Why and How to Modernize your Legacy On-prem Databases with AWS Cloud


As organizations generate, process, and store ever-larger quantities of data, they need efficient databases to ensure the data security, confidentiality, and accessibility. In the past, these databases were part of their on-premises infrastructure. But these databases come with many constraints that today’s companies want freedom from. Cloud-based databases on AWS enable them to modernize their legacy databases and break free from their constraints. Here’s how.

Why You Should Break Free from Legacy Databases

Legacy on-prem databases were designed for static installations with a smaller user base where organizations had to do capacity planning and provision the database accordingly. But this caused practical problems. If the traffic was less than expected, resources remained idle so the company ended up overpaying but if the traffic was higher than expected, performance suffered. Today’s businesses – including yours – operate in a highly dynamic environment that these older databases cannot keep up with.

For one, the amount of data being produced by organizations is fast outgrowing their on-premise capabilities to store it all. Moreover, if you create or use data-hungry and/or delay-sensitive applications; on-site databases will be too costly to procure and too complex to configure, administer, and maintain.

Another problem is that expensive annual licenses for on-prem databases can lead to spiraling costs and limit your flexibility to scale the database up or down. Then there are the concerns about a business disruption resulting in costly downtime and potentially catastrophic data losses. Such disruptions are rare with cloud environments.

Finally, modern development practices and an agile team can help you react quickly to changing requirements or market conditions. But a legacy database cannot support these requirements. And if you use a microservice architecture, you will need change-data-capture mechanisms and logical replication of data changes in the database. This is only possible with cloud-based databases.

Why You Should Embrace AWS Cloud Databases

So now you know how a legacy database can cause more problems than it solves. Managing these databases can be incredibly difficult, time-consuming, and expensive – especially to run at scale with high availability and reliability.

AWS offers high-performance, cost-effective, and fully managed databases so you no longer have to worry about the complexities of database management and data warehouse administration. These database solutions are purpose-built for organizations.

You get fast, interactive query performance that’s 3-5x the performance of on-prem alternatives. Moreover, these solutions can support 20 million+ requests per second. In short, you get a cloud-based database that offers high performance at any scale.

Reliability is another key differentiator of AWS databases. You can confidently run any kind of business-critical workload and build scalable and secure enterprise applications. Also, your data will be safeguarded by highly reliable AWS infrastructure in secure data centers.

Finally, AWS database solutions like Amazon Aurora and DynamoDB provide all the security and availability of commercial on-prem databases – at 1/10th the cost. Amazon itself has cut its database operating costs by 50% by migrating a massive 50 petabytes of data from Oracle to AWS, so there’s no reason why your organization cannot achieve a similar outcome.

By moving to AWS databases, Amazon has also reduced its database administration and hardware management costs and reduced the latency of its most critical services by 40% despite handling 2X transaction volumes.

Amazon Aurora and DynamoDB: Built for the Cloud and for Modern Organizations

Amazon Aurora is a cloud-native relational database compatible with both MySQL and PostgreSQL. It is designed to offer high performance and availability and up to 99.99% uptime SLA at a global scale – which bulky and unwieldly legacy databases cannot provide. This makes Amazon Aurora ideal for performance-intensive applications, Internet-scale applications, and critical workloads.

Aurora has a purpose-built storage spanning multiple Availability Zones (AZ) for maximum availability and durability. Its log-based design further improves performance and reduces IOPS for both speed and cost-effectiveness. Further, your database storage will scale automatically with usage so there’s no need for overprovisioning to handle unexpected spikes.

DynamoDB is also a fully managed database built for the cloud’s dynamic environment. This NoSQL database service offers single-digit millisecond performance and near-unlimited throughput. Moreover, it can scale up or down on-demand to effectively handle traffic peaks for many kinds of high-performance applications.

DynamoDB also secures your data, both at-rest and in-transit. Like Aurora, it offers an SLA of up to 99.99% availability. It also offers:

  • Continuous backups with Point-in-time recovery (PITR) to protect data from accidental writes or deletes
  • Automated multi-region replication with global tables
  • In-memory caching to deliver fast read performance for tables at scale
  • Data export tools to extract actionable insights from data
  • Easy capture of table changes with DynamoDB Streams

Further, both Amazon Aurora and DynamoDB are based on pay-as-you-use pricing, meaning you only pay for the capacity your application uses. There are no annual licenses and you pay for read and write units, so you can convert your hefty capital expenditures (CAPEX) into more predictable operational expenditures (OPEX) for greater control over costs and revenues.

Other AWS Services to Free You from the Burden of On-prem Databases

Several AWS services are available to help you streamline the move from on-prem databases to AWS. For example, Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) is ideal for the long-term storage of relational and non-relational data. It is built to retrieve and protect any amount of data from anywhere and for many use cases including data lakes, cloud-native applications, and mobile apps. Amazon S3 also offers high scalability, data availability, and performance to match your business requirements.

Another useful service to help you break the shackles of on-prem databases is AWS Database Migration Service (AWS DMS). With AWS DMS, you can migrate any commercial or open-source database to AWS quickly and securely. You can also continuously replicate data with low latency and consolidate databases into a petabyte-scale data warehouse.

Two other useful services to consider are Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) and AWS Schema Conversion Tool (AWS SCT). Amazon RDS simplifies the setup, operation, and scaling of databases in the AWS cloud. It’s ideal to build web or mobile applications and you don’t have to worry about self-managing your database. AWS SCT converts the source database schema and most of the database code objects for more predictable heterogeneous database migrations.

Both AWS DMS and AWS SCT are suitable for “self-service” migration. But if you prefer migration assistance, you can sign up with AWS Professional Services and choose an AWS-certified migration partner like Axcess.

Break Free from Legacy Databases with AWS and Axcess

In the cloud era, traditional relational databases are outgunned and outmaneuvered. To take full advantage of the cloud’s flexibility, speed, and cost-effectiveness, consider transitioning from these legacy systems to cloud-native databases on AWS.

Axcess can help you get started with the transition. As we have seen, cloud-based databases like Amazon Aurora and DynamoDB offer a host of advantages to prepare you for a cloud-driven future.  Contact us to get started with your migration journey.


Opensource cloud databases backed by AWS 24X7 uptime SLA are becoming a choice for running enterprise applications. Organizations should break free from legacy on-prem databases and embrace cloud-native databases running on AWS.

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