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What You Need to Know Before You Start a PostgreSQL Migration to Amazon Aurora

Author: Shailesh Rangani | | February 21, 2023

Moving PostgreSQL databases to Amazon Aurora requires a thorough understanding of your current on-premises databases, your application requirements, your database migration goals, and your technical resources.

Before starting this AWS database migration, a cloud readiness assessment allows your organization to plan this process and identify the best strategy for moving forward with the move to Aurora. By taking the time to go through this process, you can reduce your migration risks, discover technical challenges, avoid unnecessary disruptions, and stop performance problems from occurring.

  • Collect baseline measurements from your existing on-premises PostgreSQL databases and related infrastructure. You’ll need a way to compare performance following your Aurora migration, and you also need the capacities of your configuration to estimate your cloud costs. Look for resource gaps and application interdependencies that you’ll need to address during the migration.
  • Keep track of any data and security standards that you need to comply with for your databases and investigate guidelines that you may want to adopt with the help of cloud technology. Identify common complaints with your current on-premises deployment, such as slow performance, a lack of capacity, and other issues you can resolve through cloud migration.
  • List all potential issues that could occur during the migration to Aurora, and how they could impact your organization. Plan around the problems that are most likely to occur, as well as those that can cause the most damage.

After you gather this information, you can move forward with creating a PostgreSQL to Amazon Aurora strategy.

Best Practices for Moving Your PostgreSQL Databases to Amazon Aurora

Two of the most common ways to migrate on-premises PostgreSQL databases to Amazon Aurora are the AWS Database Migration Service (DMS) and PostgreSQL’s native tools.

AWS DMS is Amazon’s own tool for handling migrations, and it supports online operations. You get six months of free usage with this tool when you use it for migrating to Aurora, which should be sufficient time to cover most database migrations. It’s designed to be simple and straightforward, with an easy-to-use interface and minimal downtime.

Complex databases, those that are poorly suited to online migrations, and applications that can tolerate some downtime may be better suited to a migration using pg_dump and pg_restore. Since Aurora is optimized for PostgreSQL, it supports this solution.

Regardless of your migration tool choice, you’ll want to follow these best practices and migration steps to avoid common problems and get your databases up and running as soon as possible.

Analyze your database migration requirements – Use the details from your cloud assessment to finalize the configuration options. For example, you’ll want to confirm that you have the correct database versions, hardware, storage, security, network, and instance types.

Set up your database infrastructure – Configure your Amazon VPC for network isolation, create all necessary security groups, and then get the Aurora cluster set up based on the requirements.

Move your data and applications – At this point in the migration, you’re ready to move your data and applications to the new Aurora cluster. Allocate enough time to test your Aurora PostgreSQL cluster and discover any potential issues that could impact reliability and performance. Once you’re satisfied with the test environment, cut over from your on-premises databases to the Aurora deployment and monitor your production performance. You may need to tweak the configuration to better support these workloads, so continually review this data.

Want to learn more about the process for migrating your Postgres databases to Amazon Aurora? Read our white paper “Why Your PostgreSQL Databases Should Live on Amazon Aurora.”


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