AWS cloud migration:
Nearly everything you need to know

1 What is AWS cloud migration?

AWS cloud migration refers to moving your on-premise environment, private cloud, or other public cloud to AWS.

AWS cloud is the new normal in today’s IT industry. You could migrate applications, websites, databases, storage, and entire data centers to AWS. Many organizations adopt a hybrid cloud architecture, and integrate on-premise resources with AWS cloud resources.

45%

AWS leads the Infrastructure and Platform as a Service (IaaS and PaaS) cloud market with 45% global market share, as estimated by Gartner in 2019.

95%

Cloud data center traffic will represent 95% of global data center traffic by 2021. (Source: Cisco)

1/3

⅓ of people who visit websites daily access sites powered by AWS. (Source: Visual Capitalist)

2 Why migrate to AWS cloud?

Is AWS the right cloud platform for your organization? Here are some key reasons organizations choose to migrate to AWS after considering different cloud providers:

AWS helps you innovate faster

Building new services and products, and experimenting with ideas on your own can be expensive, time-consuming, and difficult. But without innovation, you risk falling behind the competition. 

Fortunately, you can innovate in a smart and easy way with the new services developed by AWS. When AWS takes care of the heavy lifting with infrastructure maintenance, you’re better able to focus on innovation. Whether you want to develop new products and services, enter a new market, or create a better customer experience, fast innovation helps you maximize your success. 

AWS is the largest cloud provider

AWS is by far the largest cloud provider, leading in market share and owning almost half of the world’s public cloud infrastructure market. The company began offering its technology infrastructure platform in 2006, and now over a million active customers use AWS in a range of ways. 

AWS has the largest server capacity compared to its competitors. Customers benefit from AWS leading the market, as increasing economies of scale allow AWS to reduce the pricing of computing and storage services and offer enterprise-scale features.

With its partner ecosystem, AWS has the most experience helping organizations of all shapes and sizes migrate different types of workloads to the cloud.  

AWS is an industry leader

AWS is a leader in Gartner’s Cloud Infrastructure & Platform Services Magic Quadrant for the 10th consecutive year. It has also placed highest in Ability to Execute and furthest in Completeness of Vision. 

Additionally, AWS has a high pace of innovation. It also has the industry’s broadest set of hybrid capabilities across storage, networking, security, application deployment, and management tools.

AWS helps you run your business in the most environmentally-friendly way

AWS is committed to achieving 100% renewable energy across the globe, and has several initiatives to improve its water use efficiency. In fact, AWS’s infrastructure is 3.6 times more energy efficient than the average U.S. enterprise data center, according to the results of a study by 451 Research. And AWS performs the same task as an enterprise data center with an 88% lower carbon footprint.

Enterprises today want to be seen as responsible and sustainable corporate citizens. By migrating to AWS, you take a step towards sustainable development and dramatically reduce the environmental footprint of your IT operations. 

3 AWS cloud migration costs & ROI

Before deciding to migrate to AWS cloud, you want to ensure it makes financial sense for your organization to do so. First identify the business case for migrating to AWS—in other words, what is your purpose for migrating to AWS cloud?

Then to calculate your cloud migration ROI, you’ll need to factor in all costs and returns. Your total AWS costs and ROI will vary depending on the scale of migration and how you get your applications to the cloud. Your costs include both the migration project as well as running AWS. And you might see returns through cost savings or expected business outcomes from being able to serve customers faster and better. 

Calculating the total cost of ownership (TCO) helps organizations better understand all costs included in the AWS migration. A TCO analysis usually entails assessing your current spend in running and maintaining IT assets, and comparing that with the total cost of migrating to and operating on AWS over a specified timespan.

Next, we’ll break down the different possible migration scenarios and strategies for migrating to AWS.

4 Top 3 possible AWS cloud migration scenarios

Do you want to extend your current on-prem footprint to the cloud, or vacate the on-prem and move on to the cloud?

There are many wonderful reasons to migrate to AWS. Below, we outline three scenarios we most often hear our customers talk about. A migration project can include all of the scenarios described below, or just some of them.

A migration strategy is then applied to individual applications and databases to figure out how the migration should be carried out.

1. Data migration

Move your existing on-premises data to a new AWS cloud storage location in batches, increments, and streams. 

You can also integrate your on-premises resources with cloud resources for a hybrid cloud architecture. This hybrid approach is necessary for many companies with on-premises technology investments. Migrating to AWS in this way makes it easy to integrate the cloud with your existing investments. 

And if you're using VMware Cloud on your on-premises infrastructure, you can get a smooth extension to your current environment using VMware Cloud on AWS solution.

AWS also offers different backup and disaster recovery methods, so you can combine your cloud migration with business continuity planning (BCP).

2. Application migration

Moving your applications to AWS cloud allows you to modernize your current IT infrastructure. There are different types of applications, including, for example, a typical 3-tier web application, a nightly batch process, and a more complex backend processing workflow. Each application type requires a bit of a different approach and strategy when migrating. Some types are more suitable for re-platforming, while others are ideal for refactoring.

3. Platform and capabilities modernization

One driver for cloud migration is to move from running your infrastructure on your own to consuming platform services. This can be the case for a few different reasons. 

First, this enables you to avoid spending time and costs on infrastructure operations. At the same time, you can focus your specialists’ time and effort on business-centric outcomes rather than on repetitive maintenance tasks. In this case, the responsibility for the service level and high availability of those services are on AWS—not on you.

Secondly, this can be used for services that are able to scale infinitely up as well as infinitely down. Platform services that are consumed through a pay-per-use model don’t carry as many overhead costs as the normal infrastructure does.

Thirdly, this approach can be used to foster innovation and agility. You can use high abstraction level services, such as AI and machine learning enabled platform security services, which would be very complex and costly to build by yourself.

5 Most common AWS cloud migration strategies: The 6 Rs

Organizations typically migrate their applications to AWS cloud using one of Amazon’s six strategies, originally from the 5 Rs outlined by Gartner. Each approach requires different time and cost investments, and offers different levels of business value after the initial migration has been concluded. 

Around 70% of the cases have the chosen strategy for specific workload’s migration as rehosting and replatforming, as shown in the table below. The other outlined strategies are far more uncommon.

1. Rehosting

The rehosting strategy is also known as the “lift and shift.” You transfer all your assets from your data center as is to the cloud with as few modifications as possible. This is especially useful when there are time constraints for the migration. In such cases, rehosting can be a sensible choice when rapidly vacating your own or a hosting provider’s datacenter. It may be easier to optimize your cloud real estate using other strategies without a time pressure. 

While this option is straightforward and can be completed quickly, it won’t save you that much money in the long-term. And you won’t experience the many benefits of cloud like faster innovation, improved elasticity, and scalability.

2. Replatforming

Replatforming is also referred to as the “lift-tinker-and-shift.” This strategy is similar to rehosting, but you’ll make cloud optimizations and improve the cloud architecture in order to take better advantage of the cloud. For example, you might use Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) instead of a self-maintained database. 

3. Repurchasing

This strategy is also known as a “drop and shop.” It’s essentially a purchase model or acquisition model change. Repurchasing involves shutting down your existing applications and acquiring a new service or moving to a new product, often to a SaaS platform.

4. Refactoring/re-architecting

With this strategy, you change the way your applications are architected and developed, typically using cloud-native features. 

Refactoring or re-architecting is driven by a strong business need to scale, add new features, and improve performance, agility, and business continuity, which wouldn’t be possible in the current application environment. While the cost of re-architecting is higher, the running cost can be extremely low. This strategy can help you see the biggest cloud benefits. 

5. Retire

This strategy involves making the business decision to shut down existing services and IT assets that are no longer useful. It requires significant involvement from business decision makers. A key reason to shut down redundant applications is to achieve cost savings. 

Additionally, during the migration assessment phase, you might identify workloads that no one even uses any more, but forgot to terminate. This strategy is a natural choice for these findings.

6. Retain

This option refers to doing nothing for now, and revisiting later. If it doesn’t make business sense to migrate certain applications, then you stick with your current situation. 

This might be the right choice if your organization is heavily invested in the on-premise applications, if you require your data to be on premise due to strict compliance regulations, or for other reasons. But as you move more of your applications to the cloud, you’ll be less likely to retain. 

6 How a successful AWS cloud migration is done

What exactly does a smooth AWS cloud migration look like? An authorized AWS migration partner will always plan a migration project together with you, starting from business case calculation and ending in a detailed implementation and switchover plan. 

With a well-planned and executed migration project, all relevant parties are informed and system downtime is kept minimal.

The three phases of a successful AWS cloud migration project

Migrating to AWS generally happens in three key phases:

Phase 1: Migration assessment

AWS migration involves a cultural shift and a lot of time and energy from your IT teams. So naturally, before migrating, you want to ensure your organization is ready to operate in the cloud. At the beginning of your cloud journey, identify your business case for migrating to AWS and the outcomes you’re setting out to achieve. 

When working with an AWS partner, they will assess your organization's infrastructure, workloads, applications, and services to understand your current readiness for cloud adoption. They’ll also consider your organizational capabilities including skills and culture. 

This assessment phase helps ensure that your cloud environment will suit your organization’s specific needs. It’s heavily influenced by the AWS Cloud Adoption Framework, which is divided into six perspectives including: business, people, governance, platform, security, and operations. 

Helping MTV leverage cloud computing with an AWS migration

Before migrating to AWS, MTV’s traditional data setup was not optimal for fast development, and the system was labor-intensive to maintain. After deeply analyzing and assessing MTV’s infrastructure and application architecture, we were able to identify suitable targets for migration, and refactor and replatform the system running on-premise.

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Phase 2: Mobilization 

During the mobilization phase, your AWS partner will help you create a detailed implementation and migration plan. In other words, you’ll plan what to migrate, when to migrate, and how to migrate. Different teams within your organization must work closely together and be aligned during this phase. 

Together with your AWS partner, you’ll address any obstacles in the way of a successful cloud migration that were found during the first assessment phase. The planning process involves evaluating possible migration strategies that will meet your business objectives. 

Phase 3: Migrations and modernizations 

As part of this final phase, your AWS partner works with you to complete the migrations and modernizations of your applications in order for your organization to see all the cloud benefits. 

You’ll shut down old systems and constantly improve your processes and technology as you migrate additional applications. Many organizations also choose to get managed services support from an AWS partner—including ongoing management of their cloud environment—so that they can focus on their core business and improve their cloud skills. 

Migrating Oracle databases to AWS

We helped Alma Talent migrate Oracle 11gR2 On-Premise databases (DEV and PROD) to AWS RDS Oracle 12cR1 databases in a smooth and efficient way. Through this AWS migration, Alma Talent achieved high availability, and they can now easily make AWS setup changes and quickly harness new resources when needed.

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7 Top AWS cloud migration challenges and how to overcome them

Certain challenges are bound to come up during your AWS cloud migration journey. Be ready to tackle the following common cloud migration challenges:

Moving on-premise data to AWS

Transferring a lot of data over the internet can be a cumbersome task—migrating legacy systems to AWS is one of the biggest challenges companies face. Many companies choose to start with a hybrid cloud solution, using both the legacy system and new cloud applications. Over time, they can move entire applications to the cloud. 

Ensuring security and compliance during the migration

Many companies worry about security and compliance when migrating to the cloud. Privacy and data security are naturally of the utmost importance. However, AWS offers industry-compliant services and resources that are safer than on-premises, according to most security leaders. Enterprises, educational institutions, and governmental agencies trust AWS with their highly sensitive information.

AWS is continually adapting to cloud-related regulatory requirements. You can see compliance reports issued by third-party auditors who have tested and verified AWS’s compliance with a wide range of security standards and regulations in AWS Artifact—a central resource for compliance-related information

Training your employees on AWS cloud

You need to ensure your key AWS users hone their skills through training, learning, and experimentation. Without the right training and support, they’ll be less likely to adopt cloud applications.

A strong onboarding program will align your AWS users on the benefits of cloud and how to use it within your organization. Getting AWS experts to work alongside and support your employees can help speed up your cloud adoption process and make the transition easier for everyone involved. 

Managing change for successful cloud adoption 

Moving to a cloud native environment is a big change for many organizations. It disrupts the current ways of working and brings about new processes and systems—and people generally resist change. 

The solution? Have executive-level sponsorship to ensure organization-wide buy-in. When cloud migration is backed by an executive sponsor, your organization will be more committed to the project and engaged in the process. Leadership needs to understand the business case for migrating to the cloud, and communicate this to the entire organization. It’s crucial for business and IT to be aligned on the purpose, impacts, and costs of AWS cloud migration. 

Avoiding pitfalls and managing risks

One of the main risks with migrating to the cloud is not really knowing what you’re doing. If you don’t lay a solid foundation for your AWS migration, you will later realize that you’re hampered by your poor choices. This would result in delays, and not realizing the long-term benefits of cloud. To avoid this pitfall, make sure to get input from AWS migration professionals. 

Additionally, understanding the shared responsibility model is key so that it’s clear who is responsible for what layer of the platform. Generally speaking, clients are responsible for their data and implementations and for ensuring these correspond to their business continuity requirements. If the approach needs further re-architecting, it is then your own responsibility. 

8 Working with an AWS partner

Why work with an AWS partner for cloud migration?

With so many factors to consider during a cloud migration, many companies don’t feel equipped to manage it completely on their own. Instead, they choose to work with an AWS partner for the following main reasons:

Gain the needed AWS expertise 

Although almost all organizations are moving some applications to the cloud, most don’t have cloud migration expertise in house. In fact, a lack of cybersecurity skills is what’s slowing migration for 40% of IT professionals, according to a report by McAfee. 

To get those crucial cloud skills, many companies choose to work with AWS experts instead of hiring new employees. This way, you get the deep AWS skills and knowledge you need without having to make big investments in people or equipment. 

Know which migration methodology is right for your organization 

Knowing what to move to the cloud is crucial for a successful AWS migration. But once again, you need the in-depth AWS knowledge to make an informed decision.

An AWS partner will advise you on what migration methodology is best for your organization. Based on their extensive experience helping other companies migrate to the cloud, they know what’s needed to succeed. They’ll work together with you to ensure you start your cloud journey off on the right foot.

Mitigate cloud migration costs 

Since many companies don’t have cloud migration expertise in-house, it would be an extremely expensive and slow process for them to start acquiring that knowledge. Working with a partner who already has this cloud knowledge and expertise can help you mitigate AWS migration costs. Plus you may be eligible for some financial support from AWS if certain conditions are met. Check with your AWS partner—they’ll be happy to map out your different available funding opportunities. 

How can you choose the right AWS partner for your organization?

Working with an AWS partner for cloud migration is a smart choice. But with many different AWS partners out there, how can you choose the right one for your unique situation? 

You at least want an AWS partner that has achieved the AWS Migration Competency, which demonstrates its capabilities and professionalism in migrating customers’ workloads to AWS. In addition to that, consider the following factors:

Prioritize a close and transparent cooperation

You want to be on good terms with the people you’re trusting to help you migrate to AWS, and potentially also run your business-critical operations. When considering different partners, make sure you have good chemistry with the AWS experts. Your development team will be working side by side with your partner’s AWS specialists, so you want to ensure they feel good about the partnership. 

You also want to make sure you can easily reach their AWS experts whenever you have a question. Your AWS partner should take a proactive approach to your cooperation and be readily available to help you solve any complex problems. 

At Cybercom, we believe that the relationships you have with your AWS partner are the key for your organization’s success. We know you’re putting a lot of trust in us when you choose us as your partner, and we aim to keep our cooperation close, transparent, and collaborative. In fact, trust is one of our core values, along with passion and innovation. 

Consider the partner’s AWS skills & experience

The partner you choose should have deep AWS knowledge and expertise, and really know what they’re doing. Find out how much AWS experience your potential partner has, and whether they’ve worked with companies like yours before.

You can also consider how active they are in the AWS community, and whether the partner team actively renews and certifies their skills. Since the AWS cloud platform expands daily, you want your partner to be fully up to speed with the latest developments. One of the benefits of working with an AWS partner is having the most up-to-date AWS information and news.

Find an AWS partner that can grow with you 

Migrating to AWS is one of the first steps of your cloud journey. You might also choose to get help from a partner to run and secure your cloud operations. Will your AWS partner be able to grow with you? They should work with you if you want to upgrade to a higher service level, and as your need for new technologies increases. 

9 Your AWS cloud migration checklist

Assess
  • Clarify your business goals for migrating to AWS
  • Confirm the purpose of your AWS cloud migration, and the cloud migration scenario and strategy that best suits your organization’s needs
Mobilize  
  • Prepare for the cloud migration phases
  • Calculate the costs and ROI of cloud migration 
Modernize 
  • Find a partner who will support your cloud migration journey and grow with you
  • Realize the long-term benefits of using the cloud paradigm to the fullest


Want to find out more about AWS cloud migration? Check out the following resources:

 

And feel free to connect with us to hear more.