Amazon EC2 Dedicated Hosts

Dedicated hardware to support existing software licenses and improve compliance

Amazon EC2 Dedicated Hosts allow you to use your eligible software licenses from vendors such as Microsoft and Oracle on Amazon EC2, so that you get the flexibility and cost effectiveness of using your own licenses, but with the resiliency, simplicity and elasticity of AWS. An Amazon EC2 Dedicated Host is a physical server fully dedicated for your use, so you can help address corporate compliance requirements.

Amazon EC2 Dedicated Host is also integrated with AWS License Manager, a service which helps you manage your software licenses, including Microsoft Windows Server and Microsoft SQL Server licenses. In License Manager, you can specify your licensing terms for governing license usage, as well as your Dedicated Host management preferences for host allocation and host capacity utilization. Once setup, AWS takes care of these administrative tasks on your behalf, so that you can seamlessly launch virtual machines (instances) on Dedicated Hosts just like you would launch an EC2 instance with AWS provided licenses.

Use AWS License Manager to start managing your Dedicated Hosts.


Save money on licensing costs

Dedicated Hosts allow you to use your existing per-socket, per-core, or per-VM software licenses, including Windows Server, SQL Server, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, or other software licenses that are bound to VMs, sockets, or physical cores, subject to your license terms. This helps you to save money by leveraging your existing investments. Learn more about your Windows licensing options.

Help meet corporate compliance requirements

Some organizations need to run their instances on dedicated servers instead of multi-tenant servers. With Dedicated Hosts, you get a physical server that is dedicated for your use. Dedicated Hosts provide visibility and the option to control how you place your instances on a specific, physical server. This enables you to deploy instances using configurations that help address corporate compliance and regulatory requirements.

How to manage EC2 Dedicated Hosts using AWS License Manager



Visibility of sockets and physical cores

You have visibility of the number of sockets and physical cores that support your instances on a Dedicated Host. You can use this information to manage licensing for your own server-bound software that is licensed per-socket or per-core.


Affinity allows you to specify which Dedicated Host an instance will run on after it has been stopped and restarted. This gives you the confidence that the instance will run on the same physical server even through planned interruptions, helps reduce licensing costs in scenarios that require license affinity for a period of time (e.g., 90 days), and can be used to maintain an instance placement scheme.

Integrated license management

Using AWS License Manager, you can easily track and manage your software licenses on EC2 Dedicated Hosts. You can also specify licensing rules such as counting the number of sockets and physical cores and tracking scenarios such as 90-day license affinity.

Instance placement controls

You have the option to launch instances onto a specific Dedicated Host, or you can let Amazon EC2 place the instances automatically. Controlling instance placement allows you to deploy applications to address licensing, corporate compliance, and regulatory requirements.

Multiple instance size support

You can run different instance sizes within the same instance family on a Dedicated Host by leveraging the Nitro-based instances. This allows you to maximize utilization of your Dedicated Host fleet as well as your software licenses.

Continuous monitoring

AWS Config continuously monitors and records when instances are launched, stopped, or terminated on a Dedicated Host. It pairs this information with host and instance level information, such as the host ID, AMI IDs, and number of sockets and physical cores per host. As a result, AWS Config can be used as a data source to meet your compliance needs. To get started, enable Dedicated Host Recording in AWS Config.

Comparing Dedicated Hosts to Dedicated Instances

You can use Dedicated Hosts and Dedicated instances to launch Amazon EC2 instances on physical servers that are dedicated for your use. An important difference between a Dedicated Host and a Dedicated instance is that a Dedicated Host gives you additional visibility and control over how instances are placed on a physical server, and you can consistently deploy your instances to the same physical server over time. As a result, Dedicated Hosts enable you to use your existing server-bound software licenses and address corporate compliance and regulatory requirements.

The following table highlights the key similarities and differences in the features available to you when using Dedicated Hosts and Dedicated instances: 

Dedicated Instances
Dedicated Hosts

Enables the use of dedicated physical servers


Per instance billing (subject to a $2 per region fee)


Per host billing


Visibility of sockets, cores, host ID


Affinity between a host and instance


Targeted instance placement


Automatic instance placement


Add capacity using an allocation request


Additional Resources

For more information about how to bring your own Windows licenses and use them on EC2, visit the Windows Bring Your Own License (BYOL) FAQ.