Sheffield Hallam University is one of the UK's largest universities, offering more than 700 degree courses for over 30,000 students and home to approximately 4,000 staff.


As the University’s trusted Microsoft Gold Partner, CoreAzure have been working with Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) to deliver their enterprise-wide cloud migration to Microsoft Azure. Nearing the end of a hardware refresh cycle, the decision was to re-invest in current on-premise data centres or to commit to a cloud programme designed to transform services and to reduce Opex and Capex costs. CoreAzure were engaged to develop the case for cloud and to Design and Build a new cloud-based infrastructure with ExpressRoute connectivity and to migrate c.80% of application workloads to Azure over a 15-month timeframe. 


Higher Education


United Kingdom

Number of users:


The challenge

The cloud programme was seen as a chance for the university to revolutionise their IT service delivery. SHU outlined their key drivers at the start of the programme, the move to cloud was driven by the need to address;

  • A complex and large application estate to consolidate (over 300 applications)
  • Competitive pressures, a greater demand from student expectations around services
  • High levels of residual risk
  • A demand for greater cost transparency
  • Ageing infrastructure - legacy hardware reaching end of support
  • Unstructured network lacking inter-network security (East to West traffic)

Our solution

The design and build of the Azure platform was implemented over a 12-week period, working closely with the in-house team at SHU. Agile was used as the basis of application migration, with a team comprising both SHU and CoreAzure staff. In addition to IaaS lift and shift, the migration pathway comprised re-architecting and re-factoring applications.

Alongside the migration, we implemented ExpressRoute connectivity for hybrid connection to Azure with VPN failover. We used our hub and spoke network topology, using vNets and vNet peering, with next generation firewalls to protect egress and ingress traffic.  

As part of the migration process, we re-hosted both Windows Server 2019 and SQL Server 2019 on Azure. For each of these server types, we followed a definitive migration process whereby we completed a preparation stage of confirming SHU’s requirements around DR and BC and availability as well as meeting with key subject matter experts to talk them through the proposed migration.

As part of our design stage, we produce a high-level design for each migration that is validated by the technical design authority at SHU. During the migrate phase, we deploy the server infrastructure (as per our approved design), configure the firewall ports, install the application and migrate the associated data. Following migration, there were a number of service transition activities completed including testing to ensure a smooth handover to SHU.

Through the project at SHU, we have achieved the following;  

  • Reduced overall levels of Opex and through effective cost management levels of Azure consumption were lower than expected 
  • c.80% of application workloads are in the final stages of migration, supported by dedicated ExpressRoute connectivity to Azure 
  • Recovery and business continuity capabilities had been enhanced with ASR and Azure Backup 
  • Implementing cloud has established a transparent consumption-based cost model combatting the issues around many years of delegated budget and non-managed spend