Microsoft is ending extended support for Windows Server 2003 on July 15, 2015. Learn more about options that AWS provides you to manage this transition.


What is the relationship between Microsoft and Amazon Web Services?

Amazon Web Services and Microsoft have worked together for many years with AWS becoming part of the Microsoft Service Provider program in 2008. Over the years we have collaborated on making Windows and its associated workloads fully supported in the AWS cloud. Microsoft and AWS have mutual customers running Windows workloads on AWS today including the Department of Treasury, Lionsgate, and Royal Dutch Shell. In addition, AWS has released Microsoft-specific technologies to manage and optimize Windows applications in AWS – AWS tools for Windows PowerShell, AWS Management Pack for Microsoft System Center, AWS Diagnostics for Microsoft Windows Server, and Relational Database Services (RDS) for Microsoft SQL Server.

Will customers have to recreate their environment using other technologies in order to receive support from AWS or Microsoft?

No. Customers can receive support running Microsoft workloads on AWS from both AWS and Microsoft under the customer’s support agreements with AWS or Microsoft without having to recreate their environment using other technologies. In the very rare case a problem could not be duplicated, AWS would work with the customer to recreate the issue in a Microsoft validated environment.

Can we use our existing Microsoft licenses on AWS?

Yes. Eligible Microsoft software may be deployed on AWS using existing application licenses but it is up to the customer to ensure compliance with Microsoft’s licensing programs. Microsoft runs a License Mobility Program for their customers and all customers using License Mobility through Software Assurance must complete a license verification process. Microsoft will ensure that the customer has eligible licenses with active Software Assurance and that those licenses may be used on a third party cloud provider such as AWS. For more information, see the Microsoft License Mobility page on the AWS site.

Is AWS SVVP Validated?

AWS does not need to be SVVP validated for customers to be fully supported running Microsoft workloads on AWS. As Microsoft explains: “SVVP does not apply to vendors that are hosting Windows Server or other Microsoft products through the Microsoft Service Provider License Agreement Program (SPLA). Support for SPLA customers is provided under the SPLA agreement by the SPLA hoster.” (see http://www.windowsservercatalog.com/svvp.aspx).

Without SVVP Validation, are Microsoft products fully supported in the AWS environment?

Yes. SVVP validation is not applicable to SPLA providers. Support for SPLA customers is provided under the SPLA agreement by AWS. AWS is fully committed to supporting our customers running Microsoft workloads on AWS.

How frequently does AWS patch Windows AMIs?

AWS provides updated, fully patched Windows AMIs within 5 business days of Microsoft’s patch Tuesday (second Tuesday of each month).

What happens with previously published AMIs?

AWS deprecates previously published Windows and SQL Server AMIs within 10 business days after a new set of AMIs is published.

How do I know I’m launching the latest AWS published AMI?

When publishing new Windows AMIs, AWS follows a consistent naming scheme. For example, Windows_Server-2012-R2_RTM-English-64Bit-Base-2014.05.20. Look for the date stamp in the AMI name. You find the date stamp (last 8 digits) at the end of the AMI name.

What editions of Windows Server 2012 R2 are available in AMIs?

We will be releasing AMI's with Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard Edition. For details on the differences between the Windows Server Editions, please refer to the Microsoft documentation.

Will it cost more to run Windows Server 2012 R2?

No. Both On-Demand and Reserved instance pricing for Windows Server 2012 R2 is the same as the pricing for earlier versions of Windows Server available on Amazon EC2. You can view the current pricing for Amazon EC2 instances here: http://aws.amazon.com/ec2/pricing.

Which AWS regions are supported?

Windows Server 2012 R2 is available in all AWS regions.

Which Amazon EC2 instance types are supported?

At this time, all Amazon EC2 instance types are supported.

What languages are available?

We support 19 languages with the Windows Server 2012 R2 AMIs. Current list of supported languages: Brazilian Portuguese, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish.

How do I deploy my applications running Windows Server 2012 R2 to AWS?

You can use AWS Elastic Beanstalk to deploy and manage your applications on Windows Server 2012 R2 in the AWS cloud. Additionally, you can deploy directly to Amazon EC2 instances launched from the EC2 console or the AWS Marketplace. Also, you can use the AWS Toolkit for Visual Studio to get your application deployed and running in a few clicks.

Which SQL Server version/edition and languages are available with Windows Server 2012 R2 AMIs?

The following SQL Server languages, version and editions are available with Windows Server 2012 R2 AMI:

English, Japanese and Brazilian Portuguese: SQL Server 2014 (Express, Web and Standard editions)

Windows Server 2012 R2 has two file systems: NTFS and ReFS. Which one should I use?

ReFS was designed for file sharing workloads like sharing content or streaming videos.

Windows applications like SQL Server support NTFS and will not install on a ReFS volume.

Can I create a Storage Space using an EBS volume?

Yes. EBS volumes can be used to setup a Storage Pool. The volumes can be formatted as NTFS or ReFS depending upon your application*.

How do I switch to the new Windows Server Start screen?

Move your mouse to the lower left corner, wait for the Start screen and then click to switch into the Start screen.

On previously published Windows Server AMIs I followed the steps as documented here to enable enhanced networking. Do I still need to do this for Windows Server 2012 R2 AMIs?

No, you don’t need to do this for the new Windows Server 2012 R2 AMIs. The AMIs provide built-in support for enhanced networking via SR-IOV on R3, C3 and I2 instances.

*This is currently only supported on Windows Server 2012 and is not yet supported on Windows Server 2012 R2 running in AWS

Does AWS offer SharePoint instances?

No, AWS does not offer SharePoint instances at this time.

How can I run SharePoint on AWS?

You can run SharePoint on AWS by deploying eligible licenses with active Software Assurance through Microsoft’s License Mobility program. Learn more at http://aws.amazon.com/windows/resources/licensemobility/.

What is Microsoft License Mobility?

Microsoft License Mobility through Software Assurance allows Microsoft customers to more easily move current on-premises Microsoft Server application workloads to Amazon Web Services (AWS), without any additional Microsoft software license fees. This benefit is available to Microsoft Volume Licensing (VL) customers with eligible server applications covered by active Microsoft Software Assurance (SA) contracts. Learn more at http://aws.amazon.com/windows/resources/licensemobility/.

What if I do not have Software Assurance on the Licenses?

Please contact your Microsoft Large Account Reseller (LAR) for options on how to purchased and/or add Software Assurance to existing licenses.

How do SharePoint licenses on AWS work?

One SharePoint license can be assigned to one AWS instance (no max/min size).

How do I use an SQL Instance with SharePoint on AWS?

Customers can run their existing SQL licenses per the License Mobility program or they can run on an AWS SQL instance. For more information on SQL instances running on Amazon EC2, including pricing, please visit http://aws.amazon.com/windows/products/ec2.

Why do I need to run MSDN on Dedicated Instances?

Although there is no technical reason why software available under MSDN subscription licenses cannot work on all Amazon EC2 instance types, the Microsoft Volume Licensing Product Use Rights (July 2014) states, “You may install and use permitted copies of the software on Servers and other devices that are under the day-to-day management and control of third parties, provided all such Servers and other devices are and remain fully dedicated to your use.” A Dedicated Instance runs on a server dedicated to a single customer’s use.

How do MSDN subscription licenses work on AWS?

You must have a valid license agreement in place with Microsoft that covers the MSDN software you run on AWS. You are solely responsible for complying with all applicable Microsoft licensing requirements, including the Microsoft Volume Licensing Product Use Rights available here. AWS recommends that you consult with your own advisors to understand and comply with the applicable Microsoft licensing requirements.

How do I use MSDN on AWS?

You can use MSDN on AWS by installing your eligible MSDN software from the MSDN Subscriptions page and using your product key available in your MSDN profile.

What is the AWS Management Pack for Microsoft System Center?

The AWS Management Pack is an extension to Microsoft System Center Operations Manager that enables you to view and monitor your AWS resources directly in the Operations Manager console. This way, you get a single pane of glass to view and monitor your resources, whether they are on-premises or in the AWS cloud.

Which AWS resources can I monitor using the AWS Management Pack?

You can monitor following AWS resources using the AWS Management Pack:

● Amazon EC2 instances (Microsoft Windows and Linux)
● Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS) volumes
● Elastic Load Balancing
● AWS CloudFormation stacks
● AWS Beanstalk applications

All the default Amazon CloudWatch metrics for these resources—and any Amazon CloudWatch alarms associated with them—are surfaced as performance counters and alerts in Operations Manager.


Which versions of System Center Operations Manager can I use?

The AWS Management Pack is available for “System Center 2012 – Operations Manager” and “System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2”.

Can I monitor AWS resources that are in different AWS regions?

Yes. The management pack gives you a consolidated view of your resources across multiple regions and Availability Zones.

Can I monitor AWS resources that are in Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)?

Yes. The management pack gives you a consolidated view of your resources running in Amazon VPC and Amazon EC2.

Can I monitor AWS resources from multiple AWS accounts?

Yes. You can configure the management pack to monitor AWS resources from multiple AWS accounts. Resources from multiple AWS accounts are monitored separately instead of being consolidated in a single view.

Can I monitor applications running within Amazon EC2 instances?

Yes, provided that (a) the Amazon EC2 instances are running Operations Manager Agent, and (b) the application-specific management packs are imported in Operations Manager. This applies to Amazon EC2 instances running Microsoft Windows as well as Linux.

EC2 Instances

Can I use IAM credentials instead of AWS root account credentials to monitor AWS resources?

Yes. You can configure the AWS Management Pack to use the access key ID and secret access key of a locked-down IAM user instead of using the credentials of a fully-privileged AWS root account.

Can I use my on-premises Operations Manager for the AWS Management Pack?

Yes. You can choose to run Operations Manager either on-premises or in the AWS cloud.

Where can I find more information about the AWS Management Pack?

A comprehensive guide detailing deploying, using, customizing, and troubleshooting the AWS Management Pack is available here.

Can I use my existing System Center Licenses?

Yes, through Microsoft License Mobility.

What is AWS Systems Manager for Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager?

AWS Systems Manager for Microsoft SCVMM is a software add-in that lets you administer your AWS resources using SCVMM. You can monitor and manage your EC2 for Windows instances in the AWS Cloud, as well as on-premises virtual machines—from a single console.

What can I do with Systems Manager for SCVMM?

You can list and view EC2 for Windows instances in any region. You can also start, stop, reboot, and terminate instances, as well as connect via RDP.

Which versions of SCVMM can be used with Systems Manager for SCVMM?

You can use AWS Systems Manager with SCVMM 2012 SP1 and later.

Where do I download Systems Manager for SCVMM?

You can download the add-in here.

How much does Systems Manager for SCVMM cost?

There is no additional cost to download, install or use Systems Manager for SCVMM.

How is this different from the AWS Management Pack for Microsoft System Center?

The AWS Management Pack is used for monitoring and reporting on the performance of EC2 for Windows instances, whereas AWS Systems Manager lets you start, stop, reboot and terminate instances.

What is the AWS Diagnostics for Microsoft Windows Server?

AWS Diagnostics for Microsoft Windows Server is a standalone executable that can be run on an EC2 Windows Server instance for diagnosis and troubleshooting as well as proactively checking for possible issues. The tool includes a data collector module that collects debug information and packages it in a zip file. It also includes an analyzer module that can analyze the log files collected by the data collector module and parse them based on predefined rule.

When should I use this tool?

If you ever run into issues with your EC2 Windows Server instance and want to do a preliminary check to eliminate some of the known problems, this tool will be a great starting point. It will also relieve the pain point of trying to collect a bunch of different log files manually, especially when you are working with our technical support.

What data will be collected?

Here’s a sample list of data that will be collected. For a comprehensive list, please refer to the user manual

  • Network Information, including IP address and route table
  • Domain and computer name
  • Activation settings, including license status and Key Management Server (KMS) configuration
  • Time settings, including current time and time zone
  • Installed drivers on the instance
  • Windows firewall settings, along with security group rules
  • Installed updates
  • Mini dump files if Windows has crashed within a week

What are some of the analysis rules?

Here’s a sample list of analysis rules. For a comprehensive list, please refer to the user manual

  • Check for activation status and KMS settings
  • Check for proper route table entries for metadata and KMS access
  • Comparison of AWS Security group rules vs. Windows firewall rules
  • Version check for PV driver (Redhat or Citrix)
  • Check if the RealTimesUniversal registry key is set
  • Default gateway settings if using multiple NICs
  • Bug check code in mini dump files

How much does the AWS Diagnostics for Microsoft Windows Server cost?

There is no additional charge for AWS Diagnostics for Microsoft Windows Server.

My EC2 Windows Server just crashed. Can I use this tool to collect log files from the EBS boot volume for that instance?

Yes. In order to do that you will have to detach the volume from the crashed instance and attach it to an instance on which the tool is running. The tool will then parse through the directory structure of the attached EBS volume that you select and will collect the necessary information.

Where can I find more information about the AWS Diagnostic Tool for Microsoft Windows Server?

A comprehensive guide for AWS Diagnostic Tool for Microsoft Windows Server is available here.

Where can I provide feedback on AWS Diagnostic Tool for Microsoft Windows Server?

You can provide the feedback here.