Hands On Guide to AWS Migration

Hands On Guide to AWS Migration

By Contributing Writer
Gilad David Maayan
  |  January 25, 2023

What Is AWS Migration?

An AWS cloud migration involves moving digital business operations to Amazon’s cloud computing platform. A cloud migration process requires significant expertise and preparation. When implemented effectively, cloud migration can offer great benefits, such as cost-savings and flexibility.

During a cloud migration process, you move applications, IT processes, and data from one data center to the AWS cloud. The source data center can be on-premises or another cloud provider, like Microsoft Azure or Google (News - Alert) Cloud.

AWS Migration Strategies

A migration strategy defines how you migrate a workload to a cloud environment. Here are the seven migration strategies you can use to move applications to the cloud:


This migration strategy involves decommissioning or archiving an application by shutting down the servers in that application stack.


Use this strategy for applications you want to keep in the source location or applications you cannot migrate elsewhere. Retaining enables you to keep applications for possible future migrations.


Commonly called ‘lift and shift,’ rehosting involves moving an application from a source environment to the cloud without changing the application. You ‘lift’ it from the source and ‘shift’ it to the target cloud.


This strategy enables you to transfer many number servers (one or more applications) simultaneously from an on-premises environment to a similar cloud environment. Relocating is suitable for moving objects or instances to another virtual private cloud (VPC), AWS account, or AWS Region.


Commonly referred to as the ‘drop and shop’ strategy, repurchasing involves replacing an existing application with another product or version. It helps access a new application that offers more business value than an existing one, such as pay-as-you-go pricing models, accessibility, and no infrastructure maintenance.


Also known as ‘lift, tinker, and shift’ or ‘lift and reshape,’ replatforming involves moving an application to the cloud and optimizing it to make it suitable for the cloud, ensuring you can operate it efficiently or reduce costs.

Refactoring or re-architecting

This strategy involves modifying the application’s architecture to ensure it can take full advantage of cloud native features once it moves to the cloud. It helps improve agility, scalability, and performance, ensuring you can meet business demand to accelerate product and feature releases and optimize cloud costs.

Large cloud migrations typically utilize rehosting, replatforming, relocating, and retiring strategies. Since refactoring involves modernizing an application during the migration, it is not recommended for large migrations.

Refactoring is the most complex strategy, especially when migrating many applications. Instead, you should use relocate, replatform, or rehost the application and modernize it after the migration process is complete.

AWS Migration Process

You can shift many applications to the AWS cloud using a three-phase migration process. AWS identifies each phase as a common component in a successful, iterative migration process. Iteration enables you to drive repeatability and predictability in procedures and processes and accelerate migration.


The migration journey starts with assessing the organization’s readiness for the cloud. It involves identifying the desired business outcomes and creating a business case for migration. AWS provides migration tools to help assess on-premises resources and build a cost projection for running applications in the AWS cloud, including:

  • Migration Evaluator—provides a total cost of ownership (TCO) estimation for AWS costs according to the organization’s actual resource utilization.
  • AWS Migration Hub—a centralized location lets you choose specific AWS and partner migration tools according to your needs, providing visibility into the migration status across the entire portfolio of applications.
  • AWS Prescriptive Guidance—offers real-world strategies, patterns, and guides from AWS and partners to help accelerate cloud migration, optimization, or modernization.


This phase involves creating a migration plan and refining the organization’s business case. The goal is to address gaps in the organization’s cloud readiness identified in the assessment phase. It requires building a baseline environment, commonly called the landing zone, improving cloud skills, and driving operational readiness.

Here are key aspects to determine during this phase:

  • Migration strategies—choose the strategies that meet your business case objectives. Depending on your specific needs, you can relocate, replatform, rehost, refactor, retire, retain, or repurchase. You can use AWS Application Discovery Services to gather information about on-premise data centers, understand individual workloads, and migrate effectively.
  • Incorporate automation—AWS offers various tools to help automate your migration. The AWS Application Discovery Service CAN automatically collect data and present detailed insights about application dependencies and utilization. AWS Migration Hub can automate the planning and tracking of migrations across several AWS and partner tools.
  • Data governance and compliance—determine your objectives for data governance and compliance and apply suitable controls to avoid risks. You can use AWS Management and Governance services to maintain governance and control compliance, security, and cost.
  • Security concerns—define security concerns and apply suitable controls. You can use AWS Landing Zone to set up a secure, multi-account AWS environment as the initial security baseline for core accounts and resources.

Migrate and Modernize

This phase involves designing, migrating, and validating each application. Here are several tools you can use during this phase:

  • AWS Application Migration Service (MGN)—this tool can help you quickly rehost many servers from virtual, cloud, or physical infrastructure to AWS. This solution automatically converts source servers to run natively on AWS and allows using the same automated process for various applications.
  • AWS Database Migration Service (DMS)—when you migrate from one database to a new platform or software version, DMS ensures the source database is fully operational during the migration and minimizes downtime to applications relying on it.
  • AWS Server Migration Service—this agentless service enables you to easily and quickly migrate many on-premises workloads to AWS from a snapshot of an existing server. AWS Server Migration Service.
  • AWS Snow—a family of solutions that include AWS Snowball, AWS Snowmobile, and AWS Snowcone, offering physical devices and various capacity points for secure transfers of large amounts of data from on-premises locations to AWS data centers.
  • AWS DataSync—automates data shifting between on-premises storage and various AWS storage services, such as Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), Amazon FSx for Windows File Server, and Amazon Elastic File System (EFS).
  • AWS Service Catalog—enables you to create and manage catalogs of the IT services approved for use on AWS, including servers, virtual machine (VM) images, databases, and software. Use it to centrally manage commonly deployed IT services, achieve consistent governance, and meet compliance requirements.


In this article, I explained the basics of cloud migration and the process to migrate to AWS:

  • Assess—Involves identifying the desired business outcomes and creating a business case for migration.
  • Mobilize—Involves creating a migration plan and refining the organization’s business case.
  • Migrate and Modernize—Involves designing, migrating, and validating each application.

I hope this will be useful as you plan your migration to the AWS cloud.

Author Bio: Gilad David Maayan

Gilad David Maayan is a technology writer who has worked with over 150 technology companies including SAP (News - Alert), 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.

LinkedIn (News - Alert): https://www.linkedin.com/in/giladdavidmaayan/

Get stories like this delivered straight to your inbox. [Free eNews Subscription]