Sometimes the hardest part of performing a cloud migration is figuring out what has to be migrated in the first place. That's one idea behind Amazon's now generally available AWS ADS (Application Discovery Service), which polls existing on-premises systems and determines what apps they're running as a prelude to migration.
Originally announced in April, ADS is yet another sign that Amazon is more interested in building a one-way bridge into its cloud than in creating a two-way street involving a hybrid cloud strategy.
ADS uses an agent that runs on one's on-premises hardware to perform the discovery. It supports four major enterprise OSes: three common flavors of Linux (Ubuntu, Red Hat, and CentOS), along with Windows Server 2008 R2, Server 2012, and Server 2012 R2. Other platforms will be added over time.
By itself, ADS doesn't perform any actual migration, and Amazon doesn't directly supply an application to do so. For that, you need to pass the data gathered by ADS to one of Amazon's certified partners or to Amazon's AWS Professional Services division. It's possible to perform the migration manually, but Amazon clearly intends to use ADS to encourage adoption of its partner programs.
Many of the other new or revised service offerings Amazon announced earlier this year fall in line with this one-way, into-the-cloud thinking. Snowball, a hardware appliance loaded by the customer with data for migration into AWS, was upgraded to 80TB. S3 Transfer Acceleration, a new mix of protocols and network optimization strategies, speeds up data transfers from 50 to 500 percent.
The competition, meanwhile, leans on a hybrid strategy. Microsoft's Azure is a logical extension of the on-premises Windows Server experience, and Google seems to be focusing its cloud efforts on creating an open source hybrid solution centered on applications rather than VMs and powered by container infrastructure.
By contrast, Amazon is sticking with what amounts to a cloud-first, cloud-only strategy. As such, it's focused on developing technologies that best fit the strategy -- for example, the serverless architecture popularized by AWS Lambda. Not every company wants to go all-in on the cloud, but Amazon believes enough of them do to make the effort worth it.