Microsoft Workloads on AWS

Move end-of-support SQL Server to the cloud that runs and modernizes it best

Customer experience matters.

SQL Server customers are familiar with the pattern of Microsoft regularly ending support and requiring upgrades every few years. As of this writing, Microsoft will end their support for SQL Server 2012 on July 12, 2022. This means that they’ll stop their security updates, unless you pay for the expensive Extended Security Updates (ESU), making your infrastructure and applications vulnerable.

From the customer’s perspective, they have already paid the license for the product – some even paid significant markups for Software Assurance – and now they are being asked to pay for the expensive ESU for the same legacy software, again?

Rather than offering a temporary fix with ESU and incentivizing a cloud compromise, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and our partners have been focusing on helping customers upgrade, migrate, and modernize their SQL Server workloads with dedicated programs, tools, and technical assistance developed over the course of optimizing SQL Server experience for hundreds of thousands of customers.

The perfect time to move to the cloud

Businesses are moving their applications and data to the cloud because of agility, elasticity, speed of innovation, and cost savings. According to a recent IDC report, 63% of organizations said they are actively migrating data to the cloud, and 29% of organizations are planning to start migration within three years.  With the upcoming end of support (EOS) for SQL Server 2012, Microsoft is also encouraging customers to move to the cloud. However, you might want to ask yourself – if moving to the cloud is an option to address SQL Server EOS, shouldn’t I explore which cloud runs and modernizes SQL Server best?

For over 14 years, AWS has committed to helping customers rehost, replatform, and refactor their SQL Server workloads, longer than any other cloud provider. Customers continue to choose AWS for migrating and modernizing SQL Server not only because of the best price performance, license flexibility, and ease of use we offer, but more importantly, AWS provides the most customer-centric pathways to deliver results for organizations at each stage of cloud adoption.

Outcome-driven pathways for customers to choose from

At AWS, we understand each customer’s scenario is different, and we strive to provide the best customer experience to every customer. That’s why we meet customers where they are and work backwards from their situations to provide a full spectrum of choices for SQL Server users to migrate and modernize their workloads. No matter which cloud adoption stage you are at, you will find the best outcome-driven pathways to achieve your operational and business goals.

  • Achieve quick wins and save by lifting and shifting SQL Server workloads to the cloud

Digital transformation can’t wait until you’re ready. As organizations transform their business and operations, cloud computing empowers them with agility, elasticity, security, and cost efficiency. For customers who want to pursue a fast migration due to time constraints, such as an expiring data center lease, this path provides a quick win opportunity to achieve your goals. By migrating your on-premises SQL Server databases to Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), you will achieve benefits such as familiar administration experience, fastest and easiest migration, and full control of the environment. Customers can also choose to either buy licenses included (LI) or bring their own licenses (BYOL) to protect existing SQL licensing investments. Some customers with in-house Linux expertise can choose to leverage SQL Server on Amazon EC2 Linux to save on Windows Server licensing costs.

Since this is a common first step of the migration and modernization journey, it’s critical to choose the best cloud infrastructure to run your SQL Server workloads. In fact, Amazon EC2 r5b.16xlarge instance delivers 1.79x higher transactional throughput, 1.9x lower average transactional latency, and up to 68% better price/performance for SQL Server workloads when tested against comparable configurations on Azure.

But wait, there’s more. What the software vendor won’t tell you is that you can right size your resources while lifting and shifting workloads to the cloud. The point is – why pay for fixed, unnecessary infrastructure and licensing when you can leverage the elasticity of the cloud? AWS Optimization and Licensing Assessment (OLA) will help you determine your actual utilization requirements to help optimally select the lowest-cost Amazon EC2 instance type and size for each workload, shaving off 45% on Microsoft SQL Server licensing costs compared to on-premises.

  • Offload undifferentiated DBA tasks by leveraging fully-managed database services

For customers who want to spend less time managing infrastructure and more time innovating, moving to a fully-managed database service is a no-brainer. With Amazon RDS for SQL Server, customers can offload undifferentiated heavy-lifting of database administration tasks, such as provisioning, configuration, patching, backups, and high-availability deployment. This ultimately frees up resources for customers to focus more on their applications and business. A recent IDC study found that customers utilizing Amazon RDS had 39% lower database operation costs versus on-premises and a 264% return on investment over three years.

For customers unable to move to a fully-managed service due to the customizations that are required for specific applications, like Microsoft SharePoint, we offer Amazon RDS Custom for SQL Server. RDS Custom for SQL Server is our complementary database service that provides a managed database service with access to the underlying operating system and database environment, allowing you to achieve the flexibility and control that you get from a self-managed Amazon EC2 while leveraging the automation from a managed Amazon RDS.

  • Accelerate business innovations by refactoring to purpose-built databases (and never worry about licensing and EOS again)

Speed matters in business innovation. That’s why organizations start to reimagine how an application is architected and refactor it to enable agile, continuous improvements. Simply put, refactoring is changing application code for the better. This path, although requires some effort, is the most rewarding method for long-term business outcomes as it accelerates the pace of innovation and reduces cost while increasing performance, resilience, and responsiveness. This would be otherwise difficult to achieve in the application’s existing legacy environments. “The most important thing to us is the flexibility,” says Jared Neilsen, senior director of CloudOps & DevOps at ivanti. “Whereas with SQL Server, it’s very cumbersome. The goal is to introduce a modern relational data store that allows us to scale at will as our customers onboard.”

Cloud-savvy organizations, like Decisiv and Jobvite, are reaping the benefits of refactoring SQL Server to purpose-built cloud databases, such as Amazon Aurora. Customers leveraging purpose-built databases are pioneering business innovations powered by technologies built for the cloud and open source offerings. AWS continues to build a full fleet of database types that cater your specific workloads profiles, including relational, key-value, in-memory, document, wide column, graph, time series and ledger.

With AWS’ purpose-built cloud databases, customers break free from the version upgrade and refresh cycles of SQL Server, and never have to worry about licensing and end of support again.


Customer experience matters. At AWS, we offer solutions for customers at different stages of cloud adoption and help them achieve their operational and business goals. AWS is not only providing unmatched experience for our organizational customers, but collectively with our customers, we are delivering the best-in-class user experience to all the end users as well.

Read our eBook (*no forms required) that explores the migration and modernization pathways of your SQL Server workloads in-depth. Make SQL Server end of support the start of your AWS cloud journey!

Migrate and modernize SQL Server with AWS - Make SQL Server end of support (EOS) the beginning of your AWS cloud journey

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.

Frank Wang

Frank Wang

Frank Wang is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Amazon Web Services (AWS) in California supporting enterprise Microsoft workloads. He has more than 10 years of experience and specializes in product marketing and technical writing. In non-tech mode, he is an aviation enthusiast and a Real Madrid soccer fan.