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 Windows desktop-as-a-service. AWS also has the first and only fully managed native-Windows file system available in the cloud with FSx for Windows File Server and is the only cloud provider to provide production support for Kubernetes on Windows.
Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 End of Support
Support ends for Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 on January 14, 2020. Upgrade your legacy Windows Server applications to latest supported versions of Windows Server without any code changes.
The AWS advantage for Windows over the next largest cloud provider
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, the only production support for Kubernetes on Windows, and the first and only fully managed native-Windows file system available in the cloud with FSx for Windows File Server.
We have the best global infrastructure for running workloads that require high availability with 69 Availability Zones (AZ) across 22 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 (22 vs. 10). 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.
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.
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 eligible Microsoft Licenses to dedicated hosts on AWS. Customers have the flexibility to choose from a variety of available licensing options, including buying fully compliant licenses from AWS with a pay-as-you-go model, or bringing their eligible licenses to AWS. Customers can use AWS License Manager to centrally manage their software licenses across their AWS and on-premises environments.
More Migration Experience
AWS has over a decade of unmatched experience, helping thousands of organizations, including global enterprises such as Sysco, Hess, Sony DADC, Ancestry and Expedia migrate and modernize their Windows workloads on AWS. AWS has translated this experience in our new Migration Acceleration Program (MAP) for Windows, which is based on our proven MAP methodology of best practices that is recognized by IDC** as the most extensive library of cases covering thousands of successful migrations. MAP for Windows also helps customers modernize their Windows, SQL, and .NET workloads on cloud native, Linux, and open source solutions.
Popular AWS services for Windows workloads
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.
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.
Fully managed relational database service that offers SQL Server 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2017 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.
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.
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.
AWS License Manager makes it easier to manage your Windows and SQL Server licenses across your AWS and on-premises environments. Administrators create customized licensing rules to manage, discover, and report software license usage.
AWS Migration Acceleration Program for Windows
Customer looking to migrate their Windows Server and SQL Server workloads to AWS can use the AWS Migration Acceleration Program (MAP) for Windows. Customers can also use MAP for Windows to modernize these workloads on cloud native, Linux, and other open source solutions. As part of this program, customers get prescriptive guidance, specialist consulting support, tooling, training, and services credits. With MAP for Windows, customers can reduce their risk of migrating to the cloud, and offset the initial cost of migration or modernization.
Desktop-as-a-service on AWS
Customers looking to move their Windows 10 and Windows 7 desktops to AWS, can do so with Amazon WorkSpaces. Amazon WorkSpaces is a desktop-as-a-service solution that lets you centrally manage your desktops and securely deliver them to any user. You can easily scale to any number of users across the globe without acquiring, provisioning, and operating hardware or infrastructure. And, you pay either monthly or hourly, just for the WorkSpaces you launch.
Customer case studies
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Blog posts & articles
April 15th 2019
February 18th 2019
November 28th 2018
Support for Windows applications in the cloud
Benefits for IT professionals
Benefits for developers
Pricing and licensing
Management and governance
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.
Documentation and resources
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.
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.
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.
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?