reference deployment

SQL Server on AWS

Using Always On Availability Groups and Windows Server Failover Clustering (WSFC)

This Quick Start implements a high availability solution built with Microsoft Windows Server and SQL Server running on Amazon EC2, using the Always On Availability Groups feature of SQL Server Enterprise edition.

The deployment includes Windows Server Failover Clustering (WSFC) and clustered SQL Server 2014, 2016, or 2017 instances on the AWS Cloud. The Quick Start includes a rich set of configuration options for SQL Server, Active Directory, and the WSFC cluster, including SQL Server version and licensing, tenancy options, and a choice of two Active Directory implementations: You can use AWS Directory Service for Active Directory, or manage the EC2 instances for Active Directory yourself.

This Quick Start was developed by AWS solutions architects.

Watch this short video to walk through the SQL Server architecture on AWS.

  •  What you'll build
  •  How to deploy
  •  Cost and licenses
  •  What you'll build
  • Use this Quick Start to automatically set up the following SQL Server environment on AWS:

    • A virtual private cloud (VPC) configured with public and private subnets across two Availability Zones. This provides the network infrastructure for your SQL Server deployment. You can optionally choose a third Availability Zone for the file share witness or for an additional SQL cluster node.*
    • An internet gateway to provide access to the internet.*
    • In the public subnets, Windows Server–based Remote Desktop Gateway (RDGW) instances and network address translation (NAT) gateways for outbound internet access.*
    • Elastic IP addresses associated with the NAT gateway and RDGW instances.*
    • In the private subnets, Active Directory domain controllers.*
    • In the private subnets, Windows Server-based instances as WSFC nodes.
    • SQL Server Enterprise edition with SQL Server Always On Availability Groups on each WSFC node. This architecture provides redundant databases along with a witness server to ensure that a quorum can vote for the node to be promoted to master. The default architecture mirrors an on-premises architecture of two SQL Server instances spanning two subnets placed in two different Availability Zones.
    • Security groups to ensure the secure flow of traffic between the instances deployed in the VPC.

    *  The template that deploys the Quick Start into an existing VPC skips the tasks marked by asterisks and prompts you for your existing VPC configuration.

  •  How to deploy
  • To build your SQL Server environment on AWS, follow the instructions in the deployment guide. The deployment process includes these steps:

    1. If you don't already have an AWS account, sign up at
    2. Launch the Quick Start. Each deployment takes approximately three hours. You can choose from two options:
    3. Configure a SQL Server Always On Availability Group.
    4. Test the deployment.

    To customize your deployment, you can choose different instance types for your resources, configure CIDR blocks and IP addresses, choose the AD implementation and SQL Server version, and configure other settings

  •  Cost and licenses
  • The Quick Start provides three licensing options for SQL Server Enterprise edition. You can:

    • Install a trial version of SQL Server 2014, 2016, or 2017 Enterprise edition from the Microsoft download site.
    • Use the Amazon Machine Image (AMI) with license costs for SQL Server Enterprise edition included. This option supports SQL Server 2016 and 2017 only.
    • Use your volume licensing software and mobilize the license. For details, see the Microsoft License Mobility through Software Assurance program. For development and test environments, you can leverage your existing MSDN licenses for SQL Server using Amazon EC2 Dedicated Instances. For details, see the MSDN on AWS webpage.

    This Quick Start launches one of the following Windows Server AMIs, depending on which version of SQL Server you choose to deploy, and includes the license for the Windows Server operating system:

    • AMI for Windows Server 2012 R2, if you choose to deploy SQL Server 2014 or 2016
    • AMI for Windows Server 2016, if you choose to deploy SQL Server 2017

    The AMI is updated on a regular basis with the latest service pack for the operating system. You are responsible for the cost of the AWS services used while running this Quick Start reference deployment. There is no additional cost for using the Quick Start.

    The AWS CloudFormation template for this Quick Start includes configuration parameters that you can customize. Some of these settings, such as instance type, volume size, or opting to use the Amazon-provided AMI for SQL Server, will affect the cost of deployment. See the pricing pages for each AWS service you will be using for cost estimates.