Top 5 Tips for AWS Migration

Tom Ray 22nd August 2014

Success in AWS is not only having your application run, it’s also operating it optimally – delivering the right performance at the right cost. It requires some new skills and a different approach. Having worked with Cloudreach for 4 years and used AWS for some time before that, I have lead, contributed to and supported many migrations of enterprise applications to AWS.

Here’s my top 5:

1) Get skilled up or grab the right partner

Use a focused partner like Cloudreach or lean on your AWS account manager for training to unlock the massive potential of AWS. I used to present a slide [2009] on the “future of IT” to prospective clients where “old school” professional services businesses who sold you your applications, faded away as they struggled with the changing economics. It’s in Cloudreach DNA, we don’t put ‘private’ and ‘public’ Cloud in the same sentence!

2) Know your stats

As an IT Manager, I know my rule of thumb was always purchase 60-80% above my current demand. I knew that I could upgrade my kit and it provided an insurance policy if I or my application vendor got the maths wrong. Working in AWS is different, You are incentivised to know your numbers, CPU, memory, IOPS and network demands – fine tune your stack eek out the right performance and adjust your build to get it right. You can upgrade an AWS instance in minutes, if you try doing that onprem in your private cloud – good luck.

3) Keep the end game in mind

With all the new features available in AWS, it’s easy to let your scope run away. Keep your focus, get your application into AWS, perhaps a conversion tool like Racemi [on-prem to AWS] can get the job done in phase 1? Once in iterate from there, you can decouple aspects of your application and gain from the benefits of being in AWS e.g. using RDS for Oracle or MS-SQL. In other cases, we’ve gone back to ground zero and completely redesigned architecture in AWS as the end game was to gain from repeatable templates and improved test / dev > live processes. AWS is an amazing tool kit – just remember what the business needs.

4) Plan ahead

Running AWS migration projects such as migrating applications or even data centers into AWS, requires planning, of course it does. The point here is there are new aspects to your project plan, which while on-prem didn’t exist or become obsolete. By way of example, I would always work out how you’ll manage your AWS costs, billing and optimisation in advance – retro fitting your processes is a time consuming business plus you miss out on some of the benefits of reducing your spend. You’ll be happy to hear though, that while there are some new additions you can kiss goodbye to (i) long delays to provision new kit (ii) faulty hardware (iii) big capex (iv) capacity problems – shall I go on?

5) Embrace the change, it’s a Journey

I remember the first small DR project I signed off to move to AWS, it was 2009. It felt like a big step back then, these days I wouldn’t hesitate to move lock stock and barrel. It take a moment of ‘ah I get it’, the penny drops. Moving to public cloud, is a journey. Over time you’ll gain confidence and move with greater speed and agility into AWS. Embrace it, don’t get left behind. You’ll never look back.

Keep it Cloudy.

I’m off to work on a new 1000 server data center migration to AWS. Happy days.