by Daniel Ives

A departure from the norm

AWS Training & Certifications have made a number of novel decisions in developing their latest offering: Migrating to AWS.

Firstly, it's only two days long.

Secondly, it covers services that were not generally available at the time of writing.

Thirdly, unlike all the other official AWS courses, it seems to be process-oriented rather than feature-oriented, leading to a less "packed" course which doesn't talk about service after service after feature after feature.

Before any of my colleagues get excited about early finishes or any of our customers start thinking "maybe this course won't be very good value for money", let me emphasise that I'm certain this is not the situation. Based on announcements AWS made towards the end of 2016, such as the partnership with VMWare, Server Migration Service and EC2 Systems Manager, it's not unreasonable to assume that AWS will be focusing a lot of attention on the migration/hybrid integration area this year.

What that means in terms of this course is that it will be frequently iterated over, the "preview" services will go into general availability, more services will be previewed and beta'd and GA'd and this course will get fuller and longer, probably growing into the AWS-standard three-day duration.

The Migrating to AWS course: What does it cover?

As mentioned above, it's currently a two-day course.

In brief, Day One is about planning your migration, Day Two is about doing it.

In longer form, the course starts by discussing a model of the migration process, looking at the drivers, the possible strategies, the organisational roles during your migration.

It then moves on to how to analyse your existing portfolio (and tools to perform discovery for those servers that fell down the back of the sofa), to enable you to make intelligent decisions about what needs to be prioritised. There is also a lab that introduces the AWS Application Discovery Service.

Next up is planning your migration - prioritising that portfolio, selecting a strategy and methodology and defining your success criteria.

This is followed by a discussion of the migration considerations or "things to make sure you haven't forgotten to think about"; such as data ingress considerations, building your VPC correctly and migrating your database. There's a choice of labs on using the Database Migration Service to get that important relational data into the cloud.

Server migration strategies come next - how should you move your pets into the cloud? Copy the OS, copy the whole VM, or just the moving parts? Or do you purchase from AWS Marketplace? This module also introduces delegates to the Amazon Server Migration Service (which currently only works with VMWare vCenter but I have a strong suspicion will support more platforms soon).

Finally, the course discusses monitoring and optimisation. The most important question about migrating to the cloud is "was it worth it?"

[In my opinion the answer is yes, just in case you were wondering...]

Who is the course aimed at?

The course assumes that you will have already attended Architecting on AWS, or have the equivalent knowledge, so EC2, VPC, ELB and similar will not be a mystery to you. You might even be AWS certified. The follow-on courses would include Advanced Architecting on AWS because of the coverage of interesting network configurations, DevOps Engineering on AWS because why are you migrating to the cloud if not to get more agile and possibly Security Operations on AWS if you're working in a regulated environment.

Even if you only did your migration from Metal to Virtual a few years ago, this course will help to provide a common vocabulary and process for thinking and talking about migrating.

Final thoughts

The Migrating to AWS course seems to me to be an interesting addition to the official AWS curriculum, and I look forward to talking to our wide range of customers about how to migrate in the near future.