Migrating Databases on AWS Cloud

By: | Gautam Gupta

Publish Date: September 18, 2023

I have worked with a lot of different customers where they had different kinds of on prim databases and data warehouses based on SQL Server, Oracle, DB2 and others. Now that most of our customers are trying to leverage AWS cloud for its scalability and flexibility or thinking of moving towards AWS, there are several challenges that they seem to face when they start moving their databases to the cloud.

  • How can I migrate my data in the cloud?
  • Will my Data on cloud be secured?
  • Who will manage my data in the cloud?
  • What ROI will I get after moving to the cloud?

Need for Database Migration
Many factors can influence the decision to migrate databases in an organization. These are few of the reasons:

  • End of life for existing infrastructure and needs to be refreshed
  • Unable to scale due to limited storage capacity
  • Changing business demands
  • Need for High Availability and Disaster Recovery systems
  • Non-availability of resources to manage on-premise Databases

cloud network
Migration Approach
Most customers start their journey by moving small workloads to the cloud to get the feel and get their feet wet. Usually, brand new customers start to launch their databases on EC2 or Elastic Compute. EC2 allows you to run your VM’s etc. and get the hang of it. Once they are comfortable running on EC2, then they move towards relational databases services (RDS) which is more of a managed offering provided by AWS.
With large enterprise customers mostly, what we have seen is that they have a large footprint of various on-premise databases or data warehouses, now the story changes to more of migration of their existing database or data warehouses to AWS cloud.
There are a couple of options for these kinds of customers, the first lot of customers use on prim database engines that they are already familiar with, they just want to move to the cloud. One of our manufacturing customers wanted to move their on prim SQL Server onto the cloud. For this customer we recommended to use the native tools that are available on AWS for migration since the engine is still going to remain the same, it was simply lifted and shift of the server from on prim to AWS. We used AWS’s Direct Connect to establish dedicated bandwidth between the customer’s data center and AWS.
AWS Direct Connect is a cloud service solution that makes it easy to establish a dedicated network connection between your premises and AWS. With AWS Direct Connect, you can create private connectivity between AWS and datacenter, office, or colocation environment, which in many cases can reduce your network costs, increase bandwidth throughput, and provide a more consistent network experience than Internet-based connections.
For large databases or data warehouses, AWS provides SnowBall, that is a device that AWS provides which can be plugged into a network for moving the data. AWS loads the data from this device into S3. Then AWS also provides SnowMobile, which can be used for substantial data volume. This is a lot faster than pushing the data across the wire.
AWS Snowmobile is an Exabyte-scale data transfer service used to move large amounts of data to AWS. One can transfer up to 100PB per Snowmobile, a 45-foot long ruggedized shipping container, pulled by a semi-trailer truck. Snowmobile makes it easy to move massive volumes of data to the cloud, that includes video libraries, image repositories, or even a complete data center migration. Transferring data with Snowmobile is more secure, fast and cost-effective.
A lot of customers with heterogeneous data sources are often stuck with enterprise tools, though it provides extensive features and fulfills business demands, the cost sometimes becomes a factor and maintaining multiple licenses is a nightmare. Hence a lot of customers are looking at AWS to move their data from commercial databases to opensource databases. For these kinds of migrations, some tools help customers to a great extent. Though these tools have their limitations, they still get the job done.
AWS recommends Schema Conversion tools and Data Migration Services (DMS) for such kind of migrations. For example, you have on-premise Oracle database that you plan to migrate to PostgreSQL or MySQL on AWS; the schema conversion tool is a downloadable executable that one can run locally. The schema conversion tool will analyze your source database and generate a report of what needs to be changed; it will also generate SQL scripts for objects that can be migrated automatically. For the things that cannot be automatically changed, it will provide you a report as to what needs to be done for migration. To the best of its ability, it will translate the stored procedures and other objects to the target database, but as I said it not 100%.
AWS does provide best practices for modernizing or migrating the database to the cloud; these can be found on
Benefits of Data Migration
The trend of moving databases to an entirely new environment continues, but the solution is not suitable or meant for everyone. Taking decisions hastily won’t turn out any better, as first, you need to understand the possible ways of advantages it can offer. Here are a few:

  • Upgrades underlying applications and services
  • It can help scale resources and meet the need of growing business data
  • Boost efficiency and effectiveness, while keeping IT overhead as low as possible
  • Provides pay-as-you-go model

Once the data migration is accomplished, one of the major benefits that DBA’s get as with most of the heavy lifting now done AWS regarding Database management services, the role of a typical DBA is also getting transformed. The type of work that remain for DBA is primarily performance optimization, working with application teams for improving application performance, they are delivering value to the business.
YASH Technologies can help you migrate your enterprise applications, data, mobile applications, and just about anything else, to a secure and reliable Cloud infrastructure
Gautam Gupta- Asst. VP @YASH Technologies

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