Microsoft Workloads on AWS

AWS is the cloud customers choose for their SQL Server workloads

Experience matters.

We have been investing in making AWS the best place to run Microsoft workloads since 2008 and have the most operational experience, at greater scale, of any cloud. We have also been running SQL Server workloads in the cloud longer than anyone else, giving us the unmatched experience to help organizations optimize and become more efficient with SQL Server.

In this blog post, we’re going to focus on three reasons why AWS continues to be the cloud customers choose for their SQL Server workloads: license flexibility, security, and innovation. While these are not the only reasons – optimized price/performance is at the top of the list – they are important for SQL Server customers to understand.

License flexibility

Microsoft licenses, especially SQL Server licenses, are expensive. This is where we can help. AWS offers flexible licensing options for your SQL Server workloads, allowing you to pay-as-you-go without signing any contracts or agreements – and allowing you to terminate at any time. When launching SQL Server instances on AWS, you can either bring your own existing licenses or you can purchase licenses from AWS.

If you have made a significant investment in your SQL Server licensing, you can bring your existing licenses (BYOL) to AWS, leveraging the Microsoft License Mobility benefits. If you don’t have license mobility, you can leverage dedicated options for your SQL Server workloads. BYOL allows you to use existing SQL Server (and Windows Server) licenses on AWS to seamlessly create virtual machines on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). If you purchase licenses from AWS, you get a fully-compliant, pay-as-you-go licensing model that doesn’t require managing complex licensing terms and conditions.

With the help of our AWS Partners, AWS offers free programs with proven methodologies to assess your current on-premises and cloud environments, right size your SQL Server deployment, and provide guidance on how to save an average of 45% on SQL Server licensing.

For example, with the AWS Optimization and Licensing Assessment, our partners and specialists help you understand how to run your resources more efficiently and avoid unnecessary licensing costs. This assessment provides recommendations on how to get the most value from your existing licensing entitlements by configuring your AWS instances to require fewer licenses while still maintaining highly-performant applications.


As security threats continue to evolve – on premises and in the cloud – and create more challenges for your business, you must ensure that your organization is protected from unauthorized access, data breaches, and other threats. Customers expect AWS to provide a more performant, reliable, and secure cloud to run their SQL Server workloads.

With AWS, you can build on the most secure global infrastructure, knowing you always own your own data, including the ability to encrypt it, move it, and manage retention. All data flowing across the AWS global network is automatically encrypted at the physical layer before it leaves our secured facilities. You control where your data is stored, who can access it, and what computing resources your organization is consuming at any given moment.

With AWS, you will also inherit the latest security controls we use on our own infrastructure to strengthen your own compliance and certification programs. AWS supports more security standards and compliance certifications than any other cloud offering – including PCI-DSS, HIPAA/HITECH, FedRAMP, GDPR, FIPS 140-2, and NIST 800-171 – helping customers satisfy compliance requirements for virtually every regulatory agency around the globe.

Microsoft SQL Server end of support (EOS)

July 12, 2022, marks an important date for SQL Server customers. This is the day that Microsoft will end support for SQL Server 2012, including all security updates. The good news is that AWS provides flexible options for these SQL Server EOS workloads. To upgrade to a newer version of SQL Server on Amazon EC2, customers can use the AWS Systems Manager Automation runbook to easily upgrade SQL Server 2012 to newer supported versions, such as SQL Server 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2019.

With AWS’ End-of-Support Migration Program, customers can future-proof legacy SQL Server EOS workloads by decoupling them from the underlying version of the Windows Server operating system. Databases running on a version of Windows Server, either out of support or nearing end of support, can simply be moved to the latest version of Windows Server without any code changes. Customers no longer need to purchase the limited extended support for older versions or delay the inevitable end-of-support problem.


Data has become our customers’ most valuable asset, but you can’t unlock its value without changing the way you store and analyze it. For many customers, data is locked up in on-premises SQL Server silos that don’t scale cost effectively, don’t communicate with each other, and can’t be easily analyzed for insights.

By moving SQL Server data to the cloud, customers can consolidate their data and begin to derive more valuable insights into their business. In fact, thousands of our customers have already moved their SQL Server data to AWS to make better, more informed decisions, respond faster to the unexpected, and uncover new opportunities with next-gen technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning. And customers wanting to get out of the business of managing time-consuming database administration tasks – like provisioning, backups, software patching, monitoring, and hardware scaling – are using Amazon RDS for SQL Server and Amazon RDS Custom to focus more on innovative application development.

“The conversation with AWS has always been about innovation in the truest sense, including changes in the way we do things to get where we want to be. We reached the conclusion that the impact of working with AWS and its partners would allow our teams to grow and learn more along the way,” says Peter Bourke, Director of IT at Event Hospitality & Entertainment Limited (EVENT), a leading entertainment, hospitality, and leisure company in Australia. EVENT is a heavy SQL Server user, and with the help of Versant, an AWS Partner, they were able to migrate 142 servers, including 16 SQL Servers, to AWS in 6 months.

Many customers also want to add features, scale, and/or performance that would otherwise be difficult to achieve in their existing SQL Server environment. They are ready to reimagine how their application can be rearchitected and developed using cloud-based features. By migrating to Amazon Aurora, an AWS purpose-built database, customers can experience 3-5X better performance at 1/10th the cost of commercial databases.

With AWS’ over 200 comprehensive services and solutions – significantly more than any other cloud – it’s become easier than ever for customers to innovate faster and expand their organizational, operational, and technical capabilities with built-for-the-cloud technologies, like serverless, AI/ML, and microservices. Many customers have also transitioned to open source alternatives – such as Linux, cloud-based databases, and containers – to further reduce costs and optimize cloud usage.


AWS has helped hundreds of thousands of customers transition their SQL Server workloads to the cloud. Customers continue to choose AWS for migrating and modernizing SQL Server for optimized price/performance, license flexibility, and security, leveraging AWS innovations to right size, configure, and deploy SQL Server applications. Contact us today to discuss your SQL Server migration and modernization initiatives.

AWS can help you assess how your company can get the most out of cloud. Join the millions of AWS customers that trust us to migrate and modernize their most important applications in the cloud. To learn more on modernizing Windows Server or SQL Server, visit Windows on AWSContact us to start your modernization journey today.

Tamara Dull

Tamara Dull

Tamara Dull is a principal product marketing manager at Amazon Web Services based in Los Angeles. She focuses on the migration, optimization, and modernization of Microsoft workloads running on AWS. In non-tech mode, you’ll find Tamara helping shelter dogs find their forever homes with Outta the Cage, an L.A.-based nonprofit she cofounded in 2016.

Yogi Barot

Yogi Barot

Yogi is Principal Solutions Architect who has 22 years of experience working with different Microsoft technologies, her specialty is in SQL Server and different database technologies. Yogi has in depth AWS knowledge and expertise in running Microsoft workload on AWS.