AWS Cloud Migration Guide | Choosing AWS for Your Migration Strategy

AWS Cloud Migration Guide | Choosing AWS for Your Migration Strategy

Take a look at AWS cloud migration essentials, milestones and pitfalls. Moving to the cloud is almost always a value-driven decision for a business. To make your business more efficient using the cloud, you need to have a deep understanding of the opportunities it can provide, and to follow a clear strategy every at step of the project.

What is AWS Cloud Migration

AWS cloud migration is the process of moving your on-premise infrastructure to the cloud platform provided by Amazon Web Services. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is currently a leading cloud solutions provider, and each of its platforms and services can be perfectly tailored to diverse business needs. AWS cloud migration may also mean moving your apps and other business components from one cloud platform to AWS or partial migration from on-premise hosting to Amazon.

Why Companies Choose AWS for Cloud Migration

On-premise to AWS cloud migration has several essential benefits for companies, including:

  • Ease of getting started, especially if you have a reliable cloud migration vendor nearby. What’s more, Amazon stands for top-notch customer service and experience, and they provide you with AWS cloud migration plan templates, guides and consultations.
  • Cost-savings and resource optimization. The opportunity to save costs and use the computing power more smartly is the top goal companies pursue when deciding on AWS cloud migration. First, there are several pricing plans that you can perfectly tailor to your current business needs, taking your business growth strategy into account. Second, Amazon offers a wide range of tools and solutions you can utilize and customize according to your business needs to achieve better efficiency and resource optimization.
  • Free Tier opportunity. Many companies find migration to AWS a step worth taking since Amazon provides a Free Tier opportunity. Despite its name, it is not actually free, but it is still more affordable compared to other basic pricing plans. With Free Tier, you can migrate some of your processes to the cloud and evaluate how they might work at a more reasonable cost.
  • Great flexibility. Managing your workflow from the cloud is an opportunity to stay flexible and scale your cloud data management along with your business growth.
  • Enhanced security. Migrating your existing applications to the AWS cloud is a way to achieve better security, which is the responsibility of Amazon. The company also provides you with disaster recovery solutions, data backup and helps with staying compliant.

AWS Cloud Migration Phases

AWS cloud migration takes place in three phases:

  1. Pre-migration. A preparatory phase that begins with developing an AWS migration plan. At this stage, you create your business goals, research a cloud service provider (for example, you can compare AWS with Heroku and Microsoft Azure), and you need to evaluate the amount of data you have to transfer. You should also start forecasting pre-migration costs, which at this stage will be mainly spent on consultations with vendors, trying and comparing different cloud vendors, their offerings and pricing. Some companies also come up with a Proof of Concept to make sure their data migration project is viable enough to meet their business goals.
  2. Migration. It is the phase of AWS cloud migration itself. At this stage, you have to migrate your data, set up the new infrastructure, and set up the new system according to your business requirements while making sure you are staying compliant. In terms of costs, this is the most expensive stage of cloud migration.
  3. Post-migration. At this stage of post-migration AWS, you have to maintain your system, administrate, update and monitor it, plus teach your staff to work with the new technology effectively.

AWS Application Migration Strategies List

Depending on your business goals, the amount and quality of data, and the technical condition of your existing system, you can choose from six AWS migration strategies.

AWS Migration StrategyDescriptionCloud Migration BenefitsAWS Migration ChallengesWhen to use
1. Rehosting / Lift and Shift MigrationMoving your on-premises system to the AWS cloud without changes.
  • The entire systems are possible to transfer
  • Takes minimum time to migrate
  • No extra skills or processes required
  • Time / Money saving
  • May introduce performance, security and other problems affecting users
  • The workload is measured with particular cloud capabilities
  • Keeping old files or backups can be expensive
  • Suits for moving quickly to the cloud with significant savings in time and money
  • An option for adopters who wish to start using several cloud functions and improve other changes later.
2. Replatforming / Lift, Tinker, and Shift Migration

You have to make some code changes to make your existing system AWS-compatible, and then move it.

  • System availability and resilience increase
  • You can migrate system without code rewriting (saves time and money)
  • Possibility to choose the features to upgrade
  • Fixing issues can be more time- and money-consuming than in the Rehosting strategy
  • The migration requires rigorous monitoring and testing for issues to avoid future problems

If you wish to move to the cloud and you're aware of the AWS migration risks.

3. Repurchasing / Drop and Shop Migration

Moving from one system to another. Often it's a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution. For example, the migration from the old custom CRM to SalesForce, or from the self-written email system to Gmail.

  • Quick adoption of cloud solution
  • Costs saving
  • Advantages of cloud-native environment
  • The traditional license model is changed to the flexible subscription-based one (opportunity to save more costs)
  • The new environment requires team training
  • Cannot provide significant changes to the platform
  • The data exchange with the third-party service is under question
  • Security and other fixes can take time on the SaaS provider side
You don't want to build the custom system and use the ready-to-go solution instead.

4. Refactoring / Rearchitecting

Making significant changes to your existing system to make it cloud-transferrable, scalable and effective for your future business growth.

  • The most transformative, and future-proof AWS cloud migration strategy
  • Makes your system fully cloud-native with all the benefits (like serverless computing or AWS Autoscaling)
  • Possibility to use microservices to distribute the monolith application
  • The performance may be much higher than in on-premises case
  • In case of pivot, the resources are easy-to-repurpose
  • The most resource-intensive AWS cloud migration strategy
  • Thorough monitoring and testing for issues to avoid future problems is highly required
  • Staff training and high cloud expertise is necessary
You want to invest your resources to migrate to the high-capacitive cloud-native system for a long time
5. Retiring

You abandon the apps your business no longer needs and move only those that are potentially useful.

  • Passive migration strategy
  • Minimal costs, time and efforts required
  • You turn off unnecessary workloads - your performance grows
  • Can result in immediate cost savings

When performed prematurely, retiring strategy may cost extra efforts to fix performance issues. To avoid this, thorough pre-examination is required.

You have redundant processes, tools or solutions no longer required after AWS migration.
6. Retaining / Revisiting

Hybrid Cloud Strategy. You pick up the parts that are difficult to integrate into AWS infrastructure at the moment and plan to revisit and make decision on them later.

Reduce costs, time and efforts while not dealing with certain workloads. The decision to migrate at the moment may require many resources with no significant results in the end.

The longer you keep the on-premise solutions, the more resources may be spent.

  • There are some solutions that cannot migrate to the AWS Cloud.
  • There's no big difference whether you migrate them or not; the system works well either way

Challenges in AWS Cloud Migration

Keep in mind the following cloud migration checklist for AWS. It will help you avoid the top mistakes and costly pitfalls when moving your data to AWS.

  • Choosing the proper pricing model. AWS server migration services come with different pricing plans, so picking up the right one for your business and avoiding unobvious pitfalls is essential. For example, the most popular Pay as You Go pricing model seems to be the most flexible, but it can also become the most expensive one in the case of a sudden increase in workload. AWS Reserved Instances can be a good choice, but in this case, you have the risk of overpaying since you are charged for a certain amount of computing power even if you don’t use it.
  • Fitting the budget. Predicting the costs of cloud migration AWS is another challenge. You can mitigate this risk by partnering with a reliable data migration vendor and using an AWS pricing calculator.
  • Migration of legacy systems. Legacy systems are quite tricky since they often come with tech debt but are still responsible for the core business operations. In case of their migration, you have to pay even more attention to your data safety, plus let the legacy system work even after migration, since you will have to train your staff to manage the new one.

MORE ON TOPIC: The Guide to Data Migration | Types, Tools, Approaches, Challenges, Phases and Comparisons

AWS Cloud Migration Tools

There are several categories of AWS cloud migration tools, and each of them is useful at different stages of the cloud migration project.

  • Cloud provisioning tools. These are the core tools responsible for allocating and providing the cloud resources themselves. For example, AWS Cloud Formation is the platform that allows for gathering external and internal resources and controlling them from a single platform. With it, you can manage your cloud as a stack.
  • Operation management tools. This set of tools, as the name implies, simplifies workflows management within the cloud. For example, AWS Service Catalog is a tool that provides developers with the features for IT catalogs creation and management. It becomes especially useful when managing multi-architecture apps in the cloud.
  • Managed services. It is a set of services provided by Amazon for those in need of additional tech expertise when getting started with AWS. For example, AWS System Manager helps manage your Amazon EC2 and Amazon RDS instances from a single place. This set of features also includes cybersecurity, disaster recovery and compliance support.
  • Cost optimization tools. As the name implies, these platforms help control the ways you spend your cloud computing resources, and they may suggest tactics to optimize them and eliminate resource waste. For example, AWS Cost Explorer provides you with your spending trends in a visual format and predicts your costs for the next 12 months based on previous spending.


When done right, moving your system to Amazon AWS is a value-driven decision for your business. With its help, you can unlock cost-saving and scaling opportunities in partnership with a leading cloud service provider.

Migrating to AWS requires a competent approach, tech-savviness and the practical experience, that we have at Cprime Studios. Drop us a line to find out more AWS migration best practices for your data migration project!