Portfolio playbook for AWS large migrations - AWS Prescriptive Guidance

Portfolio playbook for AWS large migrations

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

February 2022 (last update: May 2022)

In a large migration, the portfolio workstream plans waves of applications for migration, and the migration workstream focuses on migrating those waves. When planning waves, the portfolio workstream is responsible for assessing the portfolio, collecting the metadata needed for the migration, prioritizing the applications, and then assigning the applications to waves. Waves must be sized and scheduled according to the capacity of the migration workstream and must account for the complexity of the application, dependencies, and any business factors, such as budgets, performance goals, resource availability, and deadlines.

In the first stage, initializing a large migration, you create the runbooks that the portfolio workstream uses to assess the portfolio and plan waves. In the second stage, implementing a large migration, the portfolio workstream uses those runbooks to assess the portfolio and plan waves and refines the runbooks as they repeat the processes in them again and again.

For more information about core and supporting workstreams, see Workstreams in a large migration in the Foundation playbook for AWS large migrations.

About this playbook

This guide is part of a series about large migrations to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud. Migrating 300 or more servers is considered a large migration. If you haven’t already done so, we highly recommend reading the following in the order listed:

  1. AWS large-migration strategy and best practices – This strategy discusses best practices for large migrations and provides use cases from customers across various industries.

  2. Guide for AWS large migrations – This guide describes a high-level, phased approach to implementing the best practices outlined in the strategy document.

  3. Application portfolio assessment guide for AWS Cloud migration – This guide helps you complete a high-level assessment of the application portfolio and associated infrastructure.


    Performing an initial, high-level discovery and assessment of the application portfolio is a prerequisite to completing the tasks in this playbook.

After reading the strategy and guides, the playbooks help you focus on how to implement the strategy and connect all the moving parts of a large migration. A playbook helps you build the assets and processes that you use in a large migration, such as runbooks, governing documents, or tools. A runbook is a standard operating procedure for a task that you perform repeatedly. The following playbooks are available in this document series for large migrations, and we recommend that you read them in the following order:

The following figure shows the structure of the AWS documentation series for large migrations. Review the strategy first, then the guide, and then read the playbooks.

        The structure of the AWS large migration document series

This playbook provides a step-by-step approach to performing a detailed portfolio assessment for a large migration project, including application assessment and wave planning. It describes the tasks of the portfolio workstream, which spans both stages of a large migration, initialization and implementation:

  • In stage 1, initialize, you validate your initial portfolio discovery and migration strategy, and you create runbooks that define the processes and rules used for portfolio assessment and wave planning. At the end of stage 1, you have portfolio runbooks and tracking tools that are customized for your own portfolio, processes, and infrastructure.

  • In stage 2, implement, you use the runbooks you created in the previous stage in order to complete the portfolio assessment and wave plans.

Detailed portfolio assessment and wave planning is not a one-off task. It is a continuous workstream that supports the migration. In a migration factory, portfolio assessment and wave planning provide the raw materials (servers) to the factory, so you must continue with these activities until the migration project is complete. For more information about the migration factory model, see the Guide for AWS large migrations.

About the runbooks, tools, and templates

In this playbook, you create the following runbooks:

  • Application prioritization runbook

  • Metadata management runbook

  • Wave planning runbook

In addition, you create the following tools, which you use for tracking progress or documenting decisions and other important information:

  • Application complexity score sheet

  • Application target state worksheet

  • Portfolio assessment progress tracker

  • Questionnaire for application owners

  • Wave planning and migration dashboard

We recommend using the portfolio playbook templates and then customizing them for your portfolio, processes, and environment. The instructions in this playbook tell you when and how to customize each of these templates. This playbook includes the following templates:

  • Application target state worksheet – You use this template to define the future state of an application in the AWS Cloud when the application or migration strategy is particularly complex.

  • Dashboard template for wave planning and migration – You use this template to collate critical metadata, analyze the application portfolio, identify dependencies, and plan the migration waves.

  • Progress tracking template for portfolio assessment – You use this template to track the progress of each application through the portfolio workstream.

  • Questionnaire template for application owners – You use this template in the application deep dive process in order to collect information about the application directly from the application owners.

  • Runbook template for application prioritization – This template is a starting point for building your own application prioritization and deep dive processes.

  • Runbook template for metadata management – This template is a starting point for building your own metadata identification and collection processes.

  • Runbook template for wave planning – This template is a starting point for building your own wave planning processes.

  • Score sheet template for application complexity – You can use this template to evaluate the complexity of migrating each application to the cloud, and then you can use the resulting score during the application prioritization process.