AWS Architecture Blog

Accelerating your Migration to AWS

The key to a successful migration to AWS is a well thought out plan, informative tools, prior migration experience, and quality implementation. In this blog, we will share best practices for planning and accelerating your migration. We will discuss two key concepts of a migration: Portfolio Assessment and Migration. So, let’s get started.

Figure 1. AWS recommended tools for migration

Figure 1. AWS recommended tools for migration

Portfolio Assessment

The Portfolio Assessment is the first step. AWS tools help you assess and make informed business and technical decisions quickly. This is a critical first step on your journey that will define benefits, provide insights, and help you track your progress.

Build a business case with AWS Migration Evaluator

The foundation for a successful migration starts with a defined business objective (for example, growth or new offerings). In order to enable the business drivers, the established business case must then be aligned to a technical capability (increased security and elasticity). AWS Migration Evaluator (formerly known as TSO Logic) can help you meet these objectives.

To get started, you can choose to upload exports from third-party tools such as Configuration Management Database (CMDB) or install a collector agent to monitor. You will receive an assessment after data collection, which includes a projected cost estimate and savings of running your on-premises workloads in the AWS Cloud. This estimate will provide a summary of the projected costs to re-host on AWS based on usage patterns. It will show the breakdown of costs by infrastructure and software licenses. With this information, you can make the business case and plan next steps.

Discover more details with ADS

AWS Application Discovery Service (ADS) is the next step in your journey. ADS will discover on-premises or other hosted infrastructure. This includes details such as server hostnames, IP and MAC addresses, resource allocation, and utilization details of key resources.

It is important to know how your infrastructure interacts with other servers. ADS will identify server dependencies by recording inbound and outbound network activity for each server. ADS will provide details on server performance. It captures performance information about applications and processes by measuring metrics such as host CPU, memory, and disk utilization. It also will allow you to search in Amazon Athena with predefined queries.

You can use the AWS Application Discovery Service to discover your on-premises servers and plan your migrations at no charge.

Plan and manage with AWS Migration Hub

Now that your discovery data has been collected, it’s time to use AWS Migration Hub. AWS Migration Hub automatically processes the data from ADS and other sources. It assists with portfolio assessment and migration planning to help determine the ideal application migration path.

AWS Migration Hub provides a single location to visualize and track the progress of application migrations. AWS Migration Hub provides key metrics on individual applications, giving you visibility into the status of migrations.

Now that we have a view into the portfolio progress, we can begin the Migration phase.

Migration – Accelerating with AWS recommended tools

Migration can begin when you have completed your Portfolio Assessment. You can use AWS recommended tools to accelerate the process in a flexible, automated, and reliable manner.

Rehost with AWS Application Migration Service (MGN)

One approach to migration is known as rehosting (lift-and-shift). It is the most common approach, and uses AWS-recommended tools to automate the process. Rehosting takes an operating system that’s running the application and moves it from the existing hypervisor and rehosts it onto Amazon EC2.

AWS Application Migration Service (MGN) provides nearly continuous block-level replication of on-premises source servers to a staging area in your designated AWS Account. It is designed for rapid, mass-scale migrations. AWS MGN minimizes the previous time-intensive and error-prone manual processes. It automatically converts your source servers from physical, virtual, or cloud infrastructure to run natively on AWS. After confirming that your launched instances are operating properly on AWS, you can decommission your source servers. You can then choose to modernize your applications by leveraging additional AWS services and capabilities.

For each source server that you want to migrate, you can use AWS MGN for a free period of 2,160 hours. If used continuously, this would last about 90 days. Most customers complete migrations of servers within the allotted free period.

Replatform with AWS App2container

Some of your workloads won’t require a full server migration, such as moving web applications.

AWS App2Container allows you to containerize your existing applications and standardize a single set of tooling for monitoring, operations, and software delivery. Containerization allows you to unify infrastructure and skill sets needed to operate your applications, saving on both infrastructure and training costs. AWS App2Container (A2C) is a tool for replatforming .NET and Java web-based applications directly into containers.

In this case, you select the application you want to containerize. Then, A2C packages the application artifact and identified dependencies into container images, configures the network ports, and generates the needed definitions. A2C provisions the cloud infrastructure and CI/CD pipelines required to deploy the containerized application into production. With A2C, you can modernize your existing applications and standardize the deployment and operations through containers.

App2container is a free offering, though you will be charged for AWS resources created by the service.

Replatform and synchronize data with AWS Database Migration Service

In many cases, you must move on-premises databases to AWS. Moving large amounts of data and synchronizing to another location can be a real challenge, requiring custom or expensive vendor-specific tooling.

There are two great use cases for AWS Database Migration Service (DMS).

  1. Customers may want to migrate to Amazon RDS databases and/or change from one platform to another, for example, from Oracle to Postgres.
  2. Customers may want to migrate to EC2-hosted databases.

DMS migrates and synchronizes databases to AWS quickly and securely. The source (on-premises) database remains fully operational during the migration, minimizing downtime until you are ready to cut over. DMS supports most open source and commercial databases.

DMS is free for six months when migrating to Amazon Aurora, Amazon Redshift, Amazon DynamoDB, or Amazon DocumentDB (with MongoDB compatibility).


This post illustrates some of the AWS tooling in addition to offering some recommendations on accelerating your migration journey. It is important to keep in mind that every customer portfolio and application requirements are unique. Therefore, it’s essential to validate and review any migration plans with business and application owners. With the right planning, engagement, and implementation, you should have a smooth and rapid journey to AWS.

If you have any questions, post your thoughts in the comments section.

For further reading:

John O'Donnell

John O'Donnell

John O’Donnell is a Senior Solution Architect and is the Northeast Migration Ambassador as well as the HCLS Industry SA Region SME. John spent the previous three years in AWS Professional Services (ProServe), where he had the opportunity to guide the cloud journey at Vanguard (Malvern, PA).

Pratik Chunawala

Pratik Chunawala

Pratik Chunawala is a Principal Cloud Architect at AWS Professional Services. Pratik leads global large scale migrations and modernizations. He works with global customers and executives to streamline planning and performing migrations at scale to optimize costs with scaled data enter exits. Outside of work, Pratik delivers guest lectures at Carnegie Mellon University and serves as male ally at NYU’s Alumnae council for women in STEM, talking to students about cloud security, secure migrations, and industry use cases.