Cloud migrations require careful planning and thorough preparation. There are many factors to consider and details to get right. Taking the wrong migration approach can hurt IT performance, and choosing the wrong cloud platform can leave major growth opportunities on the table.

That’s why it’s important to think hard about your cloud migration strategy. Who you work with, what you migrate, and how you do it will impact outcomes for years to come. In this post, we discuss the most popular migration strategies that IT leaders are using today. We also highlight the AWS Migration Acceleration Program (MAP) program and explain why working with a third-party migration expert is valuable.

The 7 Cloud Migration “Rs”

Migrations can be overwhelming, especially for teams that haven’t experienced one before. Fortunately, the process of migrating to a platform like AWS is one that countless organizations have gone through successfully. As a result, we have a firm understanding of the main migration approaches that make migrations work.

In general, there are 7 migration strategies – the 7 “Rs”:

  • Rehost
  • Replatform
  • Refactor
  • Repurchase
  • Relocate
  • Retain
  • Retire

Rehosting is when teams “lift and shift” existing IT infrastructure from on-prem to the cloud. Rehosting doesn’t involve any modernization. Organizations keep what they had before and simply move it to a cloud environment.

Relocating refers to a hypervisor-level lift and shift in which enterprises move infrastructure to the cloud but don’t purchase any hardware, modify operations, or update application code.

Replatforming is similar to rehosting but includes another step. Replatforming describes when organizations move their infrastructure to the cloud and move data into a managed service, like Amazon Aurora.

Refactoring involves reimagining and optimizing legacy infrastructure to perform well on the cloud. Refactoring is more complex than rehosting, relocating, and replatforming, but it results in better performance.

Repurchasing in the cloud migration world means replacing perpetual licenses with software-as-a-service solutions. Repurchasing gives organizations a chance to adopt more flexible payment models and take advantage of cloud solutions on an as-needed basis.

Retaining is less a strategy and more a decision to stick with what already exists. It’s common for leaders to delay migrations or hold off on moving to the cloud until all the pieces are in place. In other words, they retain what they had before.

Retiring is when organizations sunset or wind down legacy applications rather than move them to the cloud. This is a reasonable option for teams that realize they don’t need certain functionality or capabilities anymore.

There are many migration paths leaders can take and no one-size-fits-all answer. That’s why AWS decided to launch a program to guide teams through the migration journey from start to finish.

What is the AWS Migration Acceleration Program?

AWS created its Migration Acceleration Program (MAP) to help companies accelerate the migration process, reduce costs, and address potential risks. AWS MAP uses a proven three-phase framework – Assess, Mobilize, and Migrate.

The Assess phase is when companies determine their migration readiness and identify capability gaps. This phase also involves building a total cost of ownership (TCO) model for estimating before and after migration costs.

The Mobilize phase is designed to address gaps identified during the Assess phase and build a foundation for a future migration. This phase is crucial, as it forces teams to define their goals clearly. What makes this easier is that AWS offers a robust selection of services that correspond to use cases.

For example, organizations can use the AWS Application Migration Service, AWS Database Migration Service, and the AWS Migration Hub. Once on the cloud, teams can pursue innovation using powerful technologies, like machine learning and the IoT, to build game-changing applications for the modern world. Having these use cases in mind early is critical.

The Migrate phase describes the actual execution of the plan that was developed during the Mobilize phase. The Migrate phase may incorporate modernization work as well for organizations that want to do more than a variation of a lift-and-shift approach.

Even with AWS MAP, it can still be useful to partner with a cloud migration expert that knows how to lead organizations through these three phases. AWS offers the tools and resources to be successful, but it’s often helpful to have an experienced migration partner decide exactly what to leverage to minimize wasted time and effort. That’s where ClearScale comes in.

Develop Your Cloud Migration Strategy with ClearScale

ClearScale is an AWS Premier Tier Services Partner with a long track record of migration success. We’ve earned 11 AWS competencies, including the Migration competency for our long history of migrating organizations to the AWS cloud.

Our migration experience extends across many industries and applies to organizations all over the world. For instance, we worked with a FinTech company that wanted to move from Azure to AWS. The project needed to get done on an aggressive timeline. The client’s leadership team also wanted us to implement the latest cloud best practices.

We executed the migration successfully, implementing key AWS solutions, like AWS Elastic Kubernetes Services (EKS) and Amazon Aurora along the way. As a result, the client improved the availability, scalability, and efficiency of its IT infrastructure and is better able to meet the growing expectations of its customers.

At ClearScale, we have countless stories like this one of how our AWS migration knowledge leads to tangible results for clients. If you’re considering a cloud migration and want to develop your cloud migration strategy, we’d love to help. The first step is to tell us more about what you are trying to accomplish. Schedule a call with one of our AWS migration experts here to get the process started.

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