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Three things I learned moving an application to AWS

Join me as I discuss getting started in cloud transformation, and what I learned about cloud migration when I moved an application to AWS.

Jun 08, 2023 • 4 Minute Read

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Cloud transformation has become a hot topic as companies move to the cloud in increasing numbers. These days, the world of IT is all about cloud adoption. The basic technologies are in place, and now it’s up to companies to make use of the new tools at their disposal. 

That shift, however, is not always easy. The cloud opens up new possibilities, but taking full advantage requires migrating technologies, upskilling workforces, and transforming businesses.

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My AWS cloud transformation journey

Recently, I spent some time exploring the technology side of how to migrate to the cloud (specifically, AWS). I’ve used cloud technologies before, but I wanted to think about – and work through – what it really looks like to move existing applications to the cloud.

Of course, every use case is unique and there’s plenty more to learn, but hopefully these three tips can help you through your own cloud migration journey.

Lessons I learned transitioning to the AWS cloud

Here are a few takeaways from my journey to AWS.

1. There are many ways to migrate data to AWS

One of the challenges I ran into moving my application to AWS involved data migration. Specifically, there were just so many different ways to do it! I had to spend some time learning and understanding several of them before I had a good grasp on which method would work best for me.

There are several ways to get data out of your old database, and several ways to get it into a new database in the cloud. This adds a layer of complexity. Next time, I think it would be helpful for me to answer some basic questions at the beginning, such as:

  • Do I need to synchronize data for a time, or just do a one-and-done migration?
  • How much data are we talking about, and will that make it more challenging to get it into the cloud?

Whatever the case is, there are tools available to make migration possible. Understanding your use case well can help you select the appropriate tool or method to use.

2. It really helps to understand networking

Most of the unexpected issues and “gotchas” I encountered when moving my application to AWS centered around networking. Specifically, the virtual networking involved in AWS is configured and secured on multiple levels. I found that I needed to be aware of all of these levels in order to get components to talk to each other.

For example, security groups have rules (basically firewall rules) that determine what can talk to what. You also have access control lists (ACLs) at the VPC level, which can also control and restrict network traffic. When something isn’t working, it’s not always clear where the problem lies.

Being aware of these different networking concepts in AWS can go a long way when it comes to quickly identifying a networking problem!

3. AWS CloudShell is awesome!

One of the most useful (and surprising!) services wasn’t even responsible for running any of my application components: AWS CloudShell. CloudShell gives you an ad-hoc Linux environment located within the AWS cloud, and it comes with a variety of useful tools pre-installed.

Because this environment is located within the AWS cloud, it also makes it easy to get access to and interact with your various application resources.

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Want to learn more?

If you want to dive in and get hands-on yourself, check out my new course, Move an Application to the Cloud with AWS. I walk you through the process of moving a simple application to the cloud.

And for more cloud migration advice, check out: