AWS Database Migration Service: What Is It and How It Works

What does the AWS database migration service entail, how does it work, and who needs it? Is it the magic wand for moving databases that migration experts believe it to be? Today, we’re breaking down what the acronyms mean and how they can help you and your business. Let’s jump right into it. 

What Is an AWS Database Migration Service?

Before we get into what the AWS database migration service (DMS) is, let’s first break down the acronyms one by one. For starters, AWS stands for Amazon Web Services, which is a comprehensive cloud computing platform, provided by, well, Amazon. When talking about AWS, most experts are referring to the suite of cloud services, which include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Computing power
  • Storage options
  • Comprehensive tools that help businesses and people build and scale their digital infrastructures

With that in mind, an AWS database migration service is a fully managed service that helps you migrate databases easily and securely to AWS. Whether it’s changing database engines or shifting from on-premises databases to the cloud – AWS DMS is probably the solution.

In addition to its many features, which we’ll soon break down, AWS DMS supports various database engines. These include Oracle, MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, and other engines and scenarios.

Not only that, but AWS DMS supports minimal downtime during migration, which ensures a smooth transition without any disruption to business operations. Essentially, those looking to relocate their databases to the cloud in a relatively hassle-free way should consider AWS DMS.

Key Features of the AWS Database Migration Service

The primary purpose of an AWS database migration service is to facilitate data migration between different database engines or from an on-premise database to the AWS cloud. It has key features that allow it to help users migrate data easily and securely. They include:

  • Database Engine Support: As we mentioned, AWS DMS supports a variety of database engines, including PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, and others.
  • Schema and Data Migration: Supports both schema and data migration, which ensures both the structure and data of the databases are accurately migrated.
  • Change Data Capture (CDC): DMS uses CDC to identify and replicate changes made to the source database in near real-time. That ensures that the target databases always stay up to date.
  • Flexible Endpoint Management: Using the AWS management console, API, or command-line interface (CLI), users can manage the entire migration process. That flexibility allows them to choose the method that best fits their workflow.

In addition to ease of use and database management, many use the AWS database migration services to minimize downtime during the migration process. Through continuous data replication, users can keep their source and target databases in sync. All of these things ensure that there’s a reduced impact on their business operations.

What’s more, the AWS DMS is secure and reliable and offers features like data encryption in transit and at rest. It also provides options for monitoring and logging to ensure the reliability of the entire migration process.

How the AWS Database Migration Service Works

The AWS DMS works by facilitating the migration of data between source and target databases. Here’s a simplified overview of how the process usually works.

#1 Source and Target Endpoints

Users start by defining the source and target endpoints for their databases. The source endpoint refers to where the existing database resides, which is typically either on-premise or in the cloud. The target endpoint is the location where the data is being migrated, which is usually within the AWS cloud.

#2 Replication Instance

To process the entire data migration, the AWS DMS uses a replication instance, which is a managed computing resource. That insurance facilitates data migration from the source to the target endpoint.

#3 Migration Task

The next step is to create a migration task and specify the two endpoints, the type of migration you’re going to use, as well as other parameters. 

#4 Schema and Data Management

For those performing a full database migration, the AWS database migration service can help copy the schema and data from source to target endpoints. That ensures that the structure of the target database mirrors the source.

#5 CDC

For those performing ongoing replication tasks, the AWS DMS can help by employing the Change Data Capture or CDC. The CDC helps identify changes made to the source database in near real-time. Those can include updates, inserts, and even deletes and the changes are captured and replicated to the target.

#6 Validating Data and Handling Errors

DMS includes features that can help users validate data and handle any errors that come up during the migration process. It monitors the entire process, identifies any inconsistencies or errors, and provides user options to handle these issues. These options include skipping problematic errors or even completely stopping the migration process.

#7 Monitoring

One of the most important steps of a successful migration is constant monitoring, which the AWS DMS provides. Users can monitor the status and progress of their migration tasks through the AWS Management Console. They can also use the AWS CloudWatch for more detailed logging and monitoring.

#8 Performing a Cutover

Once all the migration tasks have been completed, users can perform a cutover that redirects the applications they use to their new target databases. This step alone helps minimize downtime because applications will keep operating on the source database until you’re ready to switch over.

The AWS DMS helps simplify the entire database migration process by helping users automate and manage the steps we’ve outlined above. It also makes it easier for users to move their data to the AWS cloud with virtually no disruptions to their operations.

Final Thoughts

In summary, the AWS Database Migration Service (DMS) emerges as a reliable and versatile solution for businesses seeking a smooth transition of their databases to the AWS cloud. 

With its robust features, including support for various database engines, minimal downtime, and secure data handling, AWS DMS stands as a valuable tool for simplifying and optimizing the complex task of database migration.

If you have any more questions regarding the AWS DMS or need someone to perform a precise migration – get in touch with us. With years of hands-on experience and state-of-the-art tools, Coherence Inc. can help with all of your migration needs!