Cloud Migration

Increasingly more enterprises switch to AWS by performing the migration themselves or outsourcing AWS migration services. According to Amazon, 51% of AWS adopters report reduced operational costs, 62% IT staff productivity increase, and 94% downtime reduction.

But while AWS migration is advantageous for a business when done correctly, it can be a highly costly transformation. So in this article, we’ll cover the main cost factors of AWS migration and provide some tips for cutting them down.


What makes AWS migration costly?

The cost of an AWS migration project can range from thousands to millions of dollars, with the price of AWS infrastructure alone worth approximately $100,000. In addition, there are dozens of other migration cost factors.

Here are the main ones:

  • The state of legacy IT infrastructure
  • Migration strategy development
  • IT team training and augmentation
  • AWS infrastructure setup
  • Data transfer 
  • Testing and QA
  • Cloud maintenance and administration
  • Hidden migration costs


Five tips for cutting AWS migration costs

1. Calculating migration costs in advance

Organizations should get a good understanding of  AWS migration costs as early as possible. This step will help identify most migration expenses, including hidden ones, and make them more manageable later on. 

For this, decision-makers should calculate AWS’s total cost of ownership (TCO), which is the total cost of using the cloud platform, including operating expenses. To simplify the task, an organization can use the AWS Pricing Calculator to estimate the cost of AWS tools and services it plans to use throughout the project.

As already mentioned, multiple factors can affect the total cost of AWS ownership, so the more comprehensive the assessment you can make, the better. Thus, through a TCO calculation an organization can form adequate and realistic expectations regarding future AWS investments and allocate them more wisely.


2. Opting for the right AWS migration strategy

There are seven official AWS migration strategies, typically referred to as 7Rs. They all vary in price, complexity, and effort required, so the final strategy choice can be critical for the overall project cost. If price reduction is your number one priority during AWS migration, we recommend opting for less invasive strategies as they are less resource-consuming. 

For example, an organization can consider retiring some legacy apps instead of refactoring them unless they are critical for the company’s day-to-day operation. Alternatively, an organization can consider retaining its legacy on-premise apps as they are to reduce cloud spend significantly and redistribute cloud resources more adequately.


3. Implementing AWS FinOps

If an organization is looking to reduce the cost of migration, it should consider implementing AWS FinOps. This framework, officially provided by AWS, focuses on optimizing cloud spending continuously, which can save companies tens of thousands of dollars in the long run.

In more sophisticated scenarios, companies can optimize their cloud prices in near real-time. The FinOps methodology includes automated cost management tools that collect data from various sources (cloud usage data, IT finance data, CMDB/ITAM, and so on) and then highlight bottlenecks and areas for improvement.


4. Streamlining development and deployment

Improving the efficiency of AWS-based development should also be another priority for companies focused on getting the most value for their penny. Thus, an organization can implement DevOps practices to speed up AWS deployment and switch to the cloud faster, significantly reducing IT costs.

AWS offers dozens of tools that allow professionals to quickly and painlessly implement the DevOps methodology, as long as the company is generally aware of this approach. Developers can use AWS CodeBuild to establish continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) pipelines or AWS Lambda to build new apps as independent containers and microservices.


5. Engaging AWS consulting experts

Among other things, we recommend consulting AWS experts at the start of your migration project. While consultancy requires some investments, experienced AWS specialists can help identify and eliminate hidden costs and develop a migration plan to save you money in the long run.

In addition, a consulting company can augment the organization’s internal workforce with experienced cloud architects, PMs, or DevOps engineers. This way, companies can access the required skills and expertise and thus avoid developing them in the internal IT department, saving time and resources.


Final thoughts 

While undoubtedly beneficial, AWS migration can be extremely costly, with the price of a large-scale migration project ranging from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars. Fortunately, organizations can take some measures to optimize the cost of migration and thus reduce the financial burden.

Organizations can calculate migration costs early on, develop more cost-effective AWS migration strategies, and adopt AWS FinOps and DevOps methodologies. In addition, organizations should seek the help of AWS experts early on, as they can identify hidden migration costs and develop a more effective migration strategy tailored to the company’s specifics and requirements.