How to calculate a Dedicated Hosts cost estimate for Windows Server and SQL Server
In this blog post, I will show you how to use the new Dedicated Host packing and pricing capability for Microsoft Windows Server and Microsoft SQL Server in the AWS Pricing Calculator. This used to be a manual process, but our customers wanted us to automate it—so here we are.
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) Dedicated Hosts enable you to run software on dedicated physical servers. This lets you comply with corporate compliance requirements or Bring Your Own License (BYOL) requirements for per-socket, per-core, and per-VM licensing agreements with vendors such as Microsoft, Oracle, and Red Hat. Running a cost-optimized Dedicated Host fleet has always been a packing density exercise for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances. If you pack too few Amazon EC2 instances on a Dedicated Host, the license savings will not offset its running costs. And if you pack too many, you will need to allocate a new Dedicated Host, requiring you to reiterate the license savings vs. running costs exercise.
Until recently, figuring out the optimal Dedicated Host configuration was a manual process. You would start with a list of servers, apply vCPU and memory rightsizing–either by using an AWS Optimization and Licensing Assessment or through your own calculations—map your source servers to Amazon EC2 instances, then use the Dedicated Hosts Configuration Table to manually calculate how many Dedicated Hosts you would need. Some Dedicated Host families support multiple instance sizes while others do not, so sometimes you would need to tweak your instance mappings to achieve the highest density and iterate until you reached the optimal result.
The new AWS Pricing Calculator Dedicated Hosts enhancements for Windows and SQL Server automates this process. You can just go to the AWS Pricing Calculator, create a new estimate, select your licensing options, and upload a spreadsheet listing your servers—Windows Server and SQL Server version and edition, vCPUs, and memory—and the tool will create the optimal Dedicated Host configuration for you.
I will now walk you through creating this estimate.
To use the new capability of AWS Pricing Calculator, you need to have a solid understanding of your Microsoft licensing landscape. Specifically:
- For Windows Server, the number of perpetual core licenses that were purchased prior to October 1st, 2019, or purchased as a true-up under an active Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA) effective before October 1st, 2019.
- For SQL Server, the number of core licenses with active Software Assurance, or the number of licenses that were purchased prior to October 1st, 2019 or purchased as a true-up under an active Microsoft EA effective before October 1st, 2019.
You also need to have a list of the servers you are looking to migrate to Dedicated Hosts, together with their respective vCPUs and memory. To achieve the maximum density possible, and thus the lowest cost, consider rightsizing the vCPU and memory resources. You can do this using the AWS Optimization and Licensing Assessment.
To create a Bring Your Own License (BYOL) cost estimate for Windows Server and SQL Server, go to AWS Pricing Calculator and choose Create an Estimate. In the Find Service search box under Select Service, search for “Windows” or “SQL Server,” and under Windows Server and SQL Server on Amazon EC2, choose Configure.
Figure 1: AWS Pricing Calculator Select service page
On the next screen, choose Add Windows Server and SQL Server on Amazon EC2 and complete the following steps:
Step 1: Estimate Details section
In the Estimate Details section, type a description and choose the region you would like to create the pricing estimate for.
Figure 2: Estimate details
Step 2: Licensing and tenancy recommendation
In this section, select I want to know if I can bring my own licenses (BYOL) to AWS to enable Dedicated Hosts as the target. For this example, I assume that Windows Server licenses were purchased prior to October 1st, 2019 and SQL Server licenses are covered by Software Assurance.
Under Licenses purchase date, select The licenses were purchased prior to October 1, 2019 or purchased as a true-up under an active enterprise agreement effective before October 1, 2019.
Under SQL Server – (Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider licenses excluded), select I want to know if I can bring my own licenses (BYOL) to AWS, and I have active Software Assurance for SQL Server licenses or I purchased the licenses under subscription.
Figure 3: Determine your licensing and tenancy recommendation
Step 3: Bulk upload instructions for Dedicated Hosts
In this section, you will download an Excel worksheet template, populate it with your own values, and upload the file to the AWS Pricing Calculator. Under Step 1: Download template, select Download template.
Figure 4: Bulk upload instructions for Dedicated Hosts
Open template.xlsx, which looks as follows:
Figure 5: Downloaded template worksheet
There are 6 distinct columns you need to populate with your own values. Machine Specification is a free text field that could refer to a specific machine name, application, or server group. OS Edition is a predefined list with Windows Server versions and editions and an option for Linux. SQL Edition is a predefined list with SQL Server versions and editions, with an additional option for no SQL server present. In the vCPU column, you will type the number of vCPUs your instance will use, and in the Memory column, the amount of memory in GB. The way you populate the Quantity column depends on whether that row refers to an individual server, or multiple servers with the same characteristics in an application or server group.
For this example, I have populated the template as follows:
Figure 6: Populated template worksheet
When you finish populating the template, save it as “Completed template.xlsx” and select Upload file under Step 3: Upload file.
Step 4: Review upload status
Once the upload is complete, AWS Pricing Calculator outputs the list of servers. Scroll through the results and ensure that the status is Accepted for all rows. Decline status indicates that the content you uploaded has unsupported values. You can update the value in the Excel file and reupload the file. If you proceed without fixing the values, the corresponding machine specification row(s) will not be included in the estimate.
Figure 7: Machine specifications
Step 5: Review Dedicated Hosts
Once you have ensured that all rows in the template you uploaded have a status of Accepted, you can review the Dedicated Host mapping output. Note the number of mapped Dedicated Hosts, the instances in each, and the amount of core licenses you will need to BYOL in order to be compliant.
Figure 8: Review Dedicated Hosts
You can choose the number of instances under the Instances column to see a detailed breakdown of instances mapped into each Dedicated Host. You can also choose the number of licenses under the License Count column to see the amount of core licenses to BYOL for both Windows and SQL.
Figure 9: License detail
Step 6: Choose a pricing strategy to view costs and a summary of licenses to BYOL
In this final step, you are going to select your pricing strategy. For this example, under Pricing model, choose Standard Reserved Instances, under Reservation term, choose 1 Year, and under Payment options, choose No upfront.
In the Dedicated Host Costs section, you can review the hourly, monthly, and yearly costs per host. In the License Summary section, you can review the amount of license cores you will need to BYOL for Windows Server and SQL Server.
Figure 10: Pricing strategy, Dedicated Host Costs, and License(s) Summary
In this blog post, I have introduced the new AWS Pricing Calculator Dedicated Hosts enhancements for Windows Server and SQL Server. With this new feature, customers can create cost estimates for their BYOL scenarios without the need for complex manual calculations. You can go to the Configure Windows Server and SQL Server on Amazon EC2 page of the AWS Pricing Calculator to create your own cost estimate for Windows Server and SQL Server, and start saving on licensing costs by leveraging BYOL on Dedicated Hosts.
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 AWS. Contact us to start your modernization journey today.