AWS Migrations: The Importance of the Mobilize Phase

Mar 30, 2021
Chris Townsend
The most important part of a migration is the plan itself. If you take the time to plan your migration, you will find that you can move faster, more efficiently, and with a higher success rate.

The most important part of a migration is the plan itself. If you take the time to plan your migration, you will find that you can move faster, more efficiently, and with a higher success rate. Taking the time to build, design, and then verify your migration process helps build experience within your team and verify that your plan of action will work as expected. However, the Mobilize Phase is more than just planning for your migration. You also need to design your targeted landing zone that you plan to occupy with your newly-migrated servers.

When planning your migrations, the focus needs to be on understanding the dependencies of your workloads and your targets. Everyone wants to upgrade their workloads to the newest serverless infrastructure or redesign each component to work faster. However, this is not always achievable through the first migration and it takes a long time to re-architect a complex workload. Moving to AWS is not a race, it is a journey, and everyone must start somewhere. By identifying the dependencies and how your workloads function, you will spot ‘low-hanging fruits’ that are the ideal and perfect candidates for modernization and re-architecting. Once these have been identified, your migration planning can revolve around your easy-to-move and highest benefit workloads, showing the benefits of moving to AWS quickly, so the momentum does not run out on the more complex and slow-moving workloads. Simultaneously, the landing zone for your workloads will be designed and launched to provide a home for your future workloads.

A landing zone is more than just a place to host your servers. It is an environment following best practices and industry standards to provide a safe, consistent, and scalable environment to support your growth within AWS.

A landing zone is more than just a place to host your servers. It is an environment following best practices and industry standards to provide a safe, consistent, and scalable environment to support your growth within AWS. Following the Well-Architected Framework, your landing zone will become your starting point for your organization to deploy workloads quickly into AWS that follow your organization's security and compliance requirements.

A landing zone is made up of multiple AWS accounts configured to work together to provide function and isolation between services and roles. These accounts are uniquely configured and based on the function and security compliance that workloads need. Account roles, such as billing, would be configured to provide your finance or account team access to billing and budget information, while the audit and logging accounts would be configured for archiving access and systems logs and provide a method to prevent log tampering. Each AWS account can then be accessed by the correct user with the correct access level to ensure they only are reaching the services needed. Leveraging native AWS security controls, you can deploy account-based guardrails automatically that provide configuration checks for easy monitoring of the security checks. These guard rails are critical to helping ensure teams are experimenting with the cloud in a safe and controlled manner.

Once you have your landing zone in place, security guardrails configured, and workloads discovered and migration planned, it is time to practice your migration with a sample workload. Within a Mobilize Phase, proof of concept (POC) is performed to ensure that the migration plan works and the procedures and documentation are ready for the execution phase. This can be as small as a handful of servers, a piece of an application, or an easy-to-move non-client impacting application. It needs to be important enough for the business to consider the POC necessary, but not so large as to impact day-to-day business in the event of an unexpected outcome in the migration window. This process is not only important to prove your plan will work but provides the necessary experience for the team to move additional workload and feel confident for the next phase.

The Mobilize Phase provides teams with the necessary plan, environment, and experience to perform a successful migration and is a critical phase to perform when dealing with a large migration. While a dedicated phase is not always necessary, the methodology and process should be leveraged to help ensure your workload is moved securely and as efficiently as possible.

At EPI-USE AWS Services, we help clients through this process of the Assessment, Mobilize, and Migration Phases. Not only do we help clients with the methodology, but we help them perform their migration and provide the team with the experience and knowledge needed.

Find out more in our NXTsoft – Rapid Windows Migration to AWS success story.

Please contact us for more information.

Further reading: Migration Optimization and Licensing Assessment Program

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