Mastering AWS Cloud Migration: Strategies and Services Revealed

Mastering AWS Cloud Migration: Strategies and Services Revealed

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. AWS Migration Tools
  3. Application Discovery Service
  4. Migration Service
  5. Database Migration Service
  6. Data Sync
  7. The Seven R's of Migration
    • Retire
    • Retain
    • Relocate
    • Re-host
    • Repurchase
    • Re-platform
    • Refactor
  8. Re-hosting with AWS MGN
  9. Re-platforming with Database Migration Service
  10. Refactoring to a Cloud-Native Architecture
  11. Conclusion

AWS Migration Tools: An Overview

In this article, we will provide a comprehensive overview of the AWS migration tools available for migrating infrastructure, applications, and data to the AWS cloud. We will explore the various tools offered by AWS and discuss their functionalities and use cases. Additionally, we will delve into the seven R's of migration, a framework used to categorize how different systems and applications are treated during the migration process.


Migrating infrastructure, applications, and data to the AWS cloud is a complex process that requires careful planning and the use of appropriate tools. AWS provides a range of migration tools that cater to different migration scenarios and requirements. Understanding these tools and their functionalities is essential for successfully migrating to AWS and leveraging the benefits of the cloud.

AWS Migration Tools

Before diving into the details of the migration process, let's take a look at some of the essential AWS migration tools available:

  1. Application Discovery Service: This tool helps in discovering applications and gathering information about them, providing an inventory of data that is crucial for the migration process.

  2. Migration Service: The Application Migration Service allows the migration of servers or virtual machines into AWS, which can be further migrated into EC2 instances.

  3. Database Migration Service: This tool is used for migrating databases from on-premises to AWS, supporting popular database systems such as Oracle, SQL, and MySQL. The Schema Conversion Tool is often utilized in conjunction with the Database Migration Service.

  4. Data Sync: Data Sync is a service designed to migrate data from NAS servers or file servers to various AWS destinations, including the EFS file system, Amazon S3, and Amazon FSx.

The Seven R's of Migration

The seven R's of migration is a framework that categorizes how different systems, servers, and applications are treated during the migration process. These categories determine the actions taken with each application during the migration. The seven R's are as follows:

1. Retire

The first R involves identifying applications that are no longer required and can be retired. These applications can be safely shut down and removed from the migration scope, reducing complexity and cost.

2. Retain

Some applications are better off left as they are, without any migration or modifications. This is the retain category, where the applications remain in the on-premises data center or are maintained without significant changes.

3. Relocate

Relocation, also known as lift and shift, involves moving applications or systems without any modifications. This is commonly seen when migrating between on-premises data centers, where systems are physically moved from one location to another without any significant changes.

4. Re-host

Re-hosting refers to the migration of the operating system and application from the on-premises data center to AWS. This often involves migrating virtual machines from VMware or Hyper-V to Amazon EC2. While some changes may be required, the focus is primarily on lifting and shifting the existing infrastructure.

5. Repurchase

Repurchasing involves replacing an existing application with a different solution, typically a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offering. This approach allows organizations to leverage the benefits of cloud-based solutions without the need for extensive infrastructure management.

6. Re-platform

Re-platforming entails moving an application to a new platform within the AWS environment. This could involve migrating databases to Amazon RDS or moving servers to Elastic Beanstalk. Re-platforming often requires moderate development and migration efforts, but it allows organizations to take advantage of managed services.

7. Refactor

The final R, refactor, involves re-architecting applications to a cloud-native, serverless architecture. This approach leverages serverless services, event-driven architecture patterns, and decoupling of components. Refactoring offers the highest level of benefits but requires substantial development and migration efforts.

By categorizing applications and systems into these seven R's, organizations can develop a clear strategy for each component and determine the appropriate migration approach.

Re-hosting with AWS MGN

Re-hosting, also known as lift and shift, provides a straightforward migration approach by moving the operating system and application to another host system. AWS offers the Application Migration Service (AWS MGN) as a recommended tool for re-hosting. Additionally, the Server Migration Service (SMS) and AWS VM Import/Export can be used for this purpose. These tools allow for the replication and migration of virtual machines from a data center to AWS EC2 instances.

Re-platforming with Database Migration Service

Re-platforming involves migrating an application to a new platform within AWS. For database migrations, AWS provides the Database Migration Service (DMS) and the Schema Conversion Tool (SCT). These tools enable the migration of databases from on-premises to AWS services like Amazon Aurora. Re-platforming often requires a moderate amount of development and migration effort but allows organizations to take advantage of managed databases and platforms.

Refactoring to a Cloud-Native Architecture

Refactoring presents the opportunity to re-architect applications to leverage cloud-native, serverless architectures on AWS. This approach involves migrating servers to serverless functions or containers, databases to managed DBs or serverless NoSQL DBs, and file stores to object stores. By decoupling components with queues, notification services, and orchestration tools, organizations can fully leverage the benefits of the cloud.


Migrating to AWS requires careful planning and the utilization of the appropriate migration tools. By understanding the various AWS migration tools and the seven R's of migration, organizations can develop a comprehensive migration strategy that matches their specific requirements and goals. Whether it's re-hosting, re-platforming, or refactoring, AWS offers a wide range of tools and services to facilitate a seamless migration process and enable organizations to benefit from the cloud's flexibility, scalability, and cost savings.

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