Ankur Mandal

AWS Migration Strategies: Smooth Transition To The Cloud


Ankur Mandal

5 min read

Businesses are increasingly realizing the importance of migrating their applications and data to the cloud. This shift offers enhanced scalability, flexibility, and cost-efficiency. AWS migration strategies help businesses fully leverage these benefits and gain unparalleled flexibility.

Migrating to AWS requires effort, whether the goal is to minimize costs, maximize resource utilization, or access advanced infrastructure features that aren't available on-premises.

In this blog, we'll explore AWS migration strategies to ensure a smooth and successful transition.

Introduction To AWS Migration   

In recent years, cloud computing adoption has surged dramatically, empowering organizations of all sizes with innovation, agility, and cost savings. Cloud migration has become a strategic imperative for businesses seeking to modernize IT infrastructure, enhance scalability, and accelerate digital transformation. According to Gartner, by 2027, 65% of application workloads will be prepared for cloud delivery, up from 45% in 2022.

The allure of the cloud lies in its on-demand access to a wide range of computing resources—storage, networking, databases, and applications—delivered over the internet. This shift in IT delivery has fueled rapid adoption across industries. Amazon leads the market with a 31% global market share among cloud service providers as of Q1 2024, closely followed by Azure at 25%.

AWS migration refers to the process of moving an organization's data, applications, and IT infrastructure from on-premises servers or other cloud platforms to the AWS cloud platform. Migration to AWS is typically undertaken to leverage the benefits of cloud computing, such as cost savings, scalability, agility, and improved security.

By migrating to AWS, businesses can modernize their IT environments, enhance operational efficiency, and drive innovation. AWS migration requires meticulous planning, execution, and optimization to ensure a smooth transition and minimize disruptions to business operations.

Businesses can successfully migrate entire data centers or specific workloads using AWS's organizational, operational, and technological capabilities. Additionally, businesses can quickly realize the value of AWS through its extensive range of migration and modernization services, programs, and partners. AWS supports various workloads from Microsoft, SAP, VMware, Oracle, and Mainframe systems. Apart from all this, let's see some reasons why organizations are inclined to migrate to AWS. 

Why Is There a Need to Migrate To AWS?

Migrating to AWS (Amazon Web Services) is a strategic decision for many organizations, driven by a variety of factors that can significantly benefit their operations. 

Here are some key reasons why there is a need to migrate to AWS:

  • Cloud Services Options: AWS offers over 200 services, catering to various use cases such as serverless computing, machine learning (ML)/artificial intelligence (AI), networking, databases, cloud storage, and automation. This extensive range allows businesses to find tailored solutions for their specific needs.
  • Scalability: AWS allows organizations to scale resources up or down based on demand. This elasticity helps them handle varying workloads efficiently without over- or under-provisioning resources.
  • Cost-effectiveness: By migrating to AWS, businesses can significantly reduce their IT infrastructure costs by up to 31%, eliminating the need for substantial upfront investments. Besides, AWS offers a pay-as-you-go pricing model, which means organizations only pay for the resources they use. This can result in cost savings compared to maintaining on-premises infrastructure.
  • Flexibility: AWS supports various operating systems, programming languages, databases, and other services. This flexibility allows organizations to choose the tools and technologies that best meet their needs.
  • Sustainable and Energy Efficient: AWS's energy efficiency is approximately 3.6 times greater than similar-sized ordinary data centers. While not carbon neutral, using AWS can significantly reduce the energy costs of running a data center.
  • Availability and Dependability: AWS's extensive global infrastructure network includes numerous data centers and availability zones, ensuring high levels of availability, redundancy, and dependability. With 105 availability zones across 33 operating regions, AWS offers a robust, fault-tolerant solution, minimizing the risk of data loss and downtime.
  • Innovation: AWS empowers businesses to innovate rapidly and respond swiftly to shifting consumer needs and market trends. Access to cutting-edge technology and services allows companies to experiment, iterate, and launch new products and services faster than ever, maintaining a competitive edge in the modern digital economy.

Many businesses might wish to switch to AWS immediately because it offers many advantages over the competition. But why don't all of them move towards it?

That's because there can be challenges across the way. The next section covers the challenges you might encounter while migrating to AWS.

Challenges In AWS Migration

Migrating to the cloud, particularly with AWS, is a complex process fraught with challenges. It demands meticulous preparation, expertise, continuous monitoring, and the secure, efficient transfer of substantial data volumes with minimal disruption. 

Here are some typical challenges specific to AWS migration:

  • Legacy Systems Compatibility and Investment Issue
    Ensuring compatibility with legacy systems and applications is a primary challenge. These systems often aren't designed for cloud environments, leading to potential compatibility issues and downtime during migration. Additionally, businesses have heavily invested in legacy systems, including training, software, and hardware. 
    These investments risk becoming obsolete or underutilized post-migration. Conducting a cost-benefit analysis to compare the ROI of  cloud migration versus maintaining on-premises infrastructure is crucial. Sometimes, a hybrid strategy—migrating some services or applications to the cloud while keeping others on-premises—can maximize the value of existing investments.
  • Up-Front Expenses
    Cloud migration often requires significant upfront investments in tools, consulting, training, and potentially rewriting systems or applications for cloud compatibility.
    However, long-term savings usually offset these costs due to the cloud's scalability, flexibility, and reduced need for on-premises maintenance. Organizations should view cloud adoption as a strategic decision that ultimately lowers the total cost of ownership (TCO).
  • Downtime Issues During Migration
    Downtime during migration can disrupt business activities, leading to financial losses and negative user experiences. However, with sufficient planning, a migration can be completed with minimal downtime. 
    Utilizing automated migration tools, following best practices, and opting for phased migration can help reduce downtime. Additionally, planning migrations during off-peak times and notifying stakeholders well in advance of any anticipated downtimes is beneficial.
  • Security Concerns
    While cloud systems can be as secure as on-premises ones, their security features and approaches differ. When migrating applications from on-premises to the cloud, there's a risk of a "security vacuum" as existing security methods and technologies may not be directly applicable.
  • Metric Collection and Log Analysis

Post-migration, you will be in a highly scalable and dynamic environment. Traditional logging and monitoring techniques may become obsolete. Centralizing data becomes essential since you can't analyze logs on machine images that were previously shut down.

  • Insufficient Cloud Expertise
    A lack of internal cloud expertise can complicate the migration process and increase the risk of costly errors. Upskilling current teams through certifications and training is crucial. Initially, collaborating with cloud consulting companies can support your efforts. As your team gains experience, your organization's cloud initiatives will become more self-reliant.

By anticipating and planning for these challenges, your team can better prepare to address them effectively.

The next section will detail the seven R's of AWS migration strategies, including their definitions, when to use, best suitable for, benefits, and drawbacks.

AWS Migration Strategies: "The 7 R's"

Before embarking on your AWS migration journey, it is crucial to clearly define your migration goals and objectives. Are you aiming to enhance performance, bolster security, reduce costs, or achieve other specific outcomes?

Thoroughly evaluating your business needs and requirements allows you to tailor your AWS migration strategies to align precisely with your goals, maximizing the benefits of migrating to the cloud.

7 R's of AWS Migration Strategies

The 7 R's of AWS migration strategies provides comprehensive framework for migrating applications to the cloud. Each "R" represents a distinct approach that organizations can consider based on their specific needs, goals, and constraints. 

Here’s a detailed look at the 7 most common AWS migration strategies:

1. Rehosting (Lift and Shift)

Rehosting, or "lift and shift," involves migrating existing applications to AWS without significantly changing the underlying code or architecture. It's a fast and straightforward migration approach that minimizes downtime and accelerates migration.

Netflix streaming is one of the best real-life examples of leveraging a rehosting strategy to transfer its huge infrastructure from on-premises to Amazon cloud services. 

When to Use

  • When there are clear business drivers for scaling, agility, and performance.
  • When the application has limitations that hinder performance or scalability in its current state.
  • When long-term benefits justify the investment in time and resources.


  • Quick Market Launch: Rehosting allows for a swift transition to the cloud, enabling faster time to market. This also reduces downtime and leads to immediate cloud scalability. 
  • Minimal Business Process Modification: Since it involves straightforward migration, there's minimal need to modify existing business processes.

Best Suitable for

  • Lack of Cloud Technology Skills: When there is a shortage of expertise in cloud technologies.
  • Large Legacy Migrations: Suitable for migrating extensive legacy systems to the cloud.


  • Limited Flexibility: Rehosting may limit the flexibility to extend or modify applications, as they remain largely unchanged.
  • Inefficient Resource Utilization: This approach may result in inefficient use of cloud resources, as applications are migrated without optimization for cloud-native capabilities.

By understanding the trade-offs and limitations of rehosting, businesses can make informed decisions about the right migration strategy for their specific needs and objectives.

2. Relocating (Hypervisor-level lift and shift)

Relocating, or "Hypervisor-level lift and shift" or "Lift and Optimize," involves moving applications to the cloud without requiring significant modifications. However, once migrated, applications can be optimized by leveraging cloud-native services.

For instance, after relocating a database to the cloud, you can transition from a hosted virtual machine (VM) to a managed database service, gaining access to cloud-centric capabilities without requiring extensive refactoring.

When to Use

  • When the application can benefit from cloud optimizations without extensive rework.
  • When there's a need to reduce management overhead by moving to managed services.


  • Swift Relocation with Minor App Modifications: Tasks can be relocated to the cloud swiftly with minimal application modifications, improved performance, and reduced latency. It complies with regulatory requirements by moving workloads closer to end-users or data centers.
  • Predictable Cost Scaling: By limiting scaling up and down, it becomes easier to predict costs associated with the migration.

Best Suitable for

  • VMware Clouds on Amazon Web Services: This is one of the best AWS migration strategies for migrating VMware workloads to AWS.


  • Restricted AWS Auto-Scaling: AWS auto-scaling capabilities are limited, making it challenging to scale down resources to minimize costs automatically.

By leveraging the benefits of relocating, businesses can efficiently migrate their workloads to the cloud while maintaining cost predictability and minimizing the need for extensive application refactoring.

3. Refactoring (Re-architect)

Refactoring, or "Re-architecting," involves fully redesigning applications to leverage cloud-based functionalities. This may include replacing outdated components with fully managed cloud services or breaking down monolithic architectures into microservices. Businesses typically opt for this approach when they need to scale, improve performance, or add challenging features to the application's current environment.

When to Use

  • When there's a suitable SaaS solution that meets business needs.
  • When replacing legacy systems with modern alternatives can bring efficiency and cost benefits.


  • Maximum Flexibility and Efficiency: Refactoring provides maximum flexibility, adaptability, and efficiency to leverage the extended features of cloud computing. 

Best Suitable for

  • Scalability, Performance, or Capability Challenges: These are ideal for projects where adding scalability, performance, or advanced capabilities is difficult in the on-premises environment.


  • Costly Strategy: Refactoring often involves creating or re-architecting applications from scratch, making it one of the costliest AWS migration strategies.
  • Increased Testing Requirements: Since it requires changes to the business process, refactoring necessitates thorough testing to ensure functionality and reliability.

By understanding the trade-offs involved in refactoring, businesses can determine whether this strategy aligns with their migration goals and objectives. While it may require significant investment, refactoring offers the potential for improved scalability, performance, and efficiency in the cloud environment.

4. Replatforming (Lift, Tinker, and Shift)

Replatforming, or "lift, tinker, and shift," is a migration strategy between refactoring and rehosting. While not as extensive as refactoring, replatforming involves optimizing applications to leverage cloud capabilities. Specific components are migrated to cloud-based services that offer advanced functionality, integration, and customization for specific use cases.

When to Use

  • When quick migration is needed due to time constraints.
  • When the application is not cloud-ready but needs immediate migration.


  • Quick and Smooth Migration: Replatforming typically offers a reasonably quick and smoother migration process than more extensive refactoring efforts. Leveraging AWS services and best practices improves performance, scalability, and cost efficiency.
  • Low Integration Effort and Testing: Requires minimal integration effort or testing compared to more invasive AWS migration strategies.

Best Suitable for

  • Conservative Migrations: Suitable for organizations seeking to maximize cloud benefits through trials for new capabilities while maintaining a conservative approach to migration.


  • Limited Capabilities: While providing some benefits of cloud optimization, replatforming may offer limited capabilities compared to full-scale refactoring efforts.

By leveraging the benefits of replatforming, organizations can achieve a balance between migration speed and optimization, allowing them to trial new cloud capabilities while minimizing disruption to existing systems and processes. 

5. Repurchasing (Moving to a new or different product)

Repurchasing, or "moving to a new or different product," involves transitioning to a different product or service while relinquishing or replacing the current software licenses associated with your application. This strategy allows businesses to update their infrastructure and technology stack, particularly when legacy solutions become economically or sustainably unviable.

Capital One (Banking) is one of the great real-world examples of embracing the Repurchasing migration strategy. They use AWS marketplace solutions instead of legacy systems to quickly market their new services and products. 

When to Use

  • When there’s a need to maintain the same environment and configuration in the cloud.
  • When applications have dependencies on specific hypervisors.


  • Enhanced Capabilities: Repurchasing offers enhanced capabilities to leverage new technologies and the latest cloud functionalities, improving overall performance and efficiency. It also supports simplified management and reduced maintenance costs.

Best Suitable for

  • Projects Requiring Comprehensive Changes: Ideal for projects with a solid foundation for overhauling the entire application or those with expiring licensing models.


  • Time-Consuming and Effort-Intensive: Adopting new technologies and managing changes can be time-consuming and effort-intensive, requiring thorough planning and execution to minimize disruptions.

By embracing the benefits of repurchasing, organizations can modernize their infrastructure and stay competitive in an evolving technological landscape. While it may require significant investment and effort, repurchasing offers the opportunity to leverage new technologies and enhance business capabilities in the cloud environment.

6. Retiring (Stop Utilizing)

Retiring, also known as the "Retire strategy," involves deactivating assets that are no longer needed or have become obsolete in contemporary cloud computing. Unlike repurchasing, which focuses on substituting conventional assets, retirement aims to decommission outdated assets to streamline resources and efforts.

By retiring obsolete assets, teams can redirect their resources and efforts toward more critical matters, reducing the cost and complexity of the cloud conversion process. This enables the reallocation of resources for new initiatives and other essential business operations.

When to Use

  • When applications have strict latency or regulatory requirements.
  • When an application is currently functioning well and doesn’t justify the cost of migration.


  • Cost and Time Savings: Removing redundancies requires minimal time, money, and expertise, resulting in cost savings and performance improvements. It offers a simplified IT environment and reduces complexity by eliminating unnecessary infrastructure and software. 

Best Suitable for

  • Redundant Workloads, Tools, and Processes: Retirement is best suited for removing redundant elements that are no longer needed post-migration.


  • Compatibility and Performance Issues: Prematurely archiving workloads may lead to compatibility and performance issues, requiring additional time and resources to address later.

By leveraging the retire AWS migration strategy, organizations can streamline their cloud environment by eliminating redundant elements, optimizing performance, and reducing costs. However, careful consideration and planning are essential to avoid potential compatibility and performance issues down the line.

7. Retaining (Revisit later when required)

Retaining, or "revisit," involves postponing the migration process for certain applications or workloads. This AWS migration strategy is suitable for scenarios where applications have recently undergone significant upgrades or the reasons for migration are unclear. Instead of immediately migrating, these applications are maintained in their current environment until a solid reason for migration arises.

Regular review and evaluation of these applications are crucial to determine whether and when they should be migrated in the future.

When to Use

  • When applications are obsolete or no longer provide value.
  • When there are newer, more efficient solutions in place.


  • Identification of Non-Migratable Workloads: Retaining helps identify workloads unsuitable for migration. It complies with regulatory requirements, retains control over sensitive data, and avoids disruption to critical business operations.
  • Preservation of On-Premises Inefficiencies: Maintaining certain workloads on-premises prevents inefficiencies from being transferred to the cloud environment.

Best Suitable for

  • Incapable Migrations or Infeasible Business Perspectives: Retaining is suitable for workloads that cannot be migrated or for applications that don't align with the business's cloud migration objectives.


  • Deterrence from Adopting Cloud Services: Delaying migration may deter organizations from leveraging cutting-edge, cost-effective, secure, and efficient cloud services.

By leveraging the retain strategy, organizations can effectively manage their migration approach, ensuring that only suitable workloads are migrated to the cloud environment. This careful consideration helps mitigate risks and ensures a smooth transition to the cloud.

Now you know the AWS migration strategies, let's see best practices to follow while migrating to AWS.

Best Practices For AWS Migration 

Adhering to best practices ensures a smooth and successful transition when planning an AWS migration. Here are some key best practices to consider:

1. Train Your Team

  • Investment in Training: Invest in training and skill development programs to upskill your IT teams. AWS offers a range of training courses, certifications, and tools to help professionals improve their cloud skills.
  • Continuous Learning: Encourage continuous learning and stay updated with the latest AWS features and best practices to ensure your team can handle evolving cloud technologies.

2. Utilize AWS Migration Tools and Services

  • AWS Migration Tools: Use AWS migration tools and services to expedite and simplify migration. AWS Snowball can be used for offline data transfer, and AWS Database Migration Service (DMS) can be used for database migrations.
  • Minimize Errors: Leveraging these tools can help minimize errors and accelerate migration, ensuring a smoother transition.

3. Ensure Security and Compliance

  • Robust Security Measures: Prioritize security and compliance throughout the migration process and implement robust security measures to protect data and applications.
  • AWS Security Services: AWS services like Amazon S3 Server-Side Encryption and AWS Key Management Service (KMS) can encrypt data, and IAM policies can control access.
  • Compliance Standards: Ensure compliance with industry regulations and standards, conducting regular audits and reviews to maintain security.

4. Choose the Right Migration Strategy

  • Alignment with Needs and Goals: Select the migration strategy that best aligns with your organization’s needs and goals. Options include rehosting, replatforming, or refactoring.
  • Minimize Downtime: Choose the approach that minimizes downtime and maximizes benefits, ensuring minimal disruption to business operations.

5. Monitoring and Optimization

  • Resource Monitoring: Continuously monitor AWS resources to identify cost - inefficiencies, security flaws, and performance bottlenecks.
  • Proactive Optimization: Utilize AWS services to gather and evaluate infrastructure data, enabling proactive optimization efforts for effective resource utilization and cost control.

6. Testing and Validation

  • Comprehensive Testing: Thoroughly test and validate migrated applications and services to ensure they function as intended in the AWS environment.
  • Functional and Performance Testing: Conduct functional, performance, and security testing to identify and address any issues or vulnerabilities, mitigating the risk of post-migration disruptions.

7. Set Workload Priorities

  • Prioritization: Prioritize migration activities based on dependencies, complications, business complexity, and potential cost savings.
  • Impact Focus: Focus resources and efforts where they will have the most significant impact, considering the suitability of different workloads for migration to the AWS cloud.

By following these best practices, organizations can effectively plan and execute their AWS migrations, ensuring a successful transition to the cloud environment while minimizing risks and maximizing benefits.

However, the journey doesn't end once the migration is complete. Post-migration considerations are essential for maintaining and optimizing your cloud environment.

Post-Migration Considerations

After completing the migration, focus on post-migration considerations that are crucial for ongoing success:

  • Resource Management: Effectively manage AWS resources to ensure they are used efficiently and cost-effectively.
  • Cost Optimization: Implement AWS cost optimization strategies to monitor and control spending, leveraging tools like AWS Cost Explorer and AWS Budgets.
  • Continuous Monitoring: Utilize monitoring tools to monitor performance, security, and compliance post-migration and ensure any issues are promptly addressed.

Lucidity can help you manage and monitor these aspects. Beyond post-migration management, Lucidity enables seamless application migration to the cloud without changes to the application's code or architecture, allowing you to benefit from quicker, more reliable, and cost-effective block storage solutions.

How Does Lucidity Help You With AWS Cloud Migration? 

Lucidity block storage management solution to optimize cloud spend

Lucidity, a NoOps block storage solution, can help organizations optimize their block storage without compromising speed. Without causing downtime, Lucidity ensures that the applications always have the storage they need to perform at their peak by removing the need to overprovision storage.

Lucidity provides two automated solutions for block storage management:

  • Lucidity Storage Audit
  • Lucidity Block Storage Auto-scaler

Lucidity Storage Audit

The initial phase of proficient data management concerning storage optimization involves recognizing resources that are either over or underutilized. Numerous ways to accomplish this exist, but they waste time, money, and effort, such as manual discovery or monitoring tools. In the long term, they can burn a hole in your pocket. You can find idle or underutilized resources by automating the process with Lucidity's storage audit.

This executable, easy-to-deploy solution streamlines identifying idle, underused, or overprovisioned storage resources. This tool helps you optimize your cloud costs and avoid downtime without difficulty by thoroughly monitoring your disk performance and offering insightful data on disk usage.

wastage in block storage due to manual provisioning

With Lucidity Storage Audit, you can obtain comprehensive insights, like examining disk waste and expenses. This aids in determining the root cause of resource wastage by drawing attention to overprovisioning or idle volume problems. 

After you finish this audit, it is possible to delete idle or underutilized resources and optimize the size of resources overprovisioned for storage. 

Lucidity Block Storage Auto-scaler

Lucidity Auto-Scaler for block storage management

Now, Lucidity doesn't stop at evaluating storage resources; it offers auto-scaling capabilities, too. With Lucidity's revolutionary block storage auto-scaler, the first of its kind in the cloud native space, your block storage infrastructure runs automatically for various cloud service providers. It assists in avoiding overspending because your storage dynamically expands and shrinks as needed. This automated solution lets you control your storage expenses and avoid the issues associated with cloud migration.  

The Lucidity auto-scaler agent integrates directly with AMI (Amazon Machine Image) for hassle-free auto-scaling group deployment. This smooth integration helps manage disk utilization by 70-80% via automatic scaling as per demand. 

Following the identification of over-provisioning or idle/underutilized resource problems, Lucidity's auto-scaler provides the following benefits:

  • High responsiveness: It quickly and smoothly adapts to workload demands and adjusts block storage capacity within minutes, resulting in smooth operations during peak periods. 
  • Avoid Downtime: This auto-scaler automatically expands or shrinks resources, smoothing out data or resource management with zero downtime. 
  • Live Shrinkage and Expansion: As mentioned, it ensures storage availability regardless of variations and, in contrast to many other technologies, provides live shrinkage and expansion.  
  • Storage Cost Efficiency: Its two major offerings are reduced space wastage and overprovisioning, which leads to an amazing 70% reduction in storage expenses.  

Wrap-Up: Master AWS Migration Strategies

AWS migration can offer numerous benefits to businesses, including increased agility, scalability, and cost savings. By following best practices and employing different AWS migration strategies, you can successfully migrate to the AWS cloud and unlock the full potential of this extensive cloud computing platform.

Additionally, if you encounter challenges with storage optimization during AWS migration, consider contacting Lucidity for a demo. They specialize in providing solutions that can simplify and optimize your storage needs in the AWS environment.

Start planning your AWS migration today and reap the benefits of a more streamlined and efficient IT infrastructure.

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