Category Archives : Cloud Computing

Microsoft Azure – Migrating between subscriptions

Recently I had an old Microsoft Azure subscription ready to expire, yet I still had some resources linked to the outgoing subscription in question.  Some of the active websites on another subscription still used SQL Databases on the old subscription.

If you find yourself needing to move Azure assets between active subscriptions, this information might be useful in helping you plan your migration.  Microsoft can assist by doing some of the heavy lifting for you.

Depending on your level of licensing, you may be able to open a free support ticket by navigating to and clicking on the “Get Support” link.

Migration Options

To give you an idea what may be involved, the following information was sent to me from Microsoft during my support ticket.  This is a list (current as of time of writing) about what can and can not be migrated between Azure subscriptions.

  • We do not support selective service transfer; transfer only a selected hosted service, storage service from one subscription to another. This may become available in future but today, we must transfer all services or none.
  • The source as well as destination subscription must be active.
  • The destination subscription must be completely empty. (We do have separate process to migrate to a subscription with services running, however it requires more time.)  
  • The source and destination subscriptions must have the same service administrator until the migration is complete.
  • The source and destination subscription cannot contain deployments/affinity groups with the same name.
  • There are some services that we cannot migrate and other services you will migrate yourself.  Please see the table below.

Azure can move:

You must move:

Unable to move:

Virtual Machines



Cloud Services


BizTalk Services

Web Sites

Active Directory

HD Insight

Media Services





Hyper-V Recovery Manager

Multi Factor Authentication


Azure Store

Traffic Manager


Import / Export

Mobile Services



Virtual Network


Management Services 

Access Control Service (ACS)


Azure Automation

Reserved IP Address + Reserved IPs under the list





Express Route

SQL Azure Server and Included DBs



Migration Prep Work

The service administrator on both the source and destination should be the same (Steps provided below). Temporarily, please update the Service Administrator on the Destination Subscription same as a Service Admin on the Source Subscription ID.

  • Login in to using your Live ID.
  • Click on the “Account” tab.
  • Click on the “Subscriptions” tab.
  • Select the subscription for which you want to change the service administrator.
  • Click on “Edit subscription details”.
  • Here you will find the option to change the service administrator.

This is a prerequisite step which you must perform before Microsoft can perform any migration work for you.

Migrating SQL Azure

If you have any SQL databases, you may migrate them yourself by following the steps below: 

  • Login to using your Live ID.
  • Make sure all the subscriptions are selected by clicking on the “Subscriptions” tab.
  • Click on SQL Databases.
    • Click on servers.
    • Click on the server name which you would like to transfer.
  • Select “Dashboard” if it is not already selected.
  • Click on “Change Subscription”.
  • Choose the new subscription and complete the wizard

I have not attempted to migrate VSO or Active Directory.

I hope you found this information useful!


How do you move Azure assets between directories?


Today I authenticated to the Azure portal to look at setting up a new Azure service when I took note of the alert (above) which popped up from the notification bar. 

So what are subscriptions and directories? 

Subscriptions and directories are accessed via the Subscriptions menu within the portal:

You can have multiple subscriptions under a directory, and multiple assets (databases, sites etc.) linked to subscriptions.


Term Description
Subscription* Subscriptions are a container for billing, but they also act as a security boundary: each subscription has a Service Administrator (SA) who can add/remove/modify Azure resources in that subscription by using the Azure Management Portal (
Directory* The Directory defines a set of users, which can be Organizational (i.e. sourced in that Directory) or Foreign (such as Microsoft Accounts).

* Source

My situation

I noticed that my SQL Azure databases weren’t listed with all the other usual assets, like Web Sites and so forth.

It was a few seconds later when I understood what was going on.  I recently had all my current Azure assets migrated from another Microsoft Account to my current one, and this process went well with no loss of connectivity and no need for me to have to upload or reconfigure existing sites and services.

However, whilst the SQL Azure databases have been migrated and are now associated with my new Microsoft Account, they are linked against an expiring subscription.  Since this is a bit tricky to explain, I’ve tried to illustrate the scenario with a diagram:


My question is: is it possible to move the items linked to Directory ‘B’ into Directory ‘A’?

More information on the subscription/directory structure

Then I came across this post on the TechNet forums, which links to a Word document which outlines the changes to Azure which occurred late last year.  From the document:

For users with subscriptions across multiple directories, they have the ability to switch the current context of the Azure Management Portal by using the Subscription Filter. Under the covers, this results in a separate login to a different Directory, but this is accomplished seamlessly using single sign-on (SSO).

Operations such as moving resources between subscriptions can be more difficult as a result of this single directory view of subscriptions. If necessary, the subscriptions may first need to be associated to the same directory (using the Edit Directory feature in Settings à Subscriptions) in order to perform the resource transfer.


After reading one of Scott Gu’s blog posts from the TechNet forum post, I achieved the desired outcome.  To borrow from that article:

If you have already have multiple directories and multiple subscriptions within your Windows Azure account, we have done our best to create a good default mapping of your subscriptions->directories as part of today’s update.  If you don’t like the default subscription-to-directory mapping we have done you can click the Settings tab in the left-hand navigation of the Windows Azure Management Portal and browse to the Subscriptions tab within it:


If you want to map a subscription under a different directory in your account, simply select the subscription from the list, and then click the “Edit Directory” button to choose which directory to map it to.  Mapping a subscription to a different directory takes only seconds and will not cause any of the resources within the subscription to recycle or stop working.  We’ve made the directory->subscription mapping process self-service so that you always have complete control and can map things however you want.


Once you have moved the subscription’s directory, all the assets follow to the target directory.  Now all that’s left to do is move my assets from one subscription to another:


Shouldn’t be too hard, right?  I’ll have to get back to you about that… 

Maybe the new Portal might help?




Migrating Subscriptions and Data within Microsoft Azure

Today I was able to successfully migrate all of my Windows Azure artifacts from one Microsoft Account/Subscription to another Microsoft Account/Subscription.   The scenario was – I had an MSDN subscription via my former employer, and over the source of the past year, I’d developed a number of applications whilst learning the Azure platform.

After being made redundant, my subscription was naturally deactivated, giving me the balance of part of July before the subscription credit would run out.  As it happened, my current employer also assigned me an MSDN subscription to a new Microsoft Account, so I have the same subscription level and the Azure available to me again.

The problem was: how do I migrate all the web sites, data stores and any other things I’d been working on? 

I could manually backup everything and then set it all back up again in the new account, but that would take a fair amount of effort and perhaps even some pain reconfiguring databases, DNS and so forth.

In the end, after a bit of Googling, I discovered this article here which mentions how to create a support ticket:

However, it’s a bit out of date.  For the most part though, the premise is the same.

Note: Before you decide to migrate data from one Azure Subscription/Microsoft Account to another, you should check the pre-requisites beforehand (see at the end of this article).

To create a support ticket

To migrate data or move subscriptions between different Microsoft Accounts, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Azure support site
  2. Click on “Get Support”


3. This will cause you to have to authenticate to the Azure portal

4. Once loaded, you’ll get a modal window like this one.  Select “Billing” for support type:


5. On the next page you have a number of options, if you want to migrate a subscription or data, go with the option “Subscription transfer and Migrations”


6. In the Category, you can be more specific with your request


7. On the final page, enter contact information

Once you submit the ticket, a representative from the Azure Support team will be in touch via Email or Phone to confirm the details with you.

My Experience

Was excellent.  I had an almost immediate response via e-mail which summarised the request and asked me to confirm.  As it turned out, what I’d requested to do (transfer subscription) was the wrong request – my mistake, but after some emails backwards and forwards, resolved by a quick phone call, data migration was the desired action.

Once confirmed, I reviewed the pre-requisites (see below) and confirmed the migration.  All I had to do was ensure that the Service Administer was the same for both source and target subscriptions.  Once everything was confirmed, the migration took only about 30 minutes and at the end, all services were working as expected, sites and DNS as well.

It was a very good support experience, communication was always very clear and concise and the outcome was exceptional.  High marks all around.

Microsoft Azure Data Migration/Data Transfer Pre-requisites

Ensure you review each point before submitting a service ticket:

  • The source as well as destination subscription should be active,
  • We do not support selective service transfer. i.e. transfer selected hosted service, storage service from one subscription to another. It may become available in future but today, we transfer all or nothing.
  • Destination subscription must be completely empty. If there is any data on the destination, we will be performing a force migration which will transfer the data.
  • Source subscription and destination subscription must have the same service admin (at least till the migration completes). 

List of services that can be migrated by us:

  • Virtual Machines
  • Cloud Services
  • CDN
  • Web sites
  • Media Services
  • Service Bus
  • Storage
  • Multi Factor Authentication
  • Traffic Manager
  • Mobile Services 
  • Virtual Network 
  • Access Control Service (ACS)
  • Caching – we need to work with Engineering Team for migrating caching service
  • Reserved IP Address and the Reserved IPs under the list

Self- serve Migration:

  • VSO
  • SQL DB
  • MFA

These are the services that cannot be moved:

  • Active Directory (AAD)
  • BizTalk Services
  • HD Insight
  • Backup 
  • Hyper-V Recovery Manager 
  • Azure Store 
  • Import / Export 
  • Scheduler 
  • Management Services 
  • SQL Reporting

Note: We won’t be able to perform data migration, if source as well as destination has  mobile services deployed. You would need to take the backup of mobile services from either Source or Destination delete it and once the data migration is completed, you can redeploy the mobile services on destination.

Additionally  follow these steps to change the Service Administrator if it’s not same: 

  1. Login in to
  2. Click ‘Subscriptions.’
  3. Select the subscription
  4. Click “Edit subscription details.”

Note: the Service Administrator needs to be the same for both target and source subscriptions.