More and more, organizations are replacing legacy, on-premises IT infrastructure with agile cloud-based architecture. Public cloud providers, like Amazon Web Services (AWS), have made it easier than ever to take advantage of powerful capabilities, such as predictive analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) / Machine Learning (ML), serverless computing, and more.

However, an application migration, no matter how mission-critical, requires careful planning and technical expertise. Getting every step of the migration journey right, from discovery to production, is difficult without a well-defined roadmap. Those who take the time to prepare can reduce operational risk and recoup their financial investment quickly.

Here, we discuss some of the most important things regarding how to migrate applications to AWS, and share strategies to help make your cloud migration journey a success.

Evaluating If You Are Ready to Migrate

Before moving any applications to the cloud, you need to understand your current migration readiness level. Many legacy applications aren’t designed for the cloud, which means they won’t work as intended on modern infrastructure.

Your first step in considering an application migration to AWS should be to conduct a Migration Readiness Assessment (MRA) according to the AWS Cloud Adoption Framework. Doing so will help you determine the cost of moving to the cloud and see if you can reduce costs, increase application resilience, and improve productivity in the cloud.

The framework helps you evaluate your migration readiness level on eight dimensions:

  • Landing zone
  • Operating model
  • Security
  • Compliance
  • Migration process experience
  • Skills & center of excellence
  • Migration plan
  • Business plan

By working through each of these areas, you will identify where you already possess strong capabilities and where you may have gaps across your infrastructure. After working through the framework, you are ready to move to the Migration Readiness & Planning phase.

Download our eBook Prepare and Plan for Your AWS Migration to learn more.

Building a Foundation for Application Migration

In the Migration Readiness & Planning (MRP) phase, you prepare a cloud operational foundation and develop an application migration roadmap based on a clear business case. The goals in this stage are to clarify what you hope to accomplish by migrating to the cloud.

Those who choose to work with AWS will collaborate with AWS Professional Services or a Migration Acceleration Program (MAP) partner, like ClearScale, to learn best practices for how to migrate applications to AWS. Along the way, you will calculate your current total cost of ownership (TCO), which will help determine your migration ROI. At the end of this phase, you will be ready for a large-scale move to the cloud.

The Seven Migration R’s

AWS uses seven “R” words to summarize the strategies organizations use to migrate legacy IT infrastructure. Some approaches are more complex than others. In general, there is no one-size-fits-all solution because every organization has unique needs and goals.

Below is a quick rundown of each strategy:

  • Relocate: involves moving virtualized applications on vSphere to the cloud
  • Rehost (“lift-and-shift”): involves moving existing applications to the cloud without any optimization or re-architecting work
  • Replatform (“lift-and-reshape”): involves making minor changes to applications in the process of migrating without changing core architecture
  • Repurchase (“drop-and-shop”): involves purchasing upgrades or new solutions entirely
  • Refactor: involves rearchitecting applications for the cloud to improve performance and meet specific business objectives
  • Retain: involves leaving applications that are not migration-ready as they are
  • Retire: involves decommissioning applications that are no longer needed

The vast majority of organizations choose to rehost or replatform, although not every organization has to follow one of these strategies. Furthermore, it can be helpful to disaggregate migrations from modernizations if doing both at the same time is too complex. Ultimately, the right decision depends on your timeline, goals, and business requirements.

Are you prepared for your cloud migration?

Learn More About How to Migrate Applications to AWS

ClearScale provides cloud migration services that have guided numerous organizations through the assessment, foundation building, and migration phases based on the AWS Cloud Adoption framework.

For example, our team helped Ebates, now known as Rakuten, design and migrate to a new cloud infrastructure with DevOps automation and container orchestration capabilities. Now, Ebates can implement fully automated, version-controlled configuration deployments and management through its entire development cycle.

We also recently teamed up with AWS for a webinar in which we dive deeply into the various application migration strategies described above. In the webinar, we lay the groundwork for how leaders should approach potential migration projects.

Then, Jonathan Trelles from AWS explores rehosting, replatforming, and refactoring in more depth and shares why an organization would choose one of those paths. He also covers best practices and specific AWS tools that help DevOps teams take full advantage of the AWS platform.

If you are considering migrating legacy applications to the cloud, watch our Application Migrations webinar on-demand and learn directly from some of the top solutions architects in the field.

On-Demand Webinar
Application Migrations: A Technical Deep Dive with AWS