Amazon Web Services offers you the flexibility to run Microsoft SQL Server for as much or as little time as you need. You can select from a number of versions and editions, as well as choose between running it on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) or Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS).

Using SQL Server on Amazon EC2 gives you complete control over every setting, just like when it’s installed on-premises. Amazon RDS is a fully managed service that takes care of all the maintenance, backups, and patching for you. To see what versions and editions are available, read below for EC2 and go here for RDS. You can choose AWS license-included options on Amazon EC2 instances and Amazon RDS or choose to bring your own license on Amazon EC2.

Microsoft SQL Server

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Express Edition 2005, 2008, 2008 R2, 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2017: An entry-level database product that enables small database applications. The maximum size of a database supported is 10 GB. SQL Server Express is offered at no additional cost over the base Microsoft Windows Server instance price on EC2.

Web Edition 2008 R2, 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2017: A mid-level database product that is restricted to Web facing applications, and available at a low cost over the base Windows Server instance price on EC2. This product offers unlimited database size, easy manageability, and is suitable for small- to large-scale Web applications.

Standard Edition 2005, 2008, 2008 R2, 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2017: A higher end database product that allows unrestricted use for building enterprise-scale applications with Windows and .NET, and massively scalable websites. Standard includes support for Mirroring, and is suitable for applications with High Availability needs.

Enterprise Edition 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2017: A high end, datacenter database product offers “AlwaysOn” high availability, in-memory performance, enterprise scalability, self-service business intelligence and robust data quality. Enterprise is suitable for demanding database and business intelligence requirements.

All versions integrate with Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS), enabling you to take advantage of the persistence, performance, and reliability of Amazon EBS for all your databases. Click here to learn more about other database options with AWS. To find details on available AMIs please visit the Windows AMI page.

If You Need:

Consider Using:

A relational database service with minimal administration

Amazon RDS for SQL Server, a fully managed service that offers SQL Server 2008 R2, 2012, and 2014 while offloading database administration tasks like managing backups, detecting failures and recovering and much more.

A relational database you can manage on your own

Amazon EC2 running Windows Server with your choice of several versions of Microsoft SQL Server offers you the flexibility to run a database server for as much or as little time as you need, with complete control over the Windows Server settings.

If you are new to AWS, you will need to create an AWS account before you can launch an Amazon EC2 or Amazon RDS instance.

Hess Corporation

Hess Corporation is a leading global independent energy company engaged in the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas. In order to divest some of its business, the company used SQL on AWS to separate the business systems and data for potential buyers. Hess worked with APN Advanced Consulting Partner Nimbo to help migrate their infrastructure to AWS.

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Kaplan is a global provider of educational services for individuals, schools, and businesses. After Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the company migrated its Kaplan Test Prep division to the AWS cloud, including datacenter hosting applications and databases, which were moved to Amazon RDS for SQL. As a result, Kaplan has reduced its datacenter footprint and improved user experience by leveraging multiple AWS regions to deliver content faster to its customers around the world.

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Delaware North

Delaware North manages and provides food and beverage concessions, premium dining, entertainment, lodging, and retail at many large venues around the world, such as sports stadiums, entertainment complexes, national and state parks, airports, and casinos, serving more than 500 million customers at 200 venues each year. By moving most of its corporate datacenter operations to AWS, the company was able to reduce its server footprint by 91 percent and save at least $3.5 million over five years, while improving security compliance and disaster recovery. In addition to SQL, Delaware North runs Microsoft Windows Server and System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) on AWS, among many other services.

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Jobvite provides recruiting solutions to more than 1,600 customers, including LinkedIn, Twitter, Etsy, SpaceX, and Farmers Insurance. The company's customers depend on it to be fast and reliable, which became challenging with their prior solution. After moving to AWS for dev/test, staging, and production, server provisioning time went from weeks to minutes and uptime is now above 99.98 percent, while cutting costs by 35 percent. Jobvite is using dozens of AWS services, such as EC2, S3, ELB, WorkSpaces, and multiple versions of RDS, including SQL. By leveraging AWS, the company is able to achieve the scalability to expand to new markets and business segments.

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is the trade association for the world’s airlines, representing 250 companies, which account for 84 percent of global air traffic. When the organization needed to boost the performance of its BI platform, it looked to AWS because of its pace of innovation, big data services portfolio, and security features – especially the ISO 27001 certification which IATA required for its highly confidential information. IATA is running SQL and SharePoint on AWS, in a hybrid solution integrated with its on premises Active Directory.

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Here is a sample of the many resources available to help developers get up and running quickly with Windows on AWS. These written guides include reference architectures and sample code which you can use to learn how to deploy SQL Server databases reliably. In addition to these guides, we provide many other resources such as a documentation, training, videos, a .NET SDK, PowerShell tools, and more.  

SQL Server Architecture

August 2017

Windows Server and SQL Server provide built-in capabilities to run highly available solutions. This Quick Start implements a high availability solution built with Windows Server and SQL Server running on Amazon EC2, using Always On Availability Groups and Windows Server Failover Clustering. It supports SQL Server Enterprise edition versions 2012, 2014, and 2016. Learn more >>

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Microsoft SQL Server

July 2016

The goal of this whitepaper is to help you understand how to deploy SQL Server databases on AWS. You can run SQL Server databases on Amazon RDS as a fully managed service or on Amazon EC2 that you manage with full control over the environment. We review in detail how to provision and monitor your SQL Server databases, and how to manage scalability, performance, availability, security, and backup and recovery, in both Amazon RDS and Amazon EC2. This paper also describes how you can set up a Disaster Recovery solution between an on-premises SQL Server environment and AWS, using native SQL Server features like log shipping, replication, and AlwaysOn Availability Groups.

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May 2016

This Quick Start deploys four popular Microsoft products in an optimized environment on AWS: SQL Server, Exchange Server, Lync Server, and SharePoint Server. The deployment also includes Active Directory Domain Services as the foundation for these business productivity applications. The Quick Start provides an AWS CloudFormation template that automates the deployment, and also features a guide that discusses the architecture and implementation, provides step-by-step instructions, and explains customization options for this mission-critical enterprise platform.

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