.
  • Optimized resource allocation: You only need a single copy of the operating system for all of your containers, so you use fewer hardware resources compared to a VM. When you’re working with a tight software development budget, being able to pare down the overall resources required for the project can go a long way.
  • Easy to update individual software components: If you need to make changes to a specific container, it’s easy to do so. You’re able to redeploy your containers without involving the rest of the application. Patching security holes and adding new functionality is a simple process with this technology.
  • Seamless horizontal scaling: Many container orchestration platforms offer scaling for your containers, so you can add the right number of pods for your application. You only scale the containers that require more resources, so it’s a cost-efficient way of handling different software components.



  • Less isolated: Containers share vital resources such as the operating system kernels and libraries, so they have less isolation between the environments. If you’re trying to maximize your security measures, the lack of full isolation may not be ideal for your development requirements.
  • You’re limited to one operating system: You’re not able to spin up different operating systems for containerization. The host operating system is the only one available for containers, and any changes to it impacts the full environment.

Virtual Machine Pros and Cons


  • Full isolation for better security: Fully isolated environments stop VMs from impacting one another. A problem with one of the operating systems will not spill over into the other environments.
  • Supports multiple operating systems: You can set up as many operating systems as you’d like on your system. You can develop software for multiple operating systems without needing additional hardware, which also makes testing your applications easier.
  • Potential for greater overall capacity: VMs typically have more resources than comparable containerization environments, as VMs need everything from the operating system to virtualized hardware for each instance. If you’re not using the maximum capacity of your VM hardware, you can leverage the overage for higher-resource processes.



  • Less portability: The fully isolated VM environment comes at the cost of portability. You may be working with VMs that are packaged into multiple gigabytes, depending on the resources that it has available. You’re not able to quickly move this software to a new destination, and shifting it is a more complicated process than containers.
  • Lack of resource optimization: Your VM environments have many of the same resources, duplicated for each instance. This lack of optimization can increase your costs, and you have to predict the overall capacity for all of your environments when configuring the VMs.
  • More OS maintenance requirements: The more operating systems you have, the more updates you need to stay on top of. This con is minimal if you have a limited number of environments, but it can quickly add up.

Matching Virtualization and Containerization to the Ideal Use Cases

Get the most out of both technologies by learning more about the use cases at which they excel. They’re valuable tools for every software development team, and using them effectively can help you meet your application goals.

Containers work best for applications that are cloud-native, have multi-cloud deployments, need horizontal scalability, have frequent updates, and have less stringent security requirements.

Virtualization works best when you have high-security requirements, use more than one operating system, have resource-intensive operations, and may or may not be deploying the application to a single cloud.

Using Containers and VMs Together

Containerization and virtualization are not an either/or prospect. You can use both together to great effect. In this configuration, the container’s host operating system is powered by a virtual machine. You’re able to create a dedicated, isolated environment for your containers while sharing the hardware resources with other VM environments.

If you’d like to learn more about choosing containers, VMs, or both, contact us at Datavail. We have the technical insight you need to make the best decision for your business goals.

The post The Choice Between Virtualization and Containerization appeared first on Datavail.

What Do You Want from Data Analytics?


We’ve done a lot of research on this question, and we’ve compiled that research into a list of the most critical benefits organizations are looking for in terms of business intelligence (BI) systems that provide data analytics.


In general, our research indicates that businesses are looking for a business solution, not a data solution. Business leaders want the ability to do self-service data exploration and discovery. They want to look at advanced analytics, build their own models, and understand what the data is telling them about their business.

You will probably find one or more of the things on this wish list are on your list of things you want from your data analytics. If you haven’t had a chance to conduct a survey in your organization, you can use this list to understand what some or all your customers will want you to provide in a business intelligence system that is based on analytics. They may not understand the underlying issues, but they want the overall benefit.


  1. Self-Service

    Customer expectations are changing for all types of businesses, and self-service is at the top of many customers’ list. Your customers are no different. They don’t want to wait for an IT developer to create a report, they want to be power users and develop their own reports.

    Obviously, there are things you’ll need to put in place to govern that activity. But, we talk to a lot of businesses that have a main goal of determining how to let users do that. They’re looking for ways to add a semantic layer on top of the data to allow users to generate reports concerning financial data, operational data, or a combination of the two.


  3. A Single Source of Truth

    You’re going to need to have data integrated into a single trusted data source as the foundation of data analytics for your customers. You know that if the data isn’t good quality and if it isn’t the right information at the right detail level, you’re not going to be able to provide insightful information.

    And that’s true whether you’re working on-premises or in the cloud, whether you’re using an Extract, Transform, and Load (ETL) process or an Extract, Load, and Transform (ELT) process. You can’t underestimate the importance of data governance so that you know where the data comes from, and you can bring it all together in one data source with confidence. It doesn’t need to be a monolithic governance structure, but things need to be in place to ensure the quality of the data.


  5. Answers to Questions Across Business Processes

    Your customers want to be able to answer questions such as:

    • What operational aspects drive financial aspects?
    • If I reduce costs in one area, what will happen to other areas?
    • If I could increase or reduce my lead time from a logistics standpoint, what would be the impact on the business?
    • If I develop new products, or change the pricing of existing products, what would be the impact on profitability?
    • What can I do to drive my business forward?

  7. The Need to Evaluate Both Structured and Unstructured Data

    There is a wide variety of both structured and unstructured data in any business. But, take social media and web-based data for an example. Your customers may want to use social media data to understand how products are working in the real world. Whether the data on social media is positive or negative, they want to use that data to get greater insight as to whether customer feedback was related to:

    • Product quality
    • Product design
    • Flexibility of use
    • Pricing

  9. Insight into Anyone Who Touches the Business

    Your customers want to know who they are dealing with in all the various roles that impact your decisions. For example, they want to know who the customers are and who the suppliers are. They want hints on how to establish strong relationships with those people to drive results, and how to take advantage of those relationships.


  11. Flexible Systems

    Your customers will want systems that are easily scalable. They want fast response. They want to be able to change the business model and see the effect on the business. Acquiring another business is one example, and the pandemic is another.

    When the pandemic hit, your customers would want to project the business impact if everyone had to stay home, or started working from home, or if your customers’ buying patterns changed, or if the percent of online buying increased. They’d want reports that could help them determine what the impact would be and how to react to it.

If you are challenged by meeting some of these requirements, Datavail experts can help you determine how to proceed. Contact us to discuss how you can take your business intelligence to the next level.

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A Panoramic View of Cloud Analytics

The driver for moving analytics to the cloud is the business imperative to stop using data as a way to gauge what is happening in your business, and start using analytics to answer questions that will grow your business.

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