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Amazon EC2 and Microsoft Windows Server 2012

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) now allows customers to deploy Microsoft Windows Server 2012 in a fast and dependable environment to run any compatible Windows-based solution. Using Amazon EC2 with Windows Server 2012 is similar to using Amazon EC2 with prior versions of Windows Server. Amazon EC2 running Windows Server 2012 provides seamless integration with existing AWS features like Elastic Block Store (EBS), Amazon CloudWatch, AWS CloudFormation, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, Amazon Virtual Private Cloud, Elastic Load Balancing, Elastic IPs, and Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS). Windows Server 2012 instances are available in multiple Availability Zones in all Regions.

The AWS Free Usage Tier includes Amazon EC2 instances running Microsoft Windows Server 2012. Customers eligible for the AWS Free Usage Tier can use up to 750 hours per month of t1.micro instances running Microsoft Windows Server for free. For more information about the AWS Free Usage Tier, please visit the AWS Free Usage Tier page.

  • Windows Server 2012 Standard Edition X64 AMIs will be available in 19 languages.
  • SQL Server 2008 R2 (Express, Web, and Standard editions) is available on the following Windows Server 2012 AMI languages: English, Japanese, and Portuguese.
  • SQL Server 2012 (Express, Web, and Standard editions) is available on the following Windows Server 2012 AMI languages: English and Japanese.
  • All Windows Server 2012 AMIs come packaged with new version of EC2Config, which simplifies setting a password for your base AMIs.

Amazon’s Windows Server 2012 AMIs facilitate the use of new features and enhancements that are available with Windows Server 2012. Some of the top new features announced by Microsoft are:

  • Server setup and management with a single console: Server Manager
    • Remotely deploy Windows roles and features to multiple servers
    • Manage groups of servers collectively
    • Provision servers without requiring physical access to the system or Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) connections to each server
  • Automate maintenance and deployment tasks with Windows PowerShell 3.0
    • Manage server roles and tasks using more than 2,300 cmdlets
    • Write Windows PowerShell scripts more quickly and intuitively through the new integrated scripting environment
    • Execute and monitor scripts using a web browser with Windows PowerShell Web Access
  • Run and consistently manage more multi-tenant websites using IIS 8
    • Setup high-density web sites with Server Name Indication (SNI) and SSL host header support
    • Central certificate store to manage SSL certificates from a central file share
    • Application initialization improves web experience of first requests
    • Shared configurations help ensure consistency across web farms
    • Configuration Editor provides a rich visual method to edit web configurations
    • Script Generator creates repeatable actions for building web configurations
  • Build your Windows applications using Visual Studio 2012 and .NET Framework 4.5
    • Integrated development with AWS SDK for .NET
    • AWS Explorer to view all your AWS resources
    • Click to select and deploy to EC2 instances or Elastic Beanstalk

For a more comprehensive list of features and benefits, please visit Microsoft’s Windows Server 2012 documentation.

Q: What editions of Windows Server 2012 are available in AMIs?

We will be releasing AMI's with Windows Server 2012 Standard Edition which has the same features as the Datacenter Edition. For details on the difference between the different editions, please refer to the Microsoft documentation: Licensing and Pricing FAQ document.

Q: Will it cost more to run Windows Server 2012?

No. Both On-Demand and Reserved instance pricing for Windows Server 2012 is the same as the pricing for earlier versions of Windows Server available on Amazon EC2. You can view the current pricing for Amazon EC2 instances here:

Q: Which AWS regions are supported?

Windows Server 2012 is available in all AWS regions.

Q: Which Amazon EC2 instance types are supported?

At this time, all Amazon EC2 instance types are supported.

Q: What languages are available?

We support 19 languages with the Windows Server 2012 AMIs. Current list of supported languages: Brazilian, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Chinese Traditional Hong Kong, Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish.

Q: How do I deploy my applications to Windows Server 2012 on AWS?

You can use AWS Elastic Beanstalk to deploy and manage your applications on Windows Server 2012 in the AWS cloud. You can alternatively deploy directly to Amazon EC2 instances. You can use the AWS Toolkit for Visual Studio to get your application deployed and running in a few clicks. To learn more, visit the Elastic Beanstalk Developer Guide.

Q: Which SQL Server version/edition and languages are available with Windows Server 2012 AMI?

The following SQL Server languages, version and editions are available with Windows Server 2012 AMI:

  • English: SQL Server 2008 R2/2012 (Express, Web and Standard editions)
  • Japanese: SQL Server 2008 R2/2012 (Express and Standard editions)
  • Portuguese/Brazilian: SQL Server 2008 R2 (Express and Standard editions)

Q: Windows Server 2012 has two file systems: NTFS and ReFS. Which one should I use?

  • ReFS was designed for file sharing workloads like sharing content or streaming videos.
  • Windows applications like SQL Server support NTFS and will not install on a ReFS volume.

Q: Can I create a Storage Space using an EBS volume?

Yes. EBS volumes can be used to setup a Storage Pool. The volumes can be formatted as NTFS or ReFS depending upon your application.

Q: How do I switch to the new Windows Server Start screen?

Move your mouse to the lower left corner, wait for the Start screen and then click to switch into the Start screen.

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