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Migrate to Modern OS in the Cloud before EoS

44 Websites using Open Source software migrated to Microsoft Azure


With Microsoft’s withdrawal of extended support for Windows Server 2003 looming in the near future, Microsoft SEK had to migrate 44 websites to a new platform. Surprisingly, this was perceived more of an opportunity than a threat as Microsoft Azure provided the ideal environment for hosting everything without investment in new hardware.

Plain Concepts helped Microsoft in this complex process and the transition of all workloads to the new platform has been painless!


The objective was to migrate from Windows Server 2003 before withdrawal of extended support avoiding heavy expense of new hardware while improving website services. Besides the 44 websites, this also included back-end database workloads and PHP front-ends.


Thanks to the migration Microsoft SEK now has fewer security concerns based on superior underlying OS security configuration practices, less maintenance overhead for the OS itself and other components like PHP updates, automatic scalability based on CPU demand, impressive cost-saving with respect to the previous hosted solution and powerful high availability capabilities, based on web host CPU usage or schedule.

“The migration process was very smooth, giving us clear proof of Microsoft‘s commitment to comply with standards and interoperability. Azure turned out to be a more open platform than we had originally expected.”

— Jesús Alberto Torres Ahijado, CIO, SEK Educational Group

Azure easily adapts to open source software

Most of the hosted websites were coded in PHP. Many potential Azure users make the implied assumption that open source software such as PHP, Java, Linux and more are simply not supported on the Azure platform. However, the SEK team was pleasantly surprised to find out just how far this is from the truth!

Azure security and access control

The msdeploy tool proved really valuable in the migration process from IIS 6 to Azure Websites. We used IIS 8 at the right moment. This allowed us to migrate incrementally changes made in IIS 6 to Azure, thus making the migration lifecycle more dynamic and giving developers and the IT department greater flexibility during the process.

Azure advantages

  • Powerful, high availability capabilities based on web host CPU usage or schedules;
  • Supports open source code and platforms at the same level as Microsoft platforms;
  • Less maintenance overhead for the OS itself and other components like PHP updates;
  • Automatic scalability based on CPU demand;
  • Significant development benefits from the pre-staging slots for websites;
  • Fewer security concerns thanks to superior underlying OS security configuration practices;
  • Impressive cost savings compared to the previous hosted solution.