November 2017

AWS Database Migration Pitfall #4 of 4: Making Perfect the Enemy of Good

Welcome to the final installment of our blog series on AWS database migration pitfalls. In addition to reading the preceding 3 blogs you can download our eBook for further details on all four.

Good Enough is Good Enough

AWS Database Migration Pitfall #4 of 4: Making Perfect the Enemy of Good

It might not be an impressive statement to engender admiration, but it’s true nonetheless. It’s important to balance the drive for excellence with the need for momentum.

In blog #1, we discussed the pitfall of failing to set clear goals, and blog #2 covered failing to evaluate all AWS database options. It may seem like pitfall #4, making perfect the enemy of good, contradicts that advice, but it’s important to bear in mind that perfect is always elusive.

Prioritizing your goals and educating yourself on choices are important preliminary steps, but there comes a point where a project becomes thwarted by “analysis paralysis.” The benefits of further planning won’t outweigh the delay in launch.

Making Perfect the Enemy of Good vs. “Lift and Shift”

Making perfect the enemy of good is the opposite of “lift and shift,” in which organizations don’t make any changes, or redesign the database and data processing engine.

But you must evaluate the tradeoff of each addition. Your biggest gains may come from two to three substantial things. Piling on additional services may not only delay your launch, but unnecessarily inflate your costs.

Incremental Improvements are The Norm in AWS Database Migrations

The TCO benefits of AWS increase over time. According to IDC, “There is a definite correlation between the length of time customers have been using Amazon cloud services infrastructure and their returns. At 36 months, the organizations are realizing $3.50 in benefits for every $1.00 invested in AWS; at 60 months, they are realizing $8.40 for every $1.00 invested. This relationship between length of time using Amazon cloud infrastructure services and the customers’ accelerating returns is due to customers leveraging the more optimized environment to generate more applications along a learning curve.”

Iterative progress is the norm. There’s simply no need to wait for perfection prior to migrating.

Learning and Growing with AWS

The rate at which AWS innovates continues to accelerate. During his 2016 re:Invent keynote, CEO Andy Jassy stated that AWS added around 1,000 significant new services and features in 2016, up from 722 the previous year. Jassy stated, “Think about that. As a builder on the AWS platform, every day you wake up, on average, with three new capabilities you can choose to use or not.”

The nature of AWS necessitates growth and change. Even with the best initial migration, you’ll need to evaluate new product offerings over time.


An AWS database migration isn’t a rocket launch. Even with zero rearchitecting, you’ll still realize numerous benefits, such as translating CapEx to OpEx. While failure to consider rearchitecting can result in leaving money on the table, it’s not going to result in a catastrophic failure for your business.

A skilled AWS partner like dbSeer can help you launch successfully in a reasonable time frame. Contact us to discuss your unique priorities.


Welcome to number three in our series of four blogs on mistakes commonly made in AWS database migrations. You can read the first two blogs, “Failing to Set Clear Goals,” and, “Failing to Evaluate All AWS Database Options,” and download our eBook for further details on all four.

Optimize your AWS Database Migration to Reduce Costs

One well-known benefit of cloud computing is the ability to translate capital expenses to operating expenses. Moving to AWS in a simple “lift and shift” manner will achieve this objective. However, optimizing your AWS architecture can further reduce costs by as much as 80%.

Determine Total Cost of Ownership

Weighing the financial considerations of owning and operating a data center facility versus employing Amazon Web Services requires detailed and careful analysis.

AWS has a calculator you can use to estimate your Total Cost of Ownership in moving to the cloud. The TCO website states, “Our TCO calculators allow you to estimate the cost savings when using AWS and provide a detailed set of reports that can be used in executive presentations.” The TCO Calculator is an excellent tool to start off with.

Leaving money on the table is a common AWS database migration pitfall. The AWS TCO Calculator is an excellent tool to start investigating sources of savings.
The AWS TCO Calculator can provide an instant summary report which shows you the three year TCO comparison by cost categories.

Include Both Direct and Indirect Costs of AWS Database Migration

Network World published four steps to calculating the true cost of migrating to the cloud. As part of step 1, “Audit your current IT infrastructure costs,” author Mike Chan writes, “You should take a holistic approach and consider the total cost of using and maintaining your on-premise IT investment over time, and not just what you pay for infrastructure. This calculation will include direct and indirect costs.”

And the same considerations must be made in calculating your costs when considering your unique approach to migration.

Pay Only for What You Use, Use Only What You Need

AWS customers pay only for computing resources consumed. But to fully leverage this benefit, you must be sure you’re not consuming more than necessary.

For example, enterprises often size servers to support peak use to ensure high availability. But rather than remaining sized for max processing, you can code your apps to support the elasticity offered by AWS. Such adjustments could include rearchitecting a processing engine to process on a smaller machine, or shutting it down to create a bigger machine, or processing across ten machines if the architecture supports partitioning.

Taking full take advantage of this requires the expertise of a knowledgeable AWS partner.

AWS Database Options

While AWS easily hosts a variety of licensed databases, just shifting your databases to an Amazon EC2 instance will require you to continue paying those licensing fees. But by selecting AWS database options, such as Redshift and Aurora, you can eliminate many of those existing license fees. This often requires you to also move your existing logic, structure, and code, which can be both time-consuming and expensive to convert to another platform.

However, the savings can be very high, enabling a quick return on investment.

Ensure You’re Not Leaving Money on The Table

Rearchitecting requires both time and a financial investment. Many organizations lack the expertise in-house to conduct the re-architecture properly. It’s therefore difficult to determine the cost of making changes, and the potential savings that could result.

By analyzing your existing bills and structure, a skilled AWS partner like dbSeer can estimate potential cost savings by taking these types of steps. Contact us and we’ll help figure out how you can save every penny possible.

AWS Database Migration Pitfalls: You must evaluate all the options to see where each piece fits.

We’re addressing four mistakes commonly made in AWS database migrations. You can also read the first blog, “AWS Database Migration Pitfall #1 of 4: Failing to Set Clear Goals,” and download our eBook for further details on all four.

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

It’s essential to conduct thorough research prior to making any major purchase. Getting educated about your AWS database options is a necessary prerequisite to making the selections that will best accomplish your migration goals.

Moving your existing infrastructure in a “lift and shift” style might possibly be ideal. But you can’t know that is the best path without first considering the alternatives.

Insight from AWS Chief Evangelist

On the AWS blog, AWS Chief Evangelist Jeff Barr wrote, “I have learned that the developers of the most successful applications and services use a rigorous performance testing and optimization process to choose the right instance type(s) for their application.” To help others do this, he proceeded to review some important EC2 concepts and look at each of the instance types that make up the EC2 instance family.

Barr continues, “The availability of multiple instance types, combined with features like EBS-optimization, and cluster networking allow applications to be optimized for increased performance, improved application resilience, and lower costs.”

And it is that availability of numerous options that results in opportunities for optimization. But evaluating the options first is necessary to know which configuration is optimal.

AWS Database Migration Choices: Open Source, Relational, Decoupled?

Just as the EC2 instance family is comprised of numerous instance types, there are multiple database options available to you when migrating to AWS. Choosing between licensed and open source is one of the many AWS database choices you’ll have to make. Be sure to evaluate columnar data store versus relational, and consider NoSQL options.

Additionally, AWS offers a wide variety of storage solutions with a corresponding variety of price points. In rearchitecting systems for the cloud, you may want to consider:

  • Keeping your raw data in cheap data storage, such as S3
    • And using services such as Elasticsearch, Spark, or Athena to meet app requirements
  • Decoupling batch processes from storage and databases
  • Decoupling data stores for various apps from a single on-premise data store
  • Streamlining time-consuming, mundane infrastructure maintenance tasks, such as backup, high availability

Developing an AWS Database Migration Plan to Improve Infrastructure

Failing to plan is planning to fail. Our first pitfall, “Failing to Set Clear Goals,” addressed the risks of not setting priorities. Once objectives have been prioritized, you must consider how to rearchitect your legacy workloads in order to best meet your goals.

In addition to maximizing cost savings, rearchitecting can enable you to improve lifecycle maintenance and incorporate new services like real-time data analytics and machine learning.

Be sure to:

Download our eBook for more information and contact us. We can help you figure out how to not just leverage the cloud, but leverage it properly.