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AWS Eases Health IT Cloud Server Migration with New Tool

AWS Server Migration Service allows organizations to automate, schedule, and track the replication of their server environment when transition to AWS EC2.

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

Amazon Web Services (AWS) released their Server Migration Service (SMS) for enterprise cloud migration last week to assist organizations needing to move their existing IT infrastructure to the cloud.

AWS cloud migration tool

AWS Server Migration Service assists organizations moving to AWS Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) without scheduling prolonged maintenance periods for data migration. AWS Server Migration Service simplifies and streamlines the process of migrating existing virtualized applications to AWS making it easier to coordinate large-scale server migrations.

AWS Server Migration Service allows organizations to automate, schedule, and track incremental replication of live virtual machines and server volumes for a visible and simplified process. SMS is currently only available for VMware environments, with other vendor compatibility planned for later release.  

The agentless service is free to use for current AWS EC2 customers. Users download a free virtual appliance that connects the cloud via a gateway. SMS replicates the virtual machines onto the cloud and once the replication process is finished, the complete Amazon Machine Image (AMI) containing the replicated environment can be used to launch a new EC2 cloud environment.

Organizations using SMS to manage server migrations can:

  • Simplify the cloud migration process: Begin migrating a group of servers with just a few clicks in the AWS Management Console. Once the migration has initiated, the SMS manages all the complexities of the migration process including automatically replicating volumes of live servers to AWS and creating Amazon Machine Images (AMI) periodically. You can quickly launch EC2 instances from AMIs in the AWS Management Console.
  • Orchestrate multi-server migration:. SMS orchestrates server migrations by allowing users to schedule replications and track progress for a group of servers. Users can schedule initial replications, configure replication intervals, and track progress for each server in the AWS Management Console.
  • Test server migrations incrementally: With support for incremental replication, SMS allows fast, scalable testing of migrated servers. Because SMS replicates incremental changes to on-premises servers and transfers only the delta to the cloud, users can test small changes iteratively and save on network bandwidth.
  • Support the most widely used operating systems: SMS supports replication of operating system images containing Windows as well as several major Linux distributions.
  • Minimize downtime: Incremental SMS replication minimizes the business impact associated with application downtime during final cutover.

Amazon’s announcement comes in the wake of their collaboration with VMware and will assist organizations migrating VMware applications to AWS public cloud. AWS is now VMware’s primary public cloud infrastructure partner and VMware is now AWS’s primary private cloud partner in their strategic alliance.

VMware and AWS partnered in response to customer requests for an easier way to run on-premise environments using AWS as a public cloud infrastructure and VMware's virtualized private cloud together as a cohesive hybrid cloud solution. Traditionally organizations run applications via vSphere in their private cloud while separately running applications on AWS.

Migrating data from one storage type to another is a complicated process making any feature that can simplify and organize the transition is valuable to any IT infrastructure. For healthcare organizations in particular, choosing the correct method is highly important.

Electronic health information and health information exchange make cloud storage migration a delicate process for healthcare organizations. While all an organization’s data doesn’t need to be stored in the cloud, having the most used applications and files stored on a cloud server should result in streamlined management and user convenience.

Many healthcare organizations prefer AWS for their healthcare cloud deployments, ranking it in the top three most trusted healthcare cloud platforms for healthcare organizations in a recent survey.

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