How do I perform native backups of an Amazon RDS DB instance that's running SQL Server?

Last updated: 2020-11-09

I want to perform a native backup of my user database in my Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) DB instance that's running SQL Server. I need to store the backup file in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), or use the database backup file to restore to the same or a different RDS SQL Server DB instance. How can I do that?

Short description

Amazon RDS supports native backup and restore for Microsoft SQL Server databases. You can create a full backup of your on-premises database and store the file in Amazon S3. You can then restore the backup file to an existing Amazon RDS DB instance that's running SQL Server. You can also restore this backup file to an on-premises server or to a different Amazon RDS DB instance that's running SQL Server.


To set up a native backup of the SQL Server database, use the following services:

  • An Amazon S3 bucket to store your backup files
  • An AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) role to access the bucket
  • The SQLSERVER_BACKUP_RESTORE option added to an option group on the DB instance

Note: Create the S3 bucket in the same Region as your RDS DB instance.

  1. Open the Amazon RDS console, and then choose Option Groups in the navigation pane. Choose Create Group, and enter the name, description, engine, and engine version of your server. Then, choose Create.
  2. Select the option group that you created, and then choose Add Option. Choose SQLSERVER_BACKUP_RESTORE. It's a best practice to create a new IAM role and then choose Add Option, so that your IAM role has the required privileges. Choose your S3 bucket, or create a new S3 bucket. Then, choose Apply Immediately and Add Option.
  3. Associate the option group with the DB instance by choosing Databases in the navigation pane, and then choose the instance to back up. Choose Actions, and then choose Modify.
  4. Under Database Options, choose the option group that you created, and then choose Apply Immediately and Continue. Review the information, and then choose Modify DB Instance. This option group modification has no downtime because instance reboot is not required.
  5. When the status changes from modifying to available, connect to the DB instance through SQL Server Management Studio, and then choose New Query. Enter one of the following SQL statements to initiate the backup of the desired database:

Initiate backup for unencrypted databases

exec msdb.dbo.rds_backup_database 
@source_db_name='database_name', @s3_arn_to_backup_to='arn:aws:s3:::bucket_name/file_name_and_extension', 

Initiate backup for encrypted databases

exec msdb.dbo.rds_backup_database 

Note: Replace database_name, bucket_name, file_name_and_extension, region, account-id, and key-id listed in these examples to match your scenario. You can use the backup file, generated in the S3 bucket, to restore the user database to a new RDS DB instance. When the rds_backup_database or rds_restore_database stored procedure is called, the task starts and outputs the information about the task.

When the lifecycle status of the task is SUCCESS, the task is complete. You can then open the Amazon S3 console, choose the bucket in which you created the user database backup, and view the backup file. You can download this file, or use the user database backup file to restore to the same RDS SQL Server DB instance or in a new RDS DB instance.

Use one of the following SQL statements to restore from the backup file available in the S3 bucket:

Restore unencrypted databases

exec msdb.dbo.rds_restore_database 

Restore encrypted databases

exec msdb.dbo.rds_restore_database 
@s3_arn_to_restore_from='arn:aws:s3::: bucket_name/file_name_and_extension', 

You can get the Task ID after you perform the backup or restore statement. Or, you can use the following script to identify all the completed and pending tasks for a particular database:

exec msdb.dbo.rds_task_status @db_name='database_name'

To track the status of the job, use this SQL statement:

exec msdb..rds_task_status @task_id= 5

For a list of potential errors and solutions, see Migrating Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise workloads to Amazon RDS.