Skip the Downtime with the New AWS Server Migration Service

Migrate to AWS

AWS has announced a new service that simplifies and streamlines the process of migrating existing virtualized applications to Amazon EC2. Joining AWS’s Database Migration Service and Service Discovery, AWS Server Migration Service simplifies the migration process by allowing users to incrementally replicate live VMs to the cloud, in the process removing the need for lengthy maintenance periods that previously may have taken critical systems offline longer than the business has tolerance for. In the process, AWS makes its service that much more attractive -- and sticky -- by allowing users to quickly and easily migrate to AWS for free.

As AWS DevOps experts who have conducted many migrations for a wide variety of client use cases, we found the server migration piece of this new service quite interesting. And it has a lot to do with the shifting nature of who is interested in moving to the cloud.

Historically, we have been contacted by innovators and early adopters -- as defined by Geoffrey Moore in his seminal work, “Crossing the Chasm.” These folks represented for the most part the software side of the house, e.g. Director or VP of Software. However, we are starting to see a move (or a crossing of the chasm, if you will) to the early majority expressing interest in moving to the cloud. The early majority is largely represented by the IT side of the house (e.g. Director of IT, CIO, VP IT) and has a very different motivation for a cloud migration.

Specifically, the early majority has a keen interest in the cloud as a replacement for their current data center. We are fielding calls from IT interested in moving to cloud as they have seen the results of early examples and use cases and think that the cloud can be competitive on price at a time when their data center lease is expiring.

To make a cloud migration interesting, IT has three real needs which revolve around cost, ease, and speed of migration. The new AWS Server Migration Service is intriguing as it addresses all three at a time when we are seeing growing interest in mass migrations to AWS.

Let’s walk through each of these requirements and how the AWS Server Migration Service addresses each:

Cost: While there are other tools on the market that help organizations migrate to AWS quickly without downtime, AWS has made its offering free, (though customers will incur costs for S3 storage used in the move and EBS snapshots that result from the migration). Unfortunately for these other services, they were too early to market and as a result ended up having to charge steeply per license which worked against selling a wholesale data center migration. AWS has timed the release of this service impeccably to capture the attention of the early majority that is now emerging and showing a great deal of interest in AWS.

Ease of Migration: AWS has made it incredibly easy to lift and shift a data center to the cloud. Its replication approach provides a way to move to AWS at your own pace with little to no downtime, which is a real boon to organizations looking to move mission critical, high uptime workloads to AWS. And, the service includes a synchronization feature that will take snapshots of the VM when it changes, creating a new AMI with each one. This allows organizations to ensure they are happy with the transition before they make the official cutover.

Speed of Migration: There are really only a few steps to take to begin lifting and shifting a datacenter to AWS with this new service. First, IT needs to download and deploy the AWS Server Migration Service Connector. Aptly named, the Connector connects an existing virtualized environment allowing IT to migrate without installing agents on each server. From the Migration Service Connector web interface, IT can login to the AWS Management Console where they can import the server catalog from each Connector and inspect the Server inventory. From the inventory, IT simply selects which servers they’d like to replicate, and with the click of a button are on their way. Indeed, even this simple process can be automated.

Clearly, AWS has made migration so straight-forward and seamless, that they have essentially eradicated migration-related downtime while making it cheap and easy to lift and shift an entire datacenter. So much so that we expect the AWS Server Migration Service to be a major cornerstone in its service offerings for Operations buyers whose data center leases are expiring and wish to move to the cloud.

While the new AWS Server Migration Service is an ideal server migration tool for mass migrations of vendor applications, such as Sharepoint, for apps developed in-house where DevOps is alive and well, a different approach is preferred and in fact recommended. When development and operations must collaborate to create IT transformation through cloud initiatives, a well thought-through AWS strategy in which organizations have a distinct plan that addresses business goals through architectural design and best practices is desired.

For these DevOps-based IT transformations, Flux7 is here to help. Flux7 is a certified AWS Migration Partner who has been awarded an AWS Migration Competency for our best practices based templates and automation to help organizations successfully migrate, manage and extend their AWS infrastructure.

Read more blogs on migration

Our team of DevOps consultants are expert at migrating to AWS from both on-premise and other cloud providers. We help you migrate on your own terms with a service catalog to self-provision the infrastructure that meets your application and workload requirements. We help you build a solid AWS foundation and then teach you to fish so that you can take the reins of your own environment, expanding and maintaining it for ongoing success. Contact us today to learn more about the opportunities and process improvements available in your AWS migration.

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