Q: What is a Dedicated Host?

An Amazon EC2 Dedicated Host ("Dedicated Host" or "host") is a physical server with EC2 instance capacity fully dedicated for your use.

Q: What are the benefits of using Dedicated Hosts?

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. Moreover, Amazon EC2 Dedicated Hosts allow you to license by host cores instead of instance cores, which is more cost effective. Dedicated Hosts also give you more flexibility, visibility, and control over the placement of instances on dedicated hardware. This makes it easier to ensure you deploy your instances in a way that meets your compliance and regulatory requirements.

Q: How does AWS make it easy to bring my own licenses to Amazon EC2 Dedicated Hosts?

Most cloud providers offer limited automation for Dedicated Hosts, so administrators have to perform ongoing management tasks such as host allocation, host capacity utilization, and instance placement. When you bring your Windows Server and SQL Server licenses to Amazon EC2 Dedicated Hosts, you can let AWS take care of all these administrative tasks on your behalf. You can then launch instances on Dedicated Hosts with your own Windows and SQL Server licenses just like you would launch any other EC2 instance.

Q How do I get started with bringing my own licenses (BYOL) to Amazon EC2 Dedicated Hosts?

To easily bring your own licenses to EC2 Dedicated Hosts, AWS gives administrators the option to perform a one-time onboarding set up in AWS License Manager. This includes the following steps:

  • Step 1: Define licensing rules for software licenses, such as Windows Server and SQL Server, that you want bring to AWS. We recommend that you consult with your own licensing advisors to carefully understand the terms and define rules in License Manager.
  • Step 2: Specify your preferences for managing the underlying hosts. For example, you can define how to allocate and release hosts within the group, which licensing rules to use, and what instance types are allowed.
  • Step 3: (optional) If you want other AWS accounts in your organization to use the available capacity on the hosts, then you can share the host management preferences and licensing rules across your organizational accounts.

Once configured, a user can simply launch their BYOL instances just like they would launch instances with AWS-provided licenses, while AWS takes care of common administrative tasks.

Q: What administrative tasks does AWS perform to manage Dedicated Hosts when I use License Manager?

AWS performs various administrative tasks to manage Dedicated Hosts per your preferences specified in AWS License Manager. AWS automatically allocates and releases hosts while sharing host capacity across all your AWS accounts. It places instances on hosts, and optimizes utilization of hosts by supporting multiple instance sizes. Additionally, AWS improves resiliency by performing automatic recovery of hosts in the unexpected case of failures.

Q: Is a Dedicated Host a baremetal offering?

No, the instances that run on a Dedicated Host are the same virtualized instances that you’d get with traditional EC2 instances that use the Nitro or Xen hypervisor.

Q: What is the lifecycle of a host?

A host becomes accessible after you have allocated it within your account. After you allocate a host the instance capacity will be standing by for your use. You can then launch instances with a tenancy of "host" using the RunInstances API or the AWS Management Console. When you no longer need to use a host, if it is an On-Demand Dedicated Host, you first need to stop or terminate all of the instances running on the host, and then you can release the host using the ReleaseHosts API or the AWS Management Console. Alternatively, you can provide your host management preferences in AWS License Manager, and AWS takes care of host allocation, instance placement, and host release on your behalf. In this case, AWS allocates a host when you launch instances using the RunInstances API or the AWS Management Console. When you terminate all your instances running on the host, AWS automatically releases the host based on your specified preferences.

You can purchase a Reservation and assign it to a host after that host has been allocated to your account. If your host is covered by a Reservation, the Reservation first needs to expire before you can release the host. Alternatively, you can leverage Savings Plan to get the flexibility of allocating and releasing hosts without assigning savings to a particular host and taking advantage of savings based on your usage.

Q: What purchasing options do I have for paying for a host?

You can choose from three different purchasing options to pay for Dedicated Hosts. The first is On-Demand, where you have the flexibility to scale up and down the number of Dedicated Hosts allocated to your account and only pay for the hours those Dedicated Hosts were allocated to your account.

The second option is by Reservation, where you can purchase and assign a Reservation to a Dedicated Host and benefit from a lower rate over the term compared to On-Demand. Reservations can save you up to 70% on your On-Demand costs over the term.

The third option is Savings Plans, which is a new flexible pricing model that will help you lower your bill by making a commitment to a consistent amount of compute usage (measured in $/hour) instead of making commitments to specific hosts. Savings Plans offer significant savings over On Demand, just like Reservations, but automatically reduce your bills on compute usage across any AWS region, even as usage changes. This provides you the flexibility to use the compute option that best suits your needs and continue to save money. Click here to learn more about Savings Plans.

Q: How am I billed for a host that is running On-Demand?

You will pay the On-Demand rate for every hour the host is active in your account, regardless of the number of instances, or types of AMIs, that are running on the host.

Q: Do I need to specify a tenancy when I want to launch an instance on a host?

Yes, you need to specify a tenancy of "host" when you want to launch instances onto a host. However, when you are using License Manager to specify your host management preferences, specifying a tenancy of “host” is optional.

Q: Can I launch instances on a specific host?

Yes, you can launch instances on a specific host using the host ID as a target in the AWS Management Console or the RunInstances API. However, when you are using License Manager to manage your hosts, AWS will automatically place your instance on a host based on your specified preferences.

Q: Can I mix multiple EC2 instance types on a single Dedicated Host?

A: Yes. Dedicated Hosts powered by the AWS Nitro System support multiple instance types within the same instance family on a single host. For example, you can run r5.2xlarge and r5.4xlarge instances on the same host. See the Dedicated Host Pricing Page for more detail.

Q: How do I know how many instances I can run on each host?

The maximum number of instances you can run per host varies based on the instance type configuration you select. You can see the maximum number of instances per host on the Dedicated Host Pricing Page or in the EC2 Dedicated Host console or the DescribeHosts API.

Q: What AMIs can be launched onto hosts?

Only BYOL, Amazon Linux, and AWS Marketplace AMIs can be launched onto hosts.

Q: Can I run an instance on a host with the EC2 Classic network type?

No, the instances that run on hosts can only be assigned to an Amazon VPC.

Q: Can I change the tenancy of my Dedicated instances from "dedicated" to "host"?

Yes, after you’ve stopped your Dedicated instances, you can change the tenancy to "host" using the ModifyInstancePlacement API or the AWS Management Console.

Q: Do I need to create new VPCs if I migrate Dedicated instances in a Dedicated VPC to "host" tenancy?

No, both Dedicated instances and instances running on hosts can be assigned to a Dedicated VPC.

Q: Is there a limit that governs how many hosts I can allocate to my account?

Yes. For more information, visit documentation on AWS Service Limits.

Whether you are measured on EBITDA performance or not, you may need to understand the definition of a product before you can make an operational expense (OPEX) vs capital expense (CAPEX) classification for Dedicated Host payments. The following FAQ is helpful if you need to reach an OPEX vs CAPEX conclusion on a Dedicated Host reservation.

Q: Should I consider a purchase of a Dedicated Host Reservation as CAPEX or OPEX?

AWS does not provide accounting advice and we recommend that you ask your accountant to answer this question. We also recommend that your accountant review the definition of the EC2 Dedicated Host and a Dedicated Host Reservation before making an operational expense vs. capital expense judgment.

Q: Can I uniquely identify a Dedicated Host?

Yes, you can identify each Dedicated Host while it is allocated to your account using the Host-ID.

Q: Is the Host-ID similar to an asset-ID of a physical server?

Yes, a Host-ID is similar to an asset-ID of a physical server because a Dedicated Host can be used and identified through the use of the Host-ID. There is a one-to-one relationship between a Host-ID and a physical server while the Dedicated Host is allocated to your account.

Q: Can I release a Dedicated Host?

Yes, but only if the Dedicated Host is considered an On-Demand Dedicated Host. When a Dedicated Host is released, On-Demand billing will terminate and you will not be able to reuse the previously allocated Dedicated Host (or Host-ID).

Q: Will AWS reuse the same Host-ID for different physical servers?

No, AWS will not swap physical servers from under the Host-ID. If you get a new physical server, you will also get a new Host-ID.

Q: Can I reuse the same Dedicated Host over time?

Yes, as long as your Dedicated Host hasn’t been released, you can also reuse the same Dedicated Host over time.

Q: How am I billed for a Dedicated Host?

You pay for the entire Dedicated Host by the hour, regardless of how many instances are running on the Dedicated Host. If there are additional charges as a result of use, such as networking or software charges, they will be separated in different line items on the bill.

Q: Is there a change in billing for Dedicated Hosts when I use AWS License Manager?

No, there is no change in your billing. AWS simply allocates a Dedicated Host in your AWS account.

Q: What are the payment terms for a Reservation?

You pay for a Reservation for a 1 or 3 year term. Contact your account manager if you are interested in a term that is greater than 3 years.

Q: What are the payment options for a Reservation?

You can choose an All Upfront Reservation, where you roll all of the cost of your Dedicated Host reservation into one upfront payment. The All Upfront Reservation provides the best overall price compared to the Partial Upfront and No Upfront offerings. With the Partial Upfront payment option, you pay for roughly half of the cost of the Reservation upfront and the remaining cost is amortized (and charged hourly) across each hour in the term. The Partial Upfront payment option provides a better price than the No Upfront payment option. With the No Upfront payment option you pay nothing upfront and the entire cost of the Reservation is amortized (and charged hourly) across each hour in the term.

Q: Can I obtain a Reservation for a Dedicated Host?

Yes, after you’ve allocated a Dedicated Host to your account, you can pay for a 1 or 3 year Reservation for it. When you purchase a Reservation and assign it to the Dedicated Host, you are committing to pay for that Dedicated Host for a minimum period of time equal to the term of the Reservation.

Q: Can I pay for a Reservation without having it assigned to a Dedicated Host?

No, Reservations need to be assigned to Dedicated Hosts that have been allocated to your account.

Q: Do I maintain remote control over the use of a Dedicated Host when the Reservation expires?

Yes, when your Reservation expires, your Dedicated Host will remain allocated to your account and you can continue to use the Dedicated Host. When the Reservation expires you will be billed On-Demand unless you decide to release it. You can optionally pay for another reservation for the same Dedicated Host if you wish.

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