Database Migration Comparison: AWS, Google Cloud, Azure, IBM, Alibaba Cloud

If you are looking to migrate your database to the cloud, it is very crucial that you use the right database migration service for it. With numerous advanced database migration service providers available in the market today, you don’t have to compromise with the traditional tools and outdated offerings.

What is database migration?

Database migration is simply the migration of your apps, data, and other workloads from one platform/location to another. In this article, we will be discussing the database migration to the cloud.

Database Migration Comparison

Why migrate your database to cloud?

There are several benefits of database migration in which enterprises choose to move all their workloads and applications to the cloud. The main benefits include:

Comprehensive data integrity
Cost optimization
Reduced manual efforts
Improved efficiency and effectiveness
Data availability
Related reading: Multi-database, multi-locations, and multi-platforms is the new norm: Survey
Cloud database migration tools comparison: Finding the best database migration assistant
1. AWS Database Migration Service (AWS DMS)
AWS Database Migration Service (AWS DMS) is one of the best tools for database migration. It can be used for migration of relational databases, data warehouses, NoSQL databases, as well as data stores of other types.

AWS Database Migration Service
Image source: AWS

Using the AWS DMS, you can perform data migration to AWS, between on-premises instances, or between a combined setup of cloud and on-premises setups. To reduce the downtime of applications running on the database that are being migrated, AWS DMS keeps the source database in operational phase during the migration.

The service provides support for both homogeneous and heterogeneous migrations. This enables the consumers to migrate the database between platforms of the same vendors, as well as to the platforms of other vendors.

For instance, if an Oracle consumer is looking to migrate its database to Oracle Cloud, he can do so using the AWS DMS. Now, if the same Oracle consumer wants to migrate to Microsoft SQL Server or Amazon Aurora, this too can be done using the AWS DMS.


Amazon provides Free DMS for six months to the users migrating the database to Amazon Aurora, Amazon Redshift or Amazon DynamoDB.

For other migrations, the cost depends on the compute resources consumed during the migration, with a charge for longer-term storage of logs. Detailed pricing for Amazon Database Migration Service is available here.

2. Cloud Data Transfer: Google Cloud
Google Cloud provides a family of database migration services meant for specific requirements. These services include:

Online Transfer
Cloud Storage Transfer Service
Transfer Appliance
BigQuery Data Transfer Service
cloud data transfer google
Image source: Google

The Online Transfer service can be used to migrate the data to Google Cloud Storage using a network.

Whereas, the Transfer Alliance comes with 100 TB and 480 TB models for shipping and uploading the data to Google Cloud Storage.

BigQuery Data Transfer Service is good for scheduling and automating data transfers from the SaaS (Software as a Service) applications to Google BigQuery.

Cloud Storage Transfer Service is meant for moving the data from one cloud to another. It enables the faster import of online data into cloud storage, data center migration to cloud, as well as migration of data within the Google Cloud Storage, from one bucket to another.

Cloud Storage Transfer can also perform migration of database from other cloud storage providers to the Google Cloud Storage.

Summing up, Google’s Cloud Data Transfer is a scalable and secure database migration service, with a simple drag and drop functionality, and JSON API to allow consumers migrate data using preferred method and language.


Google Cloud charges for cloud storage on the basis of data storage, network usage, operations usage, retrieval and early deletion fees.

Detailed pricing is available here.

Suggested reading: CDN comparison: AWS, Google Cloud, Azure, IBM, Alibaba Cloud
3. Azure Database Migration Service (DMS)
Azure Database Migration Service is a comprehensive and fully managed solution to migrate database from multiple sources to the cloud. It provides support for various database engines, allowing users to migrate database from on-premises, virtual machines (VMs), and other public clouds to Microsoft Azure.

Azure DMS
Image source: Azure

Supported source database engines include:

SQL Server
Supported target database engines include:

Azure SQL Database
Azure SQL Database managed instance
Azure Database for PostgreSQL
Azure Database for MySQL
Azure Cosmos DB’s API for MongoDB
To guide the users throughout the migration process, Azure uses Data Migration Assistant which generates the assessment reports of all the changes, and provide suggestions to the users.

Azure Database Migration Service supports both offline and online migrations. Offline migrations face downtime right from the beginning of migration. For critical workloads that can’t afford downtime or limited downtime, Microsoft recommends the use of online migration.


Standard tier: This tier supports offline migrations and is available for free. Standard tier offers 1,2, and 4-vCore options.

Premium tier: The Premium tier of Azure DMS is billed on the basis of a predictable, hourly rate on provisioned compute in vCore. Microsoft offers 4 vCore Premium DMS for free for 6 months.

Suggested reading: Top public cloud storage providers in 2019
4. IBM Lift
IBM Lift enables the database migration from on-premises datacenters to IBM Cloud in a faster and secure manner.

Being a pioneer in cloud services, IBM’s cloud database migration solution allows you to control all the steps of migration— extracting data from source, transporting over the wire, and loading into the target.

IBM Lift
Image source: IBM

To minimize the downtime during migration, IBM Lift keeps the source database uninterrupted by capturing the changes to the source database and replaying them to the target database.

For secure database migration to cloud, IBM Lift uses end-to-end 256-bit encrypted connection. This helps in protecting the confidential data while it moves over the internet.


IBM Lift is available for free.

5. Alibaba Cloud Data Transmission Service (DTS)
Alibaba Cloud’s Data Transmission Service (DTS) is an easy-to-use cloud database migration tool that enables migration of database between multiple data storage types, including NoSQL, OLAP, and relational database.

Alibaba Cloud Database Migration Service
Image Source: Alibaba Cloud

Cloud database migration with Alibaba Cloud can be done for both homogeneous and heterogenous platforms. For instance, consumers can migrate data from MySQL to MySQL, as well as from Oracle to MySQL.

Alibaba Cloud DTS allows migration of data from on-premises databases to RDS or ECS, databases running on ECS to RDS, vice versa, along with migration from one RDS database to another RDS database.

For high availability, the solution continuously replicates all the changes at the source database to the target database. This helps in keeping the source database in operational mode at the time of migration.

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