AWS MAP - A High-Level Guide to Managing and Executing a Large-Scale Migration to AWS
Are you considering a migration to the AWS Cloud? Do you seek a structured approach that leverages expert guidance? Do your workloads present diverse complexities that require a phased migration? Are budget and timeline constraints key considerations for your large-scale migration project? Do you lack internal expertise or resources for a complex, long-term migration? Are you a C-Suite executive looking to learn more about what a large-scale migration might look like, from a high level? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this guide is for you!!!
Defining the Target State and Migration Scope
When undertaking a large-scale migration from one system to another, it is important to have a clearly defined target state. One of the first steps is to prioritize workloads based on business criticality and technical feasibility. Technical feasibility can be verified by identifying dependencies and orchestration needs for a phased migration approach. This process will involve many key stakeholders, both technical and business-savvy.
Once a target set of workloads has been identified for migration, clear success metrics must be defined. This just means having some set of quantifiable metrics that lend towards the desired post-migration architecture. If the words "clearly defined metrics" and "desired post-migration architecture" have sent you scurrying back to the drawing board, fear not; there are whole companies and teams of people whose sole purpose is to help aid you in this step of the process. Partnering with a consulting firm specializing in AWS migrations can be a huge boon here. Oh, and by the way, did I mention that Ippon Technologies is just such a firm? (more on that later)
Now that you have your vision clearly defined and some idea of the target architecture you would like to migrate your workloads to, it's time for the "deep dive." I am referring to a comprehensive assessment of your on-premise environment, workload dependencies, and future state vision. So more of the same from above, but this time with the experts involved and all the real technical people plugged in. This is where your true "plan" starts to materialize. Sound like a lot? Well, it's actually a lot, and then some...
It's common to become overwhelmed or experience a loss of clarity when navigating these challenges. That is why companies like Amazon Web Services have tools that can be put at your disposal. We will talk about many tools in this article, but the first few you should get to know are the AWS MAP framework tools, like App Modernization Framework or the Well-Architected Framework. These tools are instrumental in defining migration strategies and optimizing the target architecture. These tools will help you define your workloads and see where they stand through a series of different lenses.
Still having trouble "doing it on your own," let's take a look at what finding the right expert partner entails.
Selecting an Expert Partner
Full disclosure: I am a consultant at a consulting firm that specializes in AWS Migrations. It's true! You are probably reading this blog article on our site or maybe on LinkedIn or some other place it has been paraded about. Even though it's in my best interest for you to just hire Ippon, I still want to give you a framework for choosing an expert partner. Let's call it a show of good faith.
First things first. You want to find a firm that has done this type of thing before. Seek out firms with proven experience in large-scale AWS Migrations using MAP and Migration Orchestrator (another AWS tool). By finding a firm that has been around the block a time or two, you can have some comfort in knowing that this is not their first rodeo, and believe me, this type of project tends to be pretty rowdy. Also, be sure that you have your "battle plan" from the previous section ready to go. Being able to clearly articulate your migration scope, desired outcomes (cost reduction, agility, etc.), and timeline will help the consultant agency assess project complexity and tailor their approach to your specific needs.
Once you have identified a firm or preferably several of them, it's time to engage with them in a way that makes sense for this type of business relationship. I'm talking, of course, about getting proposals and reading outlines about methodology, tools, team composition, and cost breakdowns. This is all about doing your due diligence to get the right work for the right price with the right partner and team. Proposals should be evaluated based on expertise, alignment with your strategy, and budget constraints. This may seem obvious, but a large migration costs real money. Who would have thought? This step is commonly referred to as a "Request for Proposal," or RFP.
The last piece of advice here is... Pick a firm that offers a collaborative approach. You do not want to just pay someone to get it done. It's better to pay someone to get it done and train your staff, provide transparency into the process, and just be really cool and have fun with it too, right? (Ippon)
Leverage AWS MAP
Amazon Web Services has a program called MAP. This stands for Migration Acceleration Program. If you are migrating to AWS, then this is the program for you. AWS MAP has resources that include frameworks, planning tools, best practice guides, expert support, and much more to accelerate your migration. AWS MAP will help you prioritize your workloads based on business impact, complexity, and dependencies. Let's take a look at a few of the offerings that fall under the MAP umbrella.
AWS Migration Hub
The AWS Migration Hub is your gateway to a smooth migration. It allows you to centralize planning, assessment, and migration execution. In the hub, you will be able to track the progress of the different workload migrations you are undertaking. You can categorize your workloads using the "6 R's" framework. This includes strategies to Re-host, Re-platform, Repurchase, Refactor/Re-architect, Retire, and Retain. It's important to acknowledge early on that some of your workloads may require different strategies, and keeping track of all the moving parts requires some sort of framework.
AWS Database Migration Service
AWS Database Migration Service, commonly referred to as AWS DMS, is a tool that can help you migrate your database workloads to the AWS Cloud. It is a well-thought-out tool that has proven time and time again to reduce complexity and remove manual steps that introduce human error.
AWS Application Migration Service
AWS Migration Orchestrator
If all these tools seem confusing or you are struggling to see how the pieces fit together, fear not! This is the step where it all comes together. Some workloads may have applications, servers, and databases! That is why AWS has the AWS Migration Orchestrator. It allows you to create templates and workflows that leverage the aforementioned tools and frameworks to perform complex multi-stage migrations.
AWS Migration Orchestrator is part of the AWS Migration Hub. It will enable you to orchestrate and track your complex multi-part migrations across different phases and tools. This will simplify workload movement while minimizing downtime. Be sure to discuss with the firm you have chosen how they will integrate Migration Orchestrator into your migration plan.
Phase Migration Approach
It probably goes without saying, but you need to do this migration in phases. Start small with low-risk, less complex workloads for the initial migrations. This will build confidence and expertise in the processes. Once you get comfortable, gradually migrate more intricate workloads, utilizing lessons learned and refining the process along the way. It's important to acknowledge complexity and employ continuous improvement. Be sure to iterate on tools, automation, and best practices throughout the migration journey.
Communication and Collaboration
I mentioned this once before, but it is really due to its section. Be sure to establish clear communication channels with the consulting firm you have chosen. Ensuring regular progress updates and issue resolution is a good way to keep things moving along smoothly. By fostering close collaboration between internal IT teams and the consulting firm, you can facilitate a more thorough knowledge transfer process. This will be essential when it comes time for your existing staff to continue their day-to-day work in a new cloud environment.
Ongoing Optimization and Governance
Once your workloads are migrating, the work still needs to be done! Moving to the cloud is only the first step in a long, continuous chain of optimization for cost efficiency and performance. Post-migration is a great time to implement cloud governance best practices. These practices ensure security, compliance, and operational control. Further leveraging AWS MAP tools like CloudFormation, and Land Zone templates will enable you to leverage repeatable and automated infrastructure provisioning, further increasing agility in the cloud. Never stop improving!
A successful large-scale migration requires careful planning, expert guidance, and effective utilization of available tools. Adaptability and continuous improvement are crucial to navigating unforeseen challenges and optimizing outcomes. Effective communication is crucial. Maintaining clear expectations and an open dialogue with your chosen consultant throughout the migration process will be paramount. Utilize AWS MAP and Migration Orchestrator effectively to streamline your migration and maximize cloud benefits.
By diligently following this strategic framework and actively collaborating with a qualified consulting firm, you can confidently embark on your long-term cloud migration journey, unlocking the agility and scalability of AWS for hundreds of your workloads. Oh, and don't forget, Ippon is here and happy to help. Feel free to drop us a line at email@example.com.