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October 11, 2022
Topics: Cloud Volumes ONTAPAmazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP Data MigrationAWSAdvanced11 minute read
Cloud migration for enterprises refers to the process of moving applications and data into the cloud from legacy systems. The approach is often undertaken to help organizations reduce costs, improve performance, and gain scalability. Although the concluding goals are mostly similar for all migrations, the complexity of migrating applications to the cloud varies based on the type of workload, its underlying components, and the business objective.
In this article, we discuss the seven AWS migration strategies and explore how NetApp can help organizations migrate on-premises workloads to the AWS cloud.
Jump down to a topic in this article:
- The 7 AWS Strategies for Migration
- When to Use Each AWS Migration Model
- How NetApp Helps with AWS Cloud Migration
The 7 AWS Strategies for Migration
AWS offers cloud migration services across all regions where Amazon EC2 instances are available. These services provide a set of tools that enable organizations to migrate applications from on-premises data centers to the AWS cloud. In addition to offering dedicated tools and services, AWS also outlines different migration strategies to support various use cases.
Initially, there were six migration strategies that existed, however, AWS has included ‘Relocate’ as a new seventh migration strategy that focuses on frameworks involving on-prem containers and VMware in the cloud.
The 7 AWS Strategies for Migrating to the Cloud (Image Source)
This strategy is used when terminating or downsizing applications that are no longer useful in production. In such instances, business-critical workloads that operate on inefficient legacy frameworks are retired as the first step towards the adoption of modern, cloud-native deployments.
This strategy is suitable for applications that cannot be retired and should continue to operate in their existing framework. Enterprises typically decide to retain a workload if it relies on another application that needs to be migrated first or when there’s no immediate business value in migrating the application to the cloud. As for vendor-based applications, an enterprise may also choose to retain if the service provider plans to eventually release a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model. Additionally, certain data retention regulations for security and privacy compliance also enforce retention.
Relocate (“Hypervisor-Level Lift and Shift”)
The newly introduced strategy involves migrating workloads without impacting ongoing operations, rewriting the application source code, or acquiring new hardware. With this strategy, an enterprise can migrate a collection of servers from an on-premises platform, such as Kubernetes or VMware, to the AWS cloud version of the same platform (such as the AWS Elastic Kubernetes Service). This migration strategy is also useful for transferring existing AWS workloads to a different AWS account, region, or virtual private cloud.
Relocating minimizes downtime and disruption since clients remain seamlessly connected during the migration process. As this strategy doesn’t require significant changes in the configuration and architecture of workloads, it’s not necessary to retrain staff or invest in upgraded hardware, thereby reducing operating expenses. The strategy also employs limited scaling, making migration costs more predictable.
Rehost (“Lift and Shift”)
The rehost migration strategy involves leveraging AWS Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offerings to redeploy workloads on a cloud instance. The strategy allows enterprises to move an on-prem application and all its dependencies as-is to the AWS cloud. Without changing the core infrastructure, this approach allows organizations to transfer all application data and workflows to cloud services that match the workload’s existing storage, networking, and compute requirements. Since operational and configuration constructs of workloads remain intact, the rehost strategy is also easy to perform and is suitable for enterprises that lack in-house cloud-native expertise.
Replatform (“Lift and Reshape”)
With the replatform strategy, an enterprise can move an application to AWS while employing some form of platform optimization to leverage cloud-native capabilities. The application’s source code and core architecture remain unchanged, keeping legacy applications operational while ensuring cloud-based compliance and security.
The replatform migration strategy increases the flexibility, agility, and resilience of workloads while enabling cloud-native capabilities such as automation. The strategy also saves time and migration costs since enterprises can modernize workloads without rewriting application code. It allows organizations to choose components for modernization, subsequently improving application agility and maximizing ROI. Since the application’s architecture and functionality are retained, teams don’t require extensive training to operate the migrating workloads.
Repurchase (“Drop and Shop”)
The repurchase migration strategy involves swapping internally administered systems for third-party managed services available on the AWS marketplace. Repurchasing helps teams retire legacy systems and move to a consumption-based, SaaS subscription model that ties IT costs to generated revenue. As the services are built and managed by third-party vendors, the repurchase model reduces operational efforts toward managing infrastructure for in-house teams.
The repurchase option also simplifies and expedites migration while reducing downtime and enhancing scalability and efficient regulatory governance. As the migration approach fully leverages cloud-native capabilities, it’s mostly leveraged for workloads that require enhanced application performance and user experience while minimizing operational overheads.
Often considered the most complex AWS migration option, refactoring involves re-architecting workloads to support AWS cloud-native capabilities from the ground up. Although this strategy requires a huge investment in effort and resources, it’s considered the most future-proof migration approach. When refactoring workloads, enterprises often adopt the principles of the AWS well-architected framework to support superior capabilities such as serverless computing, autoscaling, and distributed load.
Refactoring helps break down a monolithic application into microservices to achieve high availability and enhanced levels of automation that are often complex to achieve with in-house deployments. While rearchitecting applications for service-oriented architecture may turn out to be costly during the migration phase, a well-planned resulting framework’s operating costs are substantially lower than operating the legacy framework.
When to Use Each AWS Migration Model
The table below compares the merits, disadvantages, and most appropriate use-case for each migration model:
Considered suitable for redundant workloads and legacy applications that are no longer in use
Best for organizations looking to exercise control over their resources and those considering a hybrid cloud migration. Also suitable for applications that are required to run on local data centers for compliance or security.
Suitable for applications running on VMware servers and local Kubernetes distributions
For organizations looking to expedite cloud migration at a fraction of the cost, while looking to eventually add further changes
For organizations considering a move to AWS cloud but are concerned about the risks involved in comprehensive migration of legacy apps in one go
Organizations looking to leverage cloud-native capabilities without having to design systems from scratch
Best for complex applications with high-usability and a strong business case for performance optimization. Also, suitable for applications that need refactoring due to changing regulatory compliance or threat landscape.
How NetApp Helps with AWS Cloud Migration
NetApp offers multiple solutions to support organizations looking to migrate enterprise workloads to the cloud:
- Cloud Volumes ONTAP on AWS helps enterprises to improve performance and reduce costs. Learn more in these case studies of AWS with Cloud Volumes ONTAP.
- Amazon FSx for NetApp ONTAP integrated storage platform brings NetApp’s flexibility and robustness into AWS native service for simple and scalable data management. Learn more in these FSx for ONTAP Customers Case Studies.
To illustrate how these solutions work in action, here are some examples of how NetApp can help users apply various AWS migration strategies:
- By supporting VMware Cloud, FSx for ONTAP allows firms to relocate workloads from on-premises VMware installations to AWS. Alternatively, users can opt to deploy VMware Cloud with Cloud Volumes ONTAP as the data management layer for their public cloud resources. Learn more in these VMware Cloud case studies with Cloud Volumes ONTAP.
- Enterprise teams can rehost (“lift and shift”) workloads to AWS with Cloud Volumes ONTAP.
- Firms looking to replatform (“lift and reshape”) their on-prem relational databases can use custom storage backends for AWS RDS.
- When refactoring applications, Cloud Volumes ONTAP and FSx for ONTAP can be used as the default storage backend for workloads relying on Kubernetes and other microservice architectures. Learn more about Using FSx for ONTAP to Enhance Kubernetes and Container Capabilities and about Kubernetes Workloads with Cloud Volumes ONTAP: Success Stories.
NetApp additionally offers:
- Cloud Backup to back up data for ONTAP workloads
- Cloud Tiering to tier infrequently used data to lower-cost cloud object storage
- Cloud Sync to help non-ONTAP clients transfer data between on-premises and cloud data stores
AWS Cloud Migration with NetApp
- Relocate - FSx for ONTAP supports relocate on-premises workloads to AWS VMware Cloud
- Rehost - NetApp ONTAP users can ‘lift and shift’ their on-prem workloads to Cloud Volumes ONTAP on AWS
- Refactor - Workloads refactoring to containers with orchestrators such as Kubernetes or OpenShift can use Cloud Volumes ONTAP as their backend storage
Cloud migration is a complex undertaking that requires a thorough analysis of ongoing challenges while also mapping them with the required changes to reach business objectives. Migrating strategies are typically chosen based on the varying complexities of workloads, costs incurred, and the level of disruption they may cause to an existing setup. While a well-executed transition offers numerous benefits, organizations must also factor in the risks and efforts required for ongoing maintenance.
To know more about how NetApp can help with your migration, take a look at our guide to migrating enterprise workloads and read about our cloud migration case studies to see the advantages of moving business-critical workloads to the cloud.
What are migration strategies in AWS?
The migration strategies used by AWS are approaches that can be used to migrate applications and underlying components from on-prem or other cloud services to AWS. The strategies vary to suit specific use cases and can be chosen based on the technical capabilities and business requirements of an organization.
What are the three phases of AWS cloud migration?
AWS cloud migrations are typically broken down into three phases, including:
- Analysis due diligence: Initial phases of migration planning and assessment of business requirements.
- Discovery mobilization: Identifying components for migration and preparing backup plans during the transition phase.
- Migrate maintain: Initiate the migration with minimum downtime and hand over to operations for regular running maintenance.
What are 7 Rs in cloud migration planning?
The seven Rs of cloud migration include Retire, Retain, Relocate, Repurchase, Replatform, Rehost, and Refactor. All these approaches offer different benefits, suit specific use cases, and have varying levels of migration complexities.