End-of-Support Migration Program for Windows Server FAQs

What is AWS End-of-Support Migration Program (EMP) for Windows Server?

AWS EMP for Windows Server is a program that helps customers with migration of their legacy Windows Server applications to the latest, supported versions of Windows Server on AWS, without any code changes. This program offers technology and expert guidance to migrate applications running on Windows Server 2003, 2008, and 2012. The EMP technology decouples the applications from the underlying OS, enabling customers to migrate critical applications to a newer, supported version of Windows Server on AWS. 

Why should I use EMP for Windows Server?

EMP for Windows Server provides a way to future-proof your legacy applications by decoupling them from the underlying version of Windows Server operating system. This means that the applications running on a version of Windows Server either out of support or nearing end of support can simply be moved to the latest supported version of Windows Server, without any code changes. You no longer need to purchase the limited extended support for older versions and delay the inevitable end of support problem.

EMP for Windows Server supports even your most complicated applications, including the ones with tight dependencies on older versions of the operating system, registries, libraries, and other files. EMP for Windows Server helps upgrade applications regardless of the availability of installation media or code.

How do I get started?

Customers can use the EMP tool freely as a self-service option or in conjunction with AWS Partners or AWS Professional Services. User documentation is also available here for customers who plan to package legacy applications themselves. Customers can also get in touch with AWS with their request using this link. AWS will evaluate your request, and get in touch with you with next steps.

If you are an AWS Partner interested to be a part of EMP for Windows Server, contact your AWS representative.

How does EMP for Windows Server work?

For customers who plan on using EMP with an AWS Partner or AWS Professional Services, legacy applications are migrating using the following steps:

  1. Application Assessment: You provide your application requirements and testing criteria to the experts from AWS Partner/Professional Services to ensure robust packaging and migration for your legacy application. The AWS team will gather application requirements across security, configuration, networking, firewall, and licensing settings to begin the application packaging process.
  2. Compatibility Packaging: Post the application assessment, the AWS experts utilize the EMP technology along with the information provided during application assessment to determine the dependencies your application has on the outdated operating system, and creates an application package. This package includes everything the application needs to run on modern operating system, including all the application files, runtimes, components, and deployment tools, except any files from the outdated operating system. The package additionally includes a redirection engine that intercepts the API calls that your application makes to the underlying Windows Server operating system, and redirects them to files and registry within the package created.
  3. Migration: In the final step, the AWS experts will deploy the application package created in the previous step to the AWS environment running the latest versions of Windows Server. They also apply operational best practices to accelerate the migration of workloads, thereby reducing risk and improving the final outcome. Once in the AWS cloud, you can focus on optimization of applications, processes, operations and costs.

Can I continue to run my EMP-packaged application on premises?

Once your application is packaged using the EMP technology, you can continue to run and test your applications on premises for 30 days, after which the applications must be migrated to AWS. For more details, visit the AWS Service Terms, located here.

How much does EMP for Windows Server cost?

The EMP tooling is offered at no cost. You only pay for the AWS Partner and/or AWS Professional Services engagement to drive migration of your applications to AWS using the EMP technology. Contact AWS Partner or AWS Professional Services for more details of their pricing.

What kind of applications can I upgrade/migrate using EMP for Windows Server?

EMP for Windows Server supports a wide range of applications, including home-grown/bespoke and customized off the shelf (COTS) applications, running on Windows Server 2003, 2008, and 2012, on premises or on AWS. EMP can even be used to migrate applications that have tight dependencies on older versions of the operating system, such as registry, libraries, and other files. EMP for Windows Server helps upgrade applications regardless of the availability of installation media or code.

What regions are supported through EMP for Windows Server?

EMP for Windows Server is available in all public AWS regions and GovCloud.

What applications are best suited for EMP?

Application that have dependencies on legacy versions of Windows and lack support on newer version of Windows are prime candidates for EMP. EMP eliminates the underlying OS dependencies by packaging the dependencies in the EMP package which can run as a self-contained setup on any newer version of Windows.

Should all legacy applications use EMP?

Some applications will be compatible with newer version of Windows. For such applications, an in-place upgrade of the underlying OS is generally the easiest path forward. EMP works best for applications that are incompatible with newer versions of Windows.

How is an End-of-Support (EOS) database upgrade for SQL Server handled?

Commonly, EOS Windows Server applications also have EOS SQL Server databases. The recommended approach is to upgrade the database to a modern version as SQL Server database upgrades are handled outside the EMP process. You can also modernize to AWS purpose-built, cloud-native databases such as Aurora. You can learn more about those options here.

If you find that a specific SQL Server database cannot be upgraded or an upgrade breaks application functionality (even in compatibility mode) then you can fall back to creating an EMP package for the legacy version of SQL which can then be deployed onto a modern EC2 Windows instance.

For instance, this EMP demo video showcases how SQL Server 2000 can be packaged and deployed to a Windows Server 2019 instance in AWS.

Review the fundamentals

Learn more about EMP for Windows Server through our overview page

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