Windows on AWS

The most popular, secure, and reliable cloud for Windows

Customers have been running Windows workloads on AWS for over a decade. We run nearly 2x more Windows Server instances than the next largest cloud provider, according to an IDC report. Our experience running Windows applications has earned our customers’ trust and the number of AWS enterprise customers using Amazon EC2 for Windows Server has grown 5x since 2015. You can select from a number of Windows Server versions including the latest version, Windows Server 2019. In addition, AWS supports everything you need to build and run Windows applications including Active Directory, .NET, System Center, Microsoft SQL Server, Visual Studio, and the first and only fully managed native-Windows file system available in the cloud with FSx for Windows File Server.

SQL Server 2008/2008 R2 End of Support

Support ends for SQL Server 2008/2008 R2 on July 9, 2019. Bring your SQL Server 2008 workloads to the cloud and easily upgrade with AWS Systems Manager.

The AWS advantage for Windows over the next largest cloud provider

2x

More Windows Server instances

2x

More regions with multiple availability zones (20 vs. 8)

7x

Fewer downtime hours in 2018*

2x

Higher performance for SQL Server on Windows

5x

More services offering encryption
*Based on downtime hours from 1/1/18 to 12/31/18 pulled directly from the public service health dashboards of the major cloud providers.

Why Windows on AWS

AWS offers the best cloud for Windows, and it is the right cloud platform for running Windows-based applications today and in the future. Windows on Amazon EC2 enables you to increase or decrease capacity within minutes, not hours or days. You can commission one, hundreds, or even thousands of server instances simultaneously.

Broader and Deeper Functionality

AWS offers a far broader selection of services along with much deeper functionality within most of these services than any other cloud provider. We have the widest selection of cloud services, including 48 services where comparable options are simply not available on the next largest cloud provider, including deeper functionality for Windows such as the AWS Deep Learning AMI for Microsoft Windows Server and the first and only fully managed native-Windows file system available in the cloud with FSx for Windows File Server.

Greater Reliability

We have the best global infrastructure for running workloads that require high availability with 61 Availability Zones (AZ) across 20 Regions. The AWS Region/AZ model has been recognized by industry analysts as the recommended approach for running enterprise applications that require high availability and AWS provides >2x more regions with multiple availability zones than the next largest cloud provider (20 vs. 8). This is one of the reasons why the next largest cloud provider had 7x more downtime hours than AWS in 2018*.

More Security Capabilities

AWS offers 210 security, compliance, and governance services and key features which is about 40 more than the next largest cloud provider. We also support 89 security standards and compliance certifications including PCI-DSS, HIPAA/HITECH, FedRAMP, GDPR, FIPS 140-2, and NIST 800-171, which is meaningfully more than any other cloud provider. For encryption, all AWS services that store customer data offer the ability to encrypt that data and we offer encryption across 116 different AWS services which is 5X more than the next largest cloud provider.

Faster Performance

Testing from DBBest found that SQL Server on AWS consistently shows a 2x-3x better performance using HammerDB, a TPC-C-like benchmark tool compared to the next largest cloud provider. ZK Research also points out that AWS has at least a 2X price/performance advantage over the next largest cloud provider when comparing the price of a workload, including storage, compute and networking.

Lower Costs

AWS helps customers lower their overall costs of running Windows in the cloud with the most comprehensive family of EC2 instances and unique pricing models like Spot which can help customers save up to 90% on their Windows compute costs. Customer can also save money by moving their Microsoft Licenses to dedicated hosts on AWS like Xero did with their SQL Server migration. Dedicated hosts are also a great option for Windows or SQL Server instances that don’t have software assurance. You can’t bring those licenses to the next largest provider.

More Migration Experience

AWS has unmatched experience over the last 10 years, helping thousands of organizations, including global enterprises such as Sysco, Hess, Sony DADC, Ancestry and Expedia migrate their Windows workloads to the cloud. AWS has translated this experience in our Migration Acceleration Program (MAP), a proven methodology of best practices that is recognized by IDC** as the most extensive library of cases covering thousands of successful migrations. Customers follow this methodology and apply a combination of unique tools and deep expertise from our partners, professional services and support teams to help assess, right size, and move their Windows and SQL Server workloads to AWS.

*Based on downtime hours from 1/1/18 to 12/31/18 pulled directly from the public service health dashboards of the major cloud providers.
**Source: IDC, Fostering Business and Organizational Transformation to Generate Business Value with Amazon Web Services, Doc #US43535718, February 2018.

When customers move their Windows workloads to AWS, here are just some of the popular services that they can use as part of their deployments.

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SQL Server on Amazon EC2

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.

Learn more »

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Amazon Relational Database Service

Fully managed relational database 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, data transfer, DNS management, and a static IP – for a low, predictable price.

Learn more »

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Amazon FSx for Window File Server

Fully managed native Microsoft Windows file system which provides shared file storage including full support for the SMB protocol and Windows NTFS, and Active Directory integration.

Learn more »

 

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AWS Directory Service

Managed Microsoft Active Directory in the AWS Cloud for organizations that rely on Active Directory for identity and access management and want close integration with your existing infrastructure.

Learn more »

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AWS License Manager

AWS License Manager makes it easier to manage licenses in AWS and on-premises servers from software vendors such as Microsoft. Administrators create customized licensing rules to manage, discover, and report software license usage.

Learn more »

Customer case studies

Guinness World Records Moves All In on AWS (2:28)
Xero Saves 30% on their SQL Server Licensing Costs with AWS (1:42)
NextGen Healthcare Increases Performance and Reduces Costs with Windows on AWS (1:47)
Sysco Chooses AWS to Manage its Windows-based Workloads (2:52)
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Ancestry, a leader in consumer genomics, needed to support continued growth and cloud acceleration. Ancestry deployed a well-architected approach on AWS, moving business critical workloads with 10 PB of data, 400 apps, and 6000 instances, including their SQL databases and Microsoft workloads. Now, they are all-in development in the cloud, enabling more rapid innovation by leveraging over 30 AWS services. Ancestry has seen up to a 10x performance improvement in their applications, all while achieving enhanced security for their deployments and driving continuous innovation for the future. “AWS provides us with the flexibility we need to stay at the forefront of consumer genomics. We’re confident that AWS provides us with unmatched scalability, security, and privacy.” says Nat Naterajan, VP Product & Technology at Ancestry

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Hess Corporation, a leading global independent energy company, identified a need to streamline its business. The company looked to move the majority of their mission critical Windows workloads, including SQL Server, Exchange, AD and custom .NET apps, as well as SAP HANA and Oracle Hyperion, to AWS to increase availability and reduce technical debt. Hess was able to leverage a hybrid-approach, while reporting higher availability, improved performance, and agility. “We haven't met a Windows Workload we can't run in AWS and run better—including Windows Server—with zero downtime,” says Bill Rothe, VP Enterprise Systems at Hess.

 

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Infor, a global leader in enterprise ERP software cloud products for industries including Manufacturing, Healthcare, and Retail, adopts an all-AWS strategy to save time and money as they manage their exponential business growth. Infor uses Microsoft SQL Server on Amazon EC2 instances to run 1000’s of SQL databases and saves 75% on monthly backup costs and backs up 2 petabytes of data daily 30% faster.

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Unilever needed to support hundreds of web properties around the world. In addition to realizing the benefits of improved business agility and operational efficiency, "We can focus on innovation rather than infrastructure", says Sreenivas Yalamanchili, Digital Marketing Services Global Technical Manager. Uniliver worked with APN Advanced Consulting Partner CSS Corp.

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Expedia is committed to continuous innovation, with technology and platform improvements to create a great user experience. The company chose AWS because it was the only solution with the global infrastructure in place to support its customers. "When I think of AWS, freedom is the first word that comes to mind," says Magesh Chandramouli, Principal Architect.

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Macmillan can scale its flagship digital learning application LaunchPad to support three times the number of users, while releasing new application features faster using AWS. Macmillan worked with AWS Partner Relus Cloud to migrate LaunchPad to the AWS Cloud, using a combination of service including Amazon EC2 for Windows and Linux, Amazon EBS, Amazon S3, CloudFront, and Direct Connect.

Analyst research

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For more research, visit AWS Analyst Reports »

Blog posts & articles

Running the most reliable choice for Windows workloads: Windows on AWS

May 8th 2019

Fact-checking the truth on TCO for running Windows workloads in the cloud

April 15th 2019

The Wide World of Microsoft Windows on AWS

April 11th 2019

Upgrade Your End of Support Microsoft 2008 R2 Workloads in AWS with Ease

February 18th 2019

New AWS License Manager – Manage Software Licenses and Enforce Licensing Rules

November 28th 2018

New – Amazon FSx for Windows File Server – Fast, Fully Managed, and Secure

November 28th 2018

Celebrating 10 years of Microsoft Windows Server and SQL Server on AWS! Happy Birthday!

October 15th 2018

Support for Windows applications in the cloud

Benefits for IT professionals

AWS gives IT professionals the tools to deploy, manage and secure Windows applications in the cloud. With AWS applications can scale, always meet capacity demands, and become more resilent.
Learn More 

Benefits for developers

Developers using Windows on AWS can take advantage of many of the tools and experiences they know and trust. With AWS developers can start building and innovating using the same tools they have been trained and skilled to use.
Learn More 

Pricing and licensing

You can can make the most of your existing investments. AWS offers many pricing and licensing solutions to extend your existing investments and reduce costs along the way.
Learn More 

Management and governance

AWS offers tools and services to efficiently manage, inventory and control Windows applications. By using these services you can further optimize the way you run Windows in the cloud.
Learn More 

Benefits for IT professionals

AWS gives IT professionals the tools to deploy, manage and secure Windows applications in the cloud. With AWS applications can scale, always meet capacity demands, and become more resilent.

Easily Manage your Windows Server Applications

AWS provides a set of management tools that allows you to programmatically provision, monitor, and automate all the components of your cloud environment. Using these tools, you can maintain consistent controls without restricting development velocity. AWS provides four kinds of management tools that all work together and are integrated with every part of the AWS platform: Provisioning, Operations Management, Monitoring and Logging and Configuration Management.

Learn more about AWS Management Tools »

Deploy Applications on Fully Managed Infrastructure

Amazon RDS provides a fully managed database service for SQL Server that is high performance, highly durable and highly available. Amazon EC2 Windows provides highly scalable, easily managed, flexible compute infrastructure that supports all your Microsoft applications. With AWS-managed services such as AWS Managed Microsoft AD, Amazon for RDS SQL Server, you reduce the cost and overhead of managing Microsoft applications. With Amazon FSx for Windows File Server, you can launch highly durable and available Windows file systems that can be accessed from up to thousands of compute instances and eliminates the typical administrative overhead of managing Windows file servers.

 

Improve the Security Posture of your Applications

You can ensure your data is protected with end-to-end encryption. AWS Direct Connect and Amazon VPC helps you establish a networking approach with multiple layers of security, including dedicated physical connectivity, logical isolation, security groups, and access control lists.

 

Get World-Class End-to-End Support for your business

There is no compression algorithm for experience. AWS Support and AWS Professional Services are some of the most experienced professionals in the industry on running Microsoft applications in the cloud.

 

Benefits for developers

Developers using Windows on AWS can take advantage of many of the tools and experiences they know and trust. With AWS developers can start building and innovating using the same tools they have been trained and skilled to use.

Build Microsoft Applications Faster

AWS Elastic Beanstalk helps you quickly and easily deploy and scale applications built on .NET, Java, PHP, node.js, Python, Ruby, and Docker. AWS CloudFormation and AWS CodeDeploy let you build and deploy custom configurations quickly and easily.

 

AWS Toolkit for Visual Studio

The AWS Toolkit for Visual Studio is an extension for Microsoft Visual Studio running on Microsoft Windows that makes it easier for developers to develop, debug, and deploy .NET applications using Amazon Web Services. With the AWS Toolkit for Visual Studio, you'll be able to get started faster and be more productive when building AWS applications.

The AWS Toolkit for Visual Studio 2017 is available via the Visual Studio Marketplace. The AWS Toolkit for 2013 and 2015 is contained in the AWS SDK and Tools for .NET install package.

Automate with a DevOps approach

AWS provides a set of flexible services designed to enable companies to more rapidly and reliably build and deliver products using AWS and DevOps practices. These services simplify provisioning and managing infrastructure, deploying application code, automating software release processes, and monitoring your application and infrastructure performance.

Learn more about DevOps »

Pricing and licensing

You can can make the most of your existing investments. AWS offers many pricing and licensing solutions to extend your existing investments and reduce costs along the way.

Reduce Costs Associated with your Microsoft Applications

AWS lets you pay only for the resources you use and scale up and down based on demand. AWS helps you save money on your existing Microsoft application investments with options to bring your own licenses (BYOL). For new applications, you can also purchase Windows Server licenses with your EC2 Instance purchase. With AWS-managed services such as AWS Managed Microsoft AD, Amazon for RDS SQL Server, you reduce the cost and overhead of managing Microsoft applications.

 

Flexible Purchasing Options Simplify Procurement

You have a variety of options for using new and existing Microsoft software licenses on the AWS Cloud. By purchasing Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) or Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) license-included instances, you get new, fully compliant Windows Server and SQL Server licenses from AWS. Your existing licenses may be used on AWS with Amazon EC2 Dedicated Hosts, Amazon EC2 Dedicated Instances, or EC2 instances with default tenancy using Microsoft License Mobility through Software Assurance. Whether you want to purchase new Microsoft licenses, or utilize existing ones, you can rely on AWS to run your Microsoft software.

 

Optimize your Costs with AWS

By following a few simple steps, you can effectively optimize your AWS costs: 1) Right-size your services to meet capacity needs at the lowest cost 2) Save money when you reserve 3) Use the spot market 4) Monitor and track service usage 5) Use Cost Explorer to optimize savings.

 

Management and governance

AWS offers tools and services to efficiently manage, inventory and control Windows applications. By using these services you can further optimize the way you run Windows in the cloud.

AWS License Manager

AWS License Manager lets administrators create customized licensing rules that emulate the terms of their licensing agreements, and then enforces these rules when an instance of EC2 gets launched. Administrators can use these rules to limit licensing violations, such as using more licenses than an agreement stipulates or reassigning licenses to different servers on a short-term basis. The rules in AWS License Manager enable you to limit a licensing breach by physically stopping the instance from launching or by notifying administrators about the infringement. Administrators gain control and visibility of all their licenses with the AWS License Manager dashboard and reduce the risk of non-compliance, misreporting, and additional costs due to licensing overages.

 

AWS Cost Explorer

AWS Cost Explorer has an easy-to-use interface that lets you visualize, understand, and manage your AWS costs and usage over time. Get started quickly by creating custom reports (including charts and tabular data) that analyze cost and usage data, both at a high level (e.g., total costs and usage across all accounts) and for highly-specific requests

 

Reserved Instance (RI) Reporting

AWS provides a number of RI-specific cost management solutions out-of-the-box to help you better manage and monitor your instances. The Reserved Instance Utilization and Coverage reports are available out-of-the-box in AWS Cost Explorer. Using these reports, you can set custom RI utilization and coverage targets, visualize how well you are tracking towards your goals, and access information associated with your savings as compared to On-Demand prices. From there, you can refine the underlying data using the available filtering dimensions (e.g., account, instance type, scope, and others) to grain greater insight into your reservations.

 

Leverage hybrid cloud

For customers with Windows workloads that need to remain on-premises due to low latency or local data processing needs, AWS Outposts will bring native AWS services, infrastructure, and operating models to virtually any data center, co-location space, or on-premises facility. You can use the same APIs, the same tools, the same hardware, and the same functionality across on-premises and the cloud to deliver a truly consistent hybrid experience. AWS Outposts will come in two variants: 1) VMware Cloud on AWS Outposts allows you to use the same VMware control plane and APIs you use to run your infrastructure, 2) AWS native variant of AWS Outposts allows you to use the same exact APIs and control plane you use to run in the AWS cloud, but on-premises.

For customers using VMware infrastructure on-premises, you can also bring your existing Windows Server and SQL Server workloads to the cloud using VMware Cloud on AWS.

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Documentation and resources

AWS for Microsoft Workloads Self-Study Guide
 
Check out these self-study guide resources for IT professionals, architects, and software developers who are interested in learning how to design, build, and deploy Microsoft workloads on AWS. The topic areas addressed include: AWS core service prerequisites for running Microsoft workloads, DevOps and System Administration. Additional topics in Security, Active Directory, Directory Services, and SQL Server.
Best Practices for Deploying Microsoft SQL Server on AWS
March 2019 

This whitepaper focuses on best practices to attain the most value for the least cost when running Microsoft SQL Server on the AWS platform. Although for many generalpurpose use cases, Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) for Microsoft SQL Server provides an easy and quick solution, in this paper we focus on scenarios where you need to push the limits to satisfy your special requirements.

Quick Start for SQL Server and AlwaysOn Availability Groups

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. Explore 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.

Quick Start for Active Directory Domain Services

This Quick Start deploys Microsoft Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud. AD DS and Domain Name System (DNS) are core Windows services that provide the foundation for many Microsoft-based solutions for the enterprise, including Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Exchange, and .NET Framework applications.

Contact sales

Are you interested in running Microsoft Windows Server or Windows Server applications, such as SQL or SharePoint on AWS, and would like to have an AWS Sales Representative follow-up with you about your IT project?

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Microsoft Workloads self-study guide

Start using Microsoft Workloads with the self-study guide.

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