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The Ultimate Guide on Migrating From Azure to AWS

The Ultimate Guide on Migrating From Azure to AWS

Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure stand out as major cloud infrastructure providers. Businesses that initially chose the latter may seek Azure to AWS migration for more enhanced features, cost-effectiveness, and global reach. Yet, initiating a cloud migration journey can be intimidating and full of obstacles and intricacies. Therefore, understanding the migration process is essential for minimizing disruptions, optimizing costs, and managing risks effectively.

With over ten years of experience, Serverless has deep expertise in cloud architecture, ensuring a smooth transition from Azure to AWS with minimal downtime. Recognized among the best cloud migration companies, Serverless guarantees expert guidance and support throughout your migration journey. We empower businesses with a faster and more efficient cloud infrastructure, leveraging AWS features for innovation and market competitiveness.

In this article, we provide a detailed guide for IT professionals and businesses contemplating or actively planning a migration from Azure to AWS. You will learn about the main benefits, considerations, and challenges of this transition. Discover the key migration strategies and get a step-by-step plan with a bonus checklist to make your Azure to AWS switch a breeze. 

Why Migrate from Azure to AWS? 

What prompts a shift from Azure to AWS? Is Amazon genuinely superior to Azure? While both stand as robust serverless computing platforms, there are specific aspects in which AWS for cloud app projects outshines. Several pivotal factors include:

  • Pricing 
  • Security
  • Storage
  • Compute power
  • Databases

Pricing

Azure and AWS provide a free tier with usage limits, enabling users to test the cloud solutions before committing. Although both platforms operate on a pay-as-you-go model, Azure bills on a per-minute basis, while Amazon charges per hour. 

Azure offers flexibility with short-term commitments, allowing users to opt for monthly or prepaid charges. On the other hand, AWS offers varied pricing models, including reserved instances, on-demand instances, and spot instances. To optimize these cost benefits, businesses often look to hire AWS developers with expertise in cost-effective cloud solutions. AWS’s cost is more reasonable overall when committing to resources for an extended period.

Security 

AWS has numerous compliance certifications and adheres to international security standards. Renowned entities such as NASDAQ, HealthCare.gov, DoD’s Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA), and Dow Jones trust AWS for its reliability and security measures. 

Key features such as Identity and Access Management (IAM) and CloudTrail effectively monitor user activities. Additionally, AWS offers flexible firewall rules, enabling precise control over access levels, from open to highly restricted, to ensure robust data protection.

Storage

Azure's Blob storage employs page blobs (a collection of 512-byte pages for reading and writing arbitrary ranges of bytes) and temporary storage. It offers two storage types: Hot and Cool. The Hot tier is suitable for frequently modified or accessed data, with low access costs but higher expenses. The Cold tier is a cost-effective option for infrequently modified or accessed data.

AWS provides storage through Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service). It is a crucial AWS functionality renowned for its availability, scalability, low costs, and reliability. AWS's block storage can link to any EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) instance. Additional storage solutions, such as EBS (Elastic Block Store) and Glacier, are available. EBS provides immediate and low-latency access to stored data, while Glacier offers low-cost data storage with options for retrieval speed.

Compute Power

Azure relies on virtual machines as its primary computing services, utilizing tools like Cloud Services and Resource Manager to deploy cloud applications. AWS's primary computing solution is EC2 instances. They provide on-demand and flexible computing customized to suit specific application needs. Additional native AWS services for application deployment include AWS Lambda, EC2 container service, and autoscaling.

Databases

Microsoft Azure provides SQL Server databases, whereas AWS offers RDS (Relational Database Services). Both are known for their high availability, scalability, and durability. Yet, Azure's database is solely based on MS SQL Server, and AWS's RDS supports a variety of database engines, including Amazon Aurora, MySQL, Microsoft SQL, MariaDB, Oracle, and PostgreSQL.

Read a detailed AWS vs. Azure vs. GCP comparison in our blog. 

Azure to AWS Migration: Step-by-Step

Now that you know the upsides of AWS, you may wonder how to migrate from Azure to AWS. Let’s outline the five phases for migration to this cloud computing platform. 

Preparing for Migration

Getting ready for migrating to AWS includes several important substeps:

  • Assessment checklist. Evaluating your existing infrastructure, applications architecture, and workload to get a comprehensive picture of your current situation.
  • Identifying dependencies and potential challenges. It can include data transfer complexities, application compatibility issues, and the need for adjustments in infrastructure configurations.
  • Singling out AWS services equivalent to those in Azure. Compare features, specifications, and capabilities of Azure services to ensure compatibility and minimize potential disruptions.
  • Setting clear migration objectives and goals. Based on your objectives, such as cost reduction, scalability improvement, or enhanced reliability, it will be easier for you to design a blueprint and decide on the applications for cloud migration.
  • Considering costs and ROI. Assessing potential expenses, such as infrastructure, licensing, and ongoing operational costs, helps optimize resource allocation and align migration with budgetary constraints and long-term financial goals.

Discovery and Planning

Having defined your goals, you can determine the migration strategies for each application. Familiarize yourself with AWS migration tools like Server Migration Service (SMS), Database Migration Service (DMS), and Amazon DirectConnect to identify those most pertinent to your specific use case.

Assemble a specialized team with designated roles, including Project Managers, Cloud Architects, DevOps, Security Specialists, and DBAs. Your migration team members should be trained and have development skills focused on the AWS ecosystem.

Alternatively, our certified AWS professionals can identify efficient Azure to AWS data transfer strategies and craft intricate architectures, facilitating seamless discovery and planning for the migration process.

Designing, Migrating, and Validating Applications

During this phase, we craft a comprehensive migration plan for each application. It starts with a Proof of Concept for a few selected applications to evaluate how migration strategies and tools perform in your environment. We use the decision matrix to choose an appropriate strategy for diverse Azure workloads. It involves evaluating data sensitivity, application dependencies, and compliance requirements. Considering workload characteristics and business objectives, we determine whether a lift-and-shift approach or more complex strategies like re-platforming or re-architecting are most suitable.

Once there is a buy-in from organizational stakeholders, we progress as per the complete migration plan. We use tools and services such as AWS Migration Hub and AWS Database Migration Service to execute the migration. Our AWS developers meticulously handle data migration and synchronization to guarantee a seamless transition, prioritizing minimal downtime and ensuring uninterrupted business continuity throughout the migration process.

Operate

As applications transition to the cloud, they become operational within AWS. The old on-premises versions are deactivated. If you choose a hybrid model, on-premise and cloud resources will coexist. Once the first migrated applications launch in AWS, you can 

draw upon the experience gained from these applications to move the remaining ones. This iterative process optimizes the migration, ensuring a seamless transition to the AWS environment. 

Post-Migration Testing and Validation

This phase involves continuous monitoring, performance tuning, load handling, and security to identify and address any issues. Post-migration validation ensures that the migrated systems meet specified requirements, guaranteeing stability, performance, and security in the AWS environment and minimizing the risk of disruptions. Additionally, we implement cost optimization strategies, manage security and compliance, and conduct regular updates for ongoing improvements to maintain a robust and well-optimized infrastructure in the AWS ecosystem.

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Key Considerations for Migrating from Azure to AWS

Let’s review some critical considerations for a successful transition for organizations moving from Azure to AWS.

  • Cost analysis. Evaluate the financial impact of transitioning to AWS by examining pricing models and Reserved Instances. Additionally, explore potential savings using AWS Cost Explorer to optimize your cloud expenditure.
  • Security and compliance. Ensure that your security and compliance needs are addressed within the AWS environment. Assess AWS's security features, identity management, and encryption options to uphold a resilient security posture.
  • Networking. Plan your network architecture within AWS, encompassing elements like Virtual Private Clouds (VPCs), Direct Connect, or VPN connections. Ensure smooth connectivity between on-premises and AWS resources.
  • Data migration from Azure to AWS. Decide on your database migration strategy. Typically, you need to choose between rehosting, replatforming, and refactoring strategies. Think about maximizing the value of your migration effort when deciding how to move data from Azure to AWS.
  • Backup and disaster recovery. Create backup and disaster recovery cloud credentials within AWS. Use AWS Backup and AWS Disaster Recovery services to ensure seamless business continuity.

6 AWS Migration Strategies

In the previous section, we mentioned three of the migration strategies. Now, let’s get into all of them in detail. Amazon modified Gartner's 5 R model of cloud migration options, introducing the 6 Rs model to facilitate workload migration to the cloud with minimized risks, time, and effort. The 6 Rs include:

  1. Repurchase. Decommissioning and replacing an application with a cloud-based version from the AWS Marketplace. It is suitable for legacy applications that no longer meet business needs or those incompatible with a traditional migration.
  2. Replatform. Moving applications with minor modifications or component replacements to exploit cloud advantages, such as migrating Azure to AWS. This strategy is suitable for applications requiring minor optimizations before migration.
  3. Rehost. Transitioning applications to the cloud without modification. It is commonly used for large-scale legacy applications that can benefit from the cloud without architectural changes.
  4. Refactor/Re-achitect. A comprehensive overhaul of an application to align it with cloud-native features for improved agility and scalability. Refactoring often involves breaking the application into independent services and transitioning to a microservices architecture.
  5. Retire. Discontinuing applications that are obsolete, redundant, or no longer align with business priorities. This strategy allows businesses to streamline their IT portfolio and optimize resource allocation. 
  6. Retain. This strategy is a passive decision to keep an application in its current environment, considering factors like critical dependencies or compliance requirements that make migration less beneficial.

Challenges of Migrating from Azure to AWS

What can possibly go wrong during Azure to AWS migration? Below are some prevalent challenges and suggestions on how to address them.

Resiliency for Compute and Networking Resources

The challenge is to ensure high availability and resiliency for applications hosted on AWS. It requires a solution to preserve the application state during transitions between machine instances. Additionally, there is a need to maintain resilient connectivity to ensure continuous network access for cloud workloads.

Solution

For compute resiliency, consider reserved instances for prolonged machine instance ownership, while replication or services like Elastic Beanstalk can manage deployment and availability. On the networking side, leverage Amazon's active/standby IPSec tunnels and AWS Direct Connect in a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) for a highly resilient network. Combine these solutions for robust connectivity.

Log Analysis and Metric Collection

Upon transitioning to AWS, you'll enter a highly scalable and dynamic environment, rendering previous logging and monitoring strategies obsolete. Centralizing data becomes crucial as analyzing logs on machine images that shut down becomes impractical.

Solution

Ensure the central storage and monitoring of logs from applications, AWS services, and S3 buckets. Use Amazon CloudWatch and refer to Amazon's architecture for centralized logging, incorporating CloudWatch, Lambda, and Cognito for efficient monitoring.

Security Planning

Cloud environments offer security comparable to agent-based on-premise setups, but their properties and strategies differ significantly. The risk of a "security vacuum" arises when applications transition, leaving existing security tools and strategies behind.

Solution

Chart out the security and compliance needs for all migration project applications. Identify and incorporate AWS services matching or enhancing on-premise security into your deployment plan. Ensure every application adheres to proper security measures, even in the development and testing phases. Refer to Amazon’s cloud security guidelines for guidance.

Bonus: AWS Migration Checklist

Checklist Item Description
Train staff
    Provide training for the team on AWS tools and services
    Ensure staff is familiar with cloud best practices
    Foster an understanding of the migration plan
Consider security requirements
    Review and enhance security measures
    Evaluate and implement compliance requirements
    Define access management policies
Establish cloud performance KPIs
    Define KPIs for the cloud
    Monitor and measure performance during and post-migration
Plan database migration
    Access current database architecture and requirements
    Choose appropriate AWS database services
      Develop a migration plan for databases
    Prepare for data migration
      Identify static websites and unstructured data
      Determine suitable Azure to AWS data migration strategies
        Execute data migration with minimal downtime

      Migrate Azure to AWS Seamlessly with Serverless

      Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers businesses cost efficiency through a pay-as-you-go model, scalable infrastructure for dynamic resource needs, and a global reach with data centers worldwide. Careful planning and testing can help you smoothly switch from Microsoft Azure to AWS. The outlined critical considerations for success and solutions to common challenges should help you during the migration journey. 

      If you need help with Azure to AWS migration, the Serverless is here to ensure a smooth transition with minimal downtimes. We will optimize your cloud expenses with our AWS cloud migration services. Unlock superior scalability, flexibility, and cost efficiency by leveraging the appropriate Amazon Web Services for your business needs.

      Schedule a call with our CEO for an introductory consultation if you want a CTO as a service

      Faq

      How long does an Azure to AWS migration typically take?


      The time required for a migration from Azure to AWS varies depending on the complexity of the environment, data volume, and specific requirements. The minimal time needed for a switch is one to two months. 

      What challenges can arise during the migration process?


      The challenges during the migration process from Azure to AWS include ensuring resiliency for compute and networking resources, addressing log analysis and metric collection in the dynamic AWS environment, and security planning.

      How can I know that it’s time to migrate my website from Azure to AWS?


      You need to think about migration website from Azure to AWS cloud if you seek cost optimization, improved performance, or specific AWS features that better align with your business needs and goals.

      What factors should I consider when planning an Azure to AWS migration?


      Consider the complexity of your applications, data volume, desired AWS services, and any specific security and compliance requirements. A thorough assessment will help create a comprehensive migration plan.

      How can I minimize downtime during the Azure to AWS migration process?


      You can minimize downtime by adopting strategies like phased migration, using AWS services for data synchronization, and implementing solutions such as AWS Server Migration Service. Careful planning and testing are crucial for minimizing disruption to operations.

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      Kyrylo Kozak
      Kyrylo Kozak
      founder, CEO