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  • Writer's pictureRourke O'Sullivan

AWS Application Migration Service - A swift and efficient lift-and-shift service for migrations to AWS

Are you confronted with the formidable task of migrating your application from on-premises infrastructure or another cloud provider to the dynamic world of AWS? The journey can be riddled with complexities, uncertainties, and a maze of technical challenges. At Innablr, we're not just experts – we're your dedicated trailblazers, equipped with the prowess to navigate through the intricacies of application migration.


From unraveling the intricacies of your existing setup to seamlessly migrating your application onto the AWS platform, we've honed our skills to make the transition as smooth as possible. Our experience has taught us that this process demands more than just technical know-how – it calls for a strategic approach that harmonises your business goals with the power of AWS.

In this blog, I invite you to delve into a recent case study. One where I share insights, strategies, and experiences that shed light on a swift process of migrating an application to AWS.


Use Case


Our client has an application which is nearing its end of life and currently being hosted on Azure. Concurrently, we are in the process of transferring their remaining products to AWS. Despite the impending obsolescence of this particular product, notable advantages arise from re-hosting it. The consolidation of all their offerings onto AWS provides a prompt avenue for cost reduction, achieved by discontinuing their Azure subscription and implementing efficient practices like synchronised power-cycling across their entire product range. We are harnessing the inherent agility of the AWS Application Migration Service (MGN) to execute a seamless lift-and-shift migration of this product from Azure, further streamlining the overall migration.


AWS MGN Source Server"

AWS Application Migration Service


Application Migration Service (MGN) represents an automated lift-and-shift solution designed to streamline and economise the process of migrating applications to the AWS cloud. This service facilitates the seamless migration of an extensive array of physical, virtual, or cloud-based servers. All without encountering compatibility obstacles, performance disruptions, or the need for prolonged cutover windows. MGN's functionality involves the replication of source servers directly into your AWS account. Once the environment is primed, the lifecycle progression can be initiated, automatically transforming and initiating the servers as test instances. These instances are launched utilising templates that are tailored to meet specific customisation needs. Once your applications are running on AWS, you can leverage AWS services and capabilities to quickly and easily re-platform or refactor those applications, which makes lift-and-shift a fast route to modernisation.


My Experience


Initially, I encountered a touch of skepticism toward MGN, primarily due to its 'ClickOps' approach. Being accustomed to deploying Infrastructure as Code (IaaC), there was an unfamiliarity that felt somewhat amiss. However, as I dived into exploring MGN and took on the task of migrating a test server from Azure, my perspective underwent a shift. The deeper I delved into understanding MGN's mechanisms, the more I came to appreciate its capacity to simplify a typically arduous process.

Upon thorough review of the documentation, the steps became clear. I simplified the process down to the following steps:


  • Create agent installation script

  • Download replication agent on source server

  • Run replication agent on source server

  • Prepare AWS landing zone

  • Configure MGN launch templates

  • Begin MGN lifecycle

  • Testing phase

  • Cutover phase

  • Cutover complete


MGN acts as a guiding hand, prompting input of values via a form and subsequently furnishing a script for execution on the source server. The script, responsible for downloading and seamlessly running the replication agent. Should the replication template remain unchanged, the process might stretch over time. MGN defaults to employing a t3.micro instance for server replication to AWS. However, by opting for a larger instance size, this span can be whittled down by hours. Monitoring the replication process is conveniently achieved through the source server menu in the MGN console.



AWS Replication Agent installation

Preceding the commencement of the migration lifecycle, a prepared landing zone for the impending instances is required. My approach entailed deploying a network tier using AWS CDK, coupled with security groups tailored to the instances' needs. Subsequently, I customised the launch template, accessible through the settings menu. This entailed configuring instances for launch within the freshly designated subnets, complete with security groups attached . MGN creates an account-level template serving as the foundation for all forthcoming instances, forming part of the lifecycle. Additionally, server-specific templates stemming from the account-level template accommodate any server-specific configurations necessitated by unique requirements.


The final steps in completing the lifecycle journey entail deploying test instances, validating the success of replication. This journey extends to the launch of cutover instances, ultimately culminating in the lifecycle's finalisation.


AWS MGN Source Server

In retrospect, I've come to recognise that comprehending the process paves the way for a remarkably straightforward experience. While a degree of patience is required, allowing MGN the time to weave its magic, the process eventually becomes streamlined. Without a doubt, MGN emerges as an exceptional solution for swift and efficient lift-and-shift migrations to the AWS ecosystem.


About Innablr


At Innablr, our team of cloud experts specialise in Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Cloud Native Technologies (Kubernetes & Serverless). We have helped numerous enterprises establish a solid foundation for their cloud environment. Our proven and repeatable process enables our customers to build a sustainable cloud governance process adhering to the FinOps principles, allowing them to optimise their cloud costs while still delivering on business goals.


We pride ourselves on providing vendor-neutral advice that is focused on achieving client outcomes. With a wide view of common challenges, adoption patterns, and growth opportunities, our partnership approach is built on collaboration and knowledge transfer that accelerates skills development for your existing cloud teams.


So, if you’re looking to migrate your workloads to the cloud, reach out to Innablr. We’d be happy to assist you with our range of services and solutions that are tailored to your specific needs.


Rourke O'Sullivan, Engineer @ Innablr



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