The use of Microsoft software is subject to Microsoft's terms. You are responsible for complying with Microsoft licensing. This document is only a guide for your convenience and you are not entitled to rely on its descriptions and it does not constitute legal advice. If you have questions about your licensing or rights to Microsoft software, please consult your legal team, Microsoft, or your Microsoft reseller. This page is up to date with current Microsoft Product Terms.

What are my licensing options for Microsoft software on Amazon EC2?

What is BYOL?

What is License Mobility?

How do I know if a specific Microsoft product is eligible for License Mobility?

Do I need active Software Assurance and License Mobility benefits to use my Microsoft licenses in AWS?

If I bring my own license, can I relicense AWS's Microsoft media or do I need to bring in my own media (a.k.a. “bits”)?

After I import my Microsoft media, do I need to activate my media against my own key management server (KMS)?

How do I know what type of offering to use if I’m bringing my own license?

How do I import my own licensed machine image into AWS?

I’ve read in my licensing terms that certain licenses must be used on infrastructure that's dedicated for my use. How does Amazon EC2 allow me to meet this requirement if I’m using my own licenses?

I’ve read in my licensing terms that a license cannot move to another region or physical machine for at least 90 days. How does Amazon EC2 help me meet this requirement if I’m using my own licenses?

When can I bring my own license using EC2 instances with default tenancy?

What is VM Import/Export?

What is EC2's default tenancy?

What is dedicated infrastructure?

What are Amazon EC2 Dedicated Hosts?

What are Amazon EC2 Dedicated Instances?

What's the difference between Dedicated Hosts and Dedicated Instances?

Does AWS recommend an EC2 purchasing option if I’m looking to use my own licenses?

What are my options for bringing development licenses to AWS?

 

What is the relationship between Microsoft and Amazon Web Services?

Amazon Web Services and Microsoft have worked together for several years, starting with AWS launching Windows Server based instances in 2008. AWS is a Gold Certified member of the Microsoft Partner Network and licensed to sell Microsoft software under the Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA). AWS is also an authorized license mobility partner. Over the years, AWS and Microsoft have collaborated to make Windows and its associated workloads available in the AWS cloud. Microsoft and AWS have mutual customers running Windows workloads on AWS today, including Dole Foods, Hess Corporation, and Lionsgate. In addition, AWS has released Microsoft-specific technologies that allow users to manage and optimize Windows applications in AWS – such as AWS tools for Windows PowerShell and EC2Rescue for EC2 Windows


Is Microsoft software supported on AWS?

Yes. AWS Support has been successfully supporting our customers who run Microsoft Windows-based EC2 instances in the AWS cloud since 2008 when we first launched Windows Server on EC2. Our support engineers have deep experience with Microsoft technologies on AWS including Amazon EC2, Amazon ECS, Amazon RDS, Amazon Workspaces and others. Now AWS has further enhanced our support capabilities with a new additional direct engagement between AWS Support and Microsoft Support, to help ensure high quality support and issue resolution for our customers. To find more information on end of support (EOS) for Microsoft products go here.


AWS is a member of the Microsoft Partner Network, licensed to sell Microsoft software under the Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA), and a Microsoft Gold Certified Hosting Partner. AWS is an authorized Microsoft License Mobility Partner and has an active Premier Support agreement with Microsoft.

 

What is the expanded support agreement between Amazon and Microsoft, and how does it benefit me?

For customers that have purchased AWS Support at the Business or Enterprise tier, AWS Support is able to work directly with Microsoft support engineers to resolve issues related to customers running Microsoft Windows Server, SQL Server, or Windows desktop (via Amazon Workspaces) on AWS. As a result of this expanded support agreement, AWS can engage directly with Microsoft to create the best possible support experience. If necessary, AWS Support can escalate issues directly to Microsoft and work with dedicated Microsoft support engineers to help ensure issues are addressed and resolved.

 

Can AWS open a support case with Microsoft on issues I might encounter?
Yes, AWS Support can work directly with Microsoft support engineers to escalate a support case if necessary to resolve issues encountered by AWS Support customers at the Business or Enterprise tier. AWS will not share any Customer information or specific details without your permission.

How does AWS work with Microsoft to resolve customer issues?

Customers who subscribe to AWS Support at the Business or Enterprise tier can submit issues through the AWS Support Center console. If the AWS Support Engineer finds that the problem is due to a Microsoft product or driver, the AWS Support Engineer can file a case with Microsoft and proceed with joint troubleshooting. The customer may be asked to document their authorization and permission for jointly engaging directly with Microsoft before AWS shares any Customer information or specific details.

 

Does the expanded support agreement between AWS and Microsoft cover all support issues related to my applications running on Windows Server or Windows desktop?
Issues related to Microsoft products that are included with the purchase of an AWS Service (e.g. Windows Server or SQL Server with Amazon EC2, Amazon RDS, Amazon Elastic Container Service, or Amazon Workspaces) are covered under a customer’s AWS Support agreement. For software not purchased through AWS, AWS Support may help identify and resolve issues related to AWS Services, and, with your permission, work with Microsoft as necessary to troubleshoot the problem related to AWS Services.

Microsoft products that are outside of Microsoft’s End of Support dates are excluded from this expanded support offering.


Does the extended support agreement between AWS and Microsoft replace my Microsoft support agreement?
No, this expanded support offering does not replace a direct Microsoft support agreement. This service provides assurance that issues that may arise between an AWS Service and Microsoft product (e.g., Windows Server, SQL Server, or Windows) will be investigated and remediated with the support of both companies. However, customers may run into other issues with their Microsoft applications that are separate from their AWS Services, and in this case customers should work directly through their Microsoft support relationship.


Are there regional restrictions on accessing the benefit of the expanded Support agreement with Microsoft?

No, there are no regional restrictions to using this benefit.

 

What types of Microsoft software can I run on AWS?

You can run many types of Microsoft software on AWS, including but not limited to: Microsoft Office, Windows Server, SQL Server, Exchange, SharePoint, Skype for Business, Microsoft Dynamics products, System Center, BizTalk, and Remote Desktop Services. You can use license included instances that include the license for Windows Server and SQL Server on Amazon EC2 or Amazon RDS. AWS customers have the flexibility of bringing on-premises Microsoft volume licenses and deploying them on Amazon EC2 instances. Licenses that are eligible for license mobility and covered by active Software Assurance can be deployed on AWS default (shared) tenant environments. Licenses that are not eligible for license mobility or that do not have active Software Assurance can be deployed on Amazon EC2 Dedicated Hosts or Amazon EC2 Dedicated Instances as long as the licenses are purchased prior to October 1, 2019 and are not upgraded to versions released after October 1, 2019.

Q. What is Microsoft End of Support (EOS)?

Microsoft Lifecycle Policy offers 10 years of support (5 years for Mainstream Support and 5 years for Extended Support) for Business and Developer products (such as SQL Server and Windows Server). As per the policy, after the end of the Extended Support period there will be no patches or security updates.

Q. How does EOS affect my existing instances on Amazon Web Services (AWS)?

There is no direct impact to existing instances. Customers can continue to start, run, and stop instances.

Microsoft will not provide patches for EOS products, unless customers purchase Extended Security Updates.

Q. Can I launch new instances that include EOS software from my Custom Amazon Machine Images (AMIs)?

Yes.

Q. Can I import images that contain EOS software into AWS using AWS tools?

Yes, customers can continue to import images to AWS using VM Import/Export (VMIE), Server Migration Service (SMS), or CloudEndure.

Q. How does EOS affect Managed AWS Windows AMIs?

There is no direct impact to existing AMIs registered in customer accounts.

AWS will not publish or distribute Managed AWS Windows AMIs that contain EOS software to AWS Management Console, Quick Start, or AWS Marketplace.

Customers with dependencies on Managed AWS Windows AMIs impacted by EOS should consider their options, including creating Custom AMI(s) within their AWS account(s) to enable new instance launches. Learn more about custom AMI creation here.

Q. Can I create additional Custom AMIs from existing Custom AMIs in my account that contain EOS software?

Yes.

Q. What are my options for running Microsoft software that is approaching EOS?

AWS customers running EOS software on EC2 instances have several options:

Remain on EOS software: Customers may decide to remain on EOS software. There will be no impact to existing instances, or to custom AMIs.

Automated upgrade: For customers with SQL Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008 R2, AWS Systems Manager automates the performance of non-destructive in-place upgrades. SQL Server 2008 R2 customers can upgrade to SQL Server 2012 R2 and again to SQL Server 2016 (BYOL only). Windows Server 2008 R2 customers can upgrade to Windows Server 2012 R2. For customers with a License Included (LI) version of Windows Server or SQL Server, there is no additional licensing cost to upgrade. For more information, please click here.

Manual in-place upgrade for Microsoft Windows Server:

License Included: Customers using Amazon License Included for Windows Server can perform in-place upgrades for their Windows instances. For more information, click here.

BYOL: Customers using the BYOL model can perform a manual in-place upgrade for Windows Server following the steps referenced in the License Included option above, using their own Media.

Manual in-place upgrade for Microsoft SQL Server:

License Included: AWS customers using License Included SQL Server can perform in-place upgrades on running instances. Please contact AWS support for additional assistance and detail on upgrade paths.

BYOL: Customers using the BYOL model can perform a manual in-place upgrade for SQL Server using their Media. For more information, click here.

Explore other platform options. AWS is committed to offering its customers the most flexibility in the cloud. AWS customers interested in the benefits of migrating certain SQL Server or Windows workloads to a different platform can contact their AWS account teams for more information.

For more information on all of Amazon’s products and Services, click here.

Q. Can I purchase Extended Security Updates to cover instances that run on AWS, utilizing Microsoft EOS software?

Yes, Extended Security Updates are available directly from Microsoft or a Microsoft licensing partner. Read more about Microsoft's Extended Security Updates here.

Customers should consider all their options for EOS, see “What are my options for running Microsoft software that is approaching EOS?” for more information.

Windows Server 2003

Extended Security Updates available for Amazon License Included? No.

Extended Security Updates available for Bring Your Own License (BYOL)? No.

Windows Server 2008/2008 R2

Extended Security Updates available for Amazon License Included? Yes.

Extended Security Updates available for Bring Your Own License (BYOL)? Yes; active Software Assurance (SA) required.

SQL Server 2005

Extended Security Updates available for Amazon License Included? No.

Extended Security Updates available for Bring Your Own License (BYOL)? No.

SQL Server 2008/2008 R2

Extended Security Updates available for Amazon License Included? No.

Extended Security Updates available for Bring Your Own License (BYOL)? Yes; active Software Assurance (SA) required.

Q. Which Microsoft products sold by Amazon are approaching EOS, and when will Microsoft cease support?

Note: Information reflects publicly available Microsoft EOS dates as of April 4th, 2019.

Microsoft Windows Server:

  • Windows Server 2003 - July 14th, 2015 (EOS already reached)
  • Windows Server 2008 - January 14th, 2020
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 – January 14th, 2020


Microsoft SQL Server:

  • SQL Server 2005 – April 12th, 2016 (EOS already reached)
  • SQL Server 2008 – July 9th, 2019
  • SQL Server 2008 R2 – July 9th, 2019

More information on Microsoft's Application Lifecycle can be found here.

Q. What Amazon products and services are affected by EOS and when will changes be made?

Starting July 1st, 2019 Microsoft requires AWS to no longer publish and distribute License Included Managed AWS Windows AMIs (available in AWS Management Console and Quick Start), media, and services that use or contain Microsoft EOS products. Products that have reached end of support in prior years are also subject to these restrictions. The following products and services are affected:

Managed AWS Windows AMIs:

AWS will no longer publish and distribute Managed AWS Windows AMIs that contain EOS software to AWS Management Console, Quick Start or AWS Marketplace.

Microsoft Windows Server:

  • Windows Server 2003 - July 1st, 2019
  • Windows Server 2008 - January 14th, 2020
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 - January 14th, 2020

Microsoft SQL Server:

  • SQL Server 2005 – July 1st, 2019
  • SQL Server 2008 - July 9th, 2019
  • SQL Server 2008 R2 - July 9th, 2019

Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS):

RDS will automatically upgrade customer databases that remain on SQL Server 2008 to SQL Server 2012 starting on June 1, 2019. We recommend customers test this upgrade prior to this date to ensure compatibility.

RDS customers can upgrade their Database version at any time. Learn more about upgrading your SQL Server 2008 R2 database in RDS here.

Amazon WorkSpaces:

WorkSpaces will stop offering License Included public bundles of Windows 7 Experience powered by Windows Server 2008 R2 after January 14th 2020.

WorkSpaces launched from License Included public bundles with Windows 7 Desktop Experience will no longer be able to be launched or rebuilt after January 14th 2020.

There is no impact for WorkSpaces created from BYOL bundles. Customers can continue to launch/rebuild those instances.

Customers who have created custom License Included bundles powered by Windows Server 2008 R2 will be able to use their custom bundles to launch or rebuild WorkSpaces after EOS.

Microsoft will not provide patches for EOS products unless customers purchase Extended Security Updates.

Q. Does the change to Microsoft’s EOS software distribution policy only apply to AWS?

Microsoft has advised that this change will apply to all hyperscale cloud providers.

Q. What are my options for running Microsoft software that is approaching EOS?

AWS customers running EOS software on EC2 instances have several options:

Remain on EOS software: Customers may decide to remain on EOS software. There will be no impact to existing instances, or to custom AMIs. Customers who are interested in purchasing Extended Security Updates from Microsoft should review the answer to the question, “Can I purchase Extended Security Updates from Microsoft to cover EOS instances that run on AWS?”.

Automated upgrade: For customers with SQL Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2008 R2, AWS Systems Manager automates the performance of non-destructive in-place upgrades. SQL Server 2008 R2 customers can upgrade to SQL Server 2012 R2 and again to SQL Server 2016 (BYOL only). Windows Server 2008 R2 customers can upgrade to Windows Server 2012 R2. For customers with a License Included (LI) version of Windows Server or SQL Server, there is no additional licensing cost to upgrade. For more information, please click here.

Manual in-place upgrade for Microsoft Windows Server:

License Included: Customers using Amazon License Included for Windows Server can perform in-place upgrades for their Windows instances. For more information, click here.

BYOL: Customers using the BYOL model can perform a manual in-place upgrade for Windows Server following the steps referenced in the License Included option above, using their own Media.

Manual in-place upgrade for Microsoft SQL Server:

License Included: AWS customers using License Included SQL Server can perform in-place upgrades on running instances. Please contact AWS support for additional assistance and detail on upgrade paths.

BYOL: Customers using the BYOL model can perform a manual in-place upgrade for SQL Server using their Media. For more information, click here.

Explore other platform options. AWS is committed to offering its customers the most flexibility in the cloud. AWS customers interested in the benefits of migrating certain SQL Server or Windows workloads to a different platform can contact their AWS account teams for more information.

For more information on all of Amazon’s products and Services, click here.

Q. What are other AWS Customers doing?

AWS customers such as Sysco, Hess, Ancestry, and Expedia have successfully migrated and modernized their Windows workloads on AWS. Read more about what AWS customers are doing here.

Q. What are the cost implications of moving to a supported Microsoft Operating System or SQL Server version?

License Included: There is no additional licensing costs to move to a newer version of the software when using Amazon's License Included options, for example:

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2019 is the same price as Microsoft Windows Server 2003/2008/2008 R2.
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2017 (by edition) is the same price as Microsoft SQL Server 2005/2008/2008 R2 (by edition).

BYOL: Customers with active Software Assurance (SA) can upgrade to a newer version at no cost. Customers without SA can purchase a new license from Microsoft.

Q. If I experience a technical issue running a product that has reached Microsoft EOS, will AWS Support assist me?

Yes, customers with AWS Support plans will be able to engage AWS Support for technical issues.

NOTE: As per Microsoft's policy, after the end of the Extended Support, Microsoft will no longer provide patches or security updates unless Extended Security updates has been purchased.

Find more information on AWS Support plans here.

Q. If I have further questions around the use of Microsoft EOS on AWS, whom should I contact?

Please email aws.EOS.Microsoft@amazon.com.

Q. Specifically, which License Included Managed AWS Windows AMIs are affected and when does this take effect?

July 1st, 2019

  • Windows_Server-2003-R2_SP2-English-32Bit-Base-*
  • Windows_Server-2003-R2_SP2-English-64Bit-Base-*
  • Windows_Server-2003-R2_SP2-English-64Bit-SQL_2005_SP4_Express-*
  • Windows_Server-2003-R2_SP2-English-64Bit-SQL_2005_SP4_Standard-*
  • Windows_Server-2003-R2_SP2-Language_Packs-32Bit-Base-*
  • Windows_Server-2003-R2_SP2-Language_Packs-64Bit-Base-*
  • Windows_Server-2003-R2_SP2-Language_Packs-64Bit-SQL_2005_SP4_Express-*
  • Windows_Server-2003-R2_SP2-Language_Packs-64Bit-SQL_2005_SP4_Standard-*

July 9th, 2019

  • Windows_Server-2008-R2_SP1-English-64Bit-SQL_2008_R2_SP3_Express-*
  • Windows_Server-2008-R2_SP1-English-64Bit-SQL_2008_R2_SP3_Standard-*
  • Windows_Server-2008-R2_SP1-English-64Bit-SQL_2008_R2_SP3_Web-*
  • Windows_Server-2008-R2_SP1-Japanese-64Bit-SQL_2008_R2_SP3_Express-*
  • Windows_Server-2008-R2_SP1-Japanese-64Bit-SQL_2008_R2_SP3_Standard-*
  • Windows_Server-2008-R2_SP1-Japanese-64Bit-SQL_2008_R2_SP3_Web-*
  • Windows_Server-2008-R2_SP1-Language_Packs-64Bit-SQL_2008_R2_SP3_Express-*
  • Windows_Server-2008-R2_SP1-Language_Packs-64Bit-SQL_2008_R2_SP3_Standard-*
  • Windows_Server-2008-SP2-English-64Bit-SQL_2008_SP4_Express-*
  • Windows_Server-2008-SP2-English-64Bit-SQL_2008_SP4_Standard-*
  • Windows_Server-2012-RTM-English-64Bit-SQL_2008_R2_SP3_Express-*
  • Windows_Server-2012-RTM-English-64Bit-SQL_2008_R2_SP3_Standard-*
  • Windows_Server-2012-RTM-English-64Bit-SQL_2008_R2_SP3_Web-*
  • Windows_Server-2012-RTM-Japanese-64Bit-SQL_2008_R2_SP3_Express-*
  • Windows_Server-2012-RTM-Japanese-64Bit-SQL_2008_R2_SP3_Standard-*

January 14th, 2020

  • Windows_Server-2008-R2_SP1-Chinese_Hong_Kong_SAR-64Bit-Base-*
  • Windows_Server-2008-R2_SP1-Chinese_PRC-64Bit-Base-*
  • Windows_Server-2008-R2_SP1-English-64Bit-Base-*
  • Windows_Server-2008-R2_SP1-English-64Bit-Core-*
  • Windows_Server-2008-R2_SP1-English-64Bit
  • Core_SQL_2012_SP4_Standard-*
  • Windows_Server-2008-R2_SP1-English-64Bit-SharePoint_2010_SP2_Foundation-*
  • Windows_Server-2008-R2_SP1-English-64Bit-SQL_2012_RTM_SP2_Enterprise-*
  • Windows_Server-2008-R2_SP1-English-64Bit-SQL_2012_SP4_Enterprise-*
  • Windows_Server-2008-R2_SP1-English-64Bit-SQL_2012_SP4_Express-*
  • Windows_Server-2008-R2_SP1-English-64Bit-SQL_2012_SP4_Standard-*
  • Windows_Server-2008-R2_SP1-English-64Bit-SQL_2012_SP4_Web-*
  • Windows_Server-2008-R2_SP1-Japanese-64Bit-Base-*
  • Windows_Server-2008-R2_SP1-Japanese-64Bit-SQL_2012_SP4_Express-*
  • Windows_Server-2008-R2_SP1-Japanese-64Bit-SQL_2012_SP4_Standard-*
  • Windows_Server-2008-R2_SP1-Korean-64Bit-Base-*
  • Windows_Server-2008-R2_SP1-Language_Packs-64Bit-Base-*
  • Windows_Server-2008-R2_SP1-Portuguese_Brazil-64Bit-Base-*
  • Windows_Server-2008-R2_SP1-Portuguese_Brazil-64Bit-Core-*
  • Windows_Server-2008-SP2-English-32Bit-Base-*
  • Windows_Server-2008-SP2-English-64Bit-Base-*
  • Windows_Server-2008-SP2-Portuguese_Brazil-32Bit-Base-*
  • Windows_Server-2008-SP2-Portuguese_Brazil-64Bit-Base-*

Glossary

AMI (Amazon Machine Image): Is a template for the root volume for the instance (for example, an operating system, an application server, and applications), manages launch permissions that control which AWS accounts can use the AMI to launch instances. Contains a block device mapping that specifies the volumes to attach to the instance when it's launched.

AWS (Amazon Web Services): offers a broad set of global compute, storage, database, analytics, application, and deployment services that help organizations move faster, lower IT costs, and scale applications.

AWS Management Console: access and manage Amazon Web Services through a simple and intuitive web-based user interface.

BYOL (Bring Your Own License): is a process you can use to deploy software that you have previously licensed on physically dedicated AWS hardware. If you BYOL, you do not pay for instances with licensing included in the cost. Instead, you pay the same rate as EC2 instances with Amazon Linux pricing. When you BYOL, you are responsible for managing your own licenses.

CloudEndure: offers reliable business continuity solutions that minimize data loss and downtime due to human errors, network failures, external threats, or any other disruptions. Our Disaster Recovery and Migration solutions are powered by innovative workload mobility technology, which continuously replicates applications from any physical, virtual, or cloud-based infrastructure into Amazon Web Services (AWS). As such, CloudEndure is uniquely qualified to support large-scale, heterogeneous environments with diverse applications and infrastructure.

Custom AMI: is an AMI created in your account either built from an imported image or captured from an existing instance. For example, you can launch an instance from an existing AMI, customize the instance, and then save this updated configuration as a custom AMI. Instances launched from this new custom AMI include the customizations that you made when you created the AMI.

EC2 (Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud): provides scalable computing capacity in the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud.

EOS (End of Support): is a term used to reference Microsoft ending support for a product, in accordance with their Product Lifecycle policy.

Hyperscale: refers to the facilities and provisioning required in distributed computing environments to efficiently scale from a few servers to thousands of servers. Hyperscale computing is usually used in environments such as big data and cloud computing.

In-Place Upgrade: upgrades the operating system files while your personal settings and files are intact.

Instance (EC2 Instance): is a virtual server in the AWS cloud. Its configuration at launch is a copy of the AMI that you specified when you launched the instance.

LI (License Included): refers to the use of Amazon's Microsoft Licensing Agreement for Windows Server and SQL Server.

VMIE (AWS VM Import/Export): is an AWS Service used to import Operating System Images to AWS EC2 in an offline mode.

RDS (Amazon Relational Database Service): is a web service that makes it easier to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud. It provides cost-efficient, resizable capacity for an industry-standard relational database and manages common database administration tasks.

SA (Software Assurance): is a comprehensive program offered by Microsoft to help deploy, manage, and use Microsoft products efficiently.

SMS (AWS Server Migration Service): is an AWS Service used to import Operating System Images to AWS EC2 in an online mode.

WorkSpaces (Amazon Workspaces): is a managed, secure cloud desktop service. You can use Amazon WorkSpaces to provision either Windows or Linux desktops in just a few minutes and quickly scale to provide thousands of desktops to workers across the globe.

What are my licensing options for Microsoft software on Amazon EC2?

On Amazon EC2, you can choose to run instances that include the relevant license fees in their cost (“license included”) or to utilize licenses you have already purchased from Microsoft. For Microsoft software, EC2 allows you to pay for instances that include Windows Server and SQL Server licenses. For all other Microsoft software, customers can bring their own license, subject to Microsoft’s terms.

What is BYOL?

BYOL, or “bring your own license” is the process of bringing previously purchased, on premises licenses to AWS. AWS has both shared and dedicated deployment options to meet your BYOL needs. When you BYOL, the licensing cost of the product you bring is no longer included in the price of the instance. When you bring licenses, you are responsible for managing your licenses. Amazon EC2 has features such as AWS License Manager and targeted placement on Dedicated Hosts, which help you maintain license compliance throughout the lifecycle of your licenses.

 

What is License Mobility?

License Mobility is a Microsoft Software Assurance benefit that allows you to bring specific product licenses to shared cloud infrastructure, including default (shared) tenant Amazon EC2. Active Software Assurance is required to be eligible for License Mobility. Customers may not need Software Assurance if they are bringing licenses purchased prior to October 1, 2019 and not upgraded to versions released after October 1, 2019 to Amazon EC2 dedicated infrastructure. For additional information on License Mobility, please see the License Mobility page on the AWS site.

How do I know if a specific Microsoft product is eligible for License Mobility?

This information is included in the Microsoft Product Terms. Every product has an individual Software Assurance section that indicates License Mobility eligibility.  License Mobility eligible products include SQL Server, Remote Desktop Services, System Center, Exchange, and SharePoint.

 

Do I need active Software Assurance and License Mobility benefits to use my Microsoft licenses in AWS?

No, if you are bringing your own licenses to EC2 Dedicated Hosts or EC2 Dedicated Instances Software Assurance is not required subject to Microsoft’s terms as long as the licenses are purchased prior to October 1, 2019 and are not upgraded to versions released after October 1, 2019. If you are moving licensed software onto EC2 instances with default tenancy, Software Assurance and License Mobility benefits are required. Active Software Assurance is always required to enable License Mobility benefits.

If I bring my own license, can I relicense AWS's Microsoft media or do I need to bring in my own media (a.k.a. “bring your own bits”)?

No, you must import and license your own media. To get started, you can use the ImportImage API (from AWS CLI or AWS Tool for Windows PowerShell) to import your own media (VHD, VMDK, OVA). If you are importing from VMware vCenter, you can also use AWS Server Migration Service. After the media has been imported, you will see your images in the “My AMIs” console, or you can describe these images using the DescribeImages API.

After I import my Microsoft media, do I need to activate my media against my own key management server (KMS)?

Yes, when you launch an instance of your own image, your OS will prompt you to activate the image against your KMS.

How do I know what type of offering to use if I’m bringing my own license?

Please read your licensing terms and conditions and select the AWS model that meets your needs. Generally speaking, there are various products and each have differing levels of BYOL support.

How do I import my own licensed machine image into AWS?

In order to BYOL of Microsoft software into AWS, you need to use the ImportImage tool made available by the EC2 VM Import/Export service. Do not use the ImportInstance tool as it does not support Microsoft BYOL scenarios.

I've read in my licensing terms that certain licenses must be used on infrastructure that’s dedicated for my use. How does Amazon EC2 allow me to meet this requirement if I’m using my own licenses?

Amazon EC2 offers two purchasing options that provide you with dedicated infrastructure: Dedicated Hosts and Dedicated Instances. It is important to note that most BYOL scenarios are supported through the use of Dedicated Hosts, while only certain scenarios are supported by Dedicated Instances. When you bring licenses to Dedicated Hosts or Dedicated Instances, then you are using hardware that is fully dedicated to your use. Licenses without active Software Assurance or License Mobility benefits are eligible for deployment on dedicated infrastructure if they are purchased prior to October 1, 2019 and are not upgraded to versions released after October 1, 2019.


When you bring products that are licensed at the physical level only (e.g. Windows Server, certain SQL Server licenses, etc) Dedicated Hosts provide visibility into physical processor and core counts and are therefore the recommended deployment model.


For more information on Dedicated Hosts, visit the Dedicated Hosts detail page.
For more information on Dedicated Instances, visit the Dedicated Instances detail page.

I've read in my licensing terms that a license cannot move to another region or physical machine for at least 90 days. How does Amazon EC2 help me meet this requirement if I’m using my own licenses?

Instance Affinity (only available through the use of Amazon EC2 Dedicated Hosts) and Dedicated Host targeting helps you to monitor this requirement. When you enable Affinity between an instance and a Dedicated Host, that particular instance will only run on a specific Dedicated Host. Using Dedicated Host targeting, you can launch instances onto a specific Dedicated Host, giving you full control over how your licenses are used. For more information on these features, visit the Dedicated Hosts detail page.

When can I bring my own license using EC2 instances with default tenancy?

License Mobility through Software Assurance allows customers to bring eligible Microsoft software licenses into AWS for use on EC2 instances with default tenancy. The AWS License Mobility Page is a great place to start the process. If you are planning to take advantage of License Mobility in AWS, you will need to fill out the appropriate License Mobility forms. With License Mobility, you can use these images on EC2 Windows Server license-included instances running on EC2 instances with default tenancy. Windows Server licenses must be purchased from AWS in this scenario.

What is VM Import/Export?

VM Import/Export enables you to easily import virtual machine images from your existing environment to Amazon EC2 instances. This service allows you to leverage your existing investments in the virtual machines that you have built to meet your IT security, configuration management, and compliance requirements by bringing those virtual machines into Amazon EC2 as ready-to-use instances. If you are planning to use your own Microsoft licenses, use the ImportImage tool made available by the VM Import/Export service to import your own Microsoft media.

The VM Import/Export service is available at no additional charge beyond standard usage charges for Amazon EC2 and Amazon S3.

What is EC2's default tenancy?

EC2 Dedicated instances and EC2 Dedicated Hosts provide instance capacity on physical servers that are fully dedicated for your use. Alternatively, EC2 offers instances with a tenancy of ‘default’ which run on physical servers that may host multiple isolated instances from different customers.

What is dedicated infrastructure?

Dedicated infrastructure provides servers that are physically isolated for use by a single customer. Amazon EC2 has two dedicated infrastructure options: Dedicated Hosts and Dedicated Instances. If you bring existing licenses to Dedicated Hosts or Dedicated Instances, then you are using hardware that is fully dedicated to your use.

What are Amazon EC2 Dedicated Hosts?

A Dedicated Host is a physical EC2 server fully dedicated to your use. With Dedicated Hosts, you have control over instance placement and gain visibility into the number of sockets and cores installed on a host. You can use these features to leverage your own per-socket or per-core software licenses, including Windows Server and SQL Server, and SUSE Enterprise Server. Software Assurance is not required when you bring licenses to a Dedicated Host if the licenses are purchased prior to October 1, 2019 and are not upgraded to versions released after October 1, 2019. Please visit the Dedicated Host detail page for more information.

What are Amazon EC2 Dedicated Instances?

Dedicated instances are Amazon EC2 instances that run on hardware that is dedicated to a single customer. For more information on Dedicated Instances, please visit the Dedicated Instance page.

What’s the difference between Dedicated Hosts and Dedicated Instances?

Both offerings provide instances that are dedicated to your use. However, Dedicated Hosts provide additional control over your instances and visibility into Host level resources and tooling that allows you to manage software that consumes licenses on a per-core or per-socket basis, such as Windows Server and SQL Server. In addition, AWS Config will keep a record of how your instances use these Dedicated Host resources which will allow you to create your own license usage reports.

Does AWS recommend an EC2 purchasing model if I’m looking to use my own licenses?

In order to take full advantage of EC2 it is recommended that customers first consider bringing eligible licenses through License Mobility. Default tenancy EC2 allows customers to scale capacity up and down according to changing needs. This allows customers to pay only for what they use. SQL is the most common product brought to AWS through License Mobility.

Amazon EC2 Dedicated Hosts are ideal for products that are not eligible for License Mobility or for which active Software Assurance is not in place. Products without License Mobility benefits or active Software Assurance are eligible for deployment on Dedicated Hosts if the licenses are purchased prior to October 1, 2019 and are not upgraded to versions released after October 1, 2019. Dedicated Hosts are most cost effective when the host is highly utilized and in a steady, non-variable state. A Dedicated Host will support the BYOL scenarios outlined in this FAQ and provide customers with more control and visibility over how their instances are placed, which is useful for minimizing risk and licensing costs in a BYOL scenario. Additionally, Dedicated Hosts support per-socket, per-core, VM, and CAL based licenses. Windows is the most common product brought to Dedicated Hosts.

What are my options for bringing development licenses to AWS?

AWS customers have two options for bringing Microsoft developer products to AWS for use on test, development, and non-production workloads.

Microsoft Development Network (MSDN) subscription licenses can be brought to Amazon EC2 Dedicated Hosts or Amazon EC2 Dedicated Instances. Microsoft licensing terms do not allow the use of MSDN on shared tenant AWS servers.

SQL Server 2017 Developer edition is available as a free download from Microsoft. Once downloaded from Microsoft, AWS customers can bring and install SQL Server 2017 Developer edition on Amazon EC2 instances. Dedicated infrastructure is not required for SQL Server 2017 Developer edition.
 


Can I buy Windows Server from AWS?

Yes, you can deploy Windows Server on AWS by purchasing Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) with Windows Server pre-installed. If you buy Windows instances from AWS, whether your instances have a tenancy of dedicated or default, the Windows Server license is included in the cost.

With EC2 license-included instances, EC2 manages licensing compliance and you only pay for what you use. It is not necessary to pay for Software Assurance and you have the flexibility to upgrade your software when it is made available without additional cost. Furthermore, there is no need to buy additional Windows Server CALs as access for an unlimited number of end users is included in the price. Two Remote Desktop connections are also included for administration purposes. If you require more than two Remote Desktop connections, or need those remote connections for purposes other than administration, you may need to purchase and bring additional Remote Desktop Services CALs.

Can I bring my own Windows Server licenses and use them in EC2?

Yes, Windows Server licenses can be brought to EC2 Dedicated Hosts if the licenses are purchased prior to October 1, 2019 and are not upgraded to versions released after October 1, 2019. After you’ve imported your own Windows Server machine images using the ImportImage tool, you need to launch instances from these machine images on EC2 Dedicated Hosts in order to effectively manage instances and report usage. Microsoft typically requires that you track usage of your licenses against physical resources such as sockets and cores and Dedicated Hosts helps you to do this. Visit the Dedicated Hosts detail page for more information on how to use your own Windows Server licenses on Amazon EC2 Dedicated Hosts.

What are Amazon EC2 Dedicated Hosts?

A Dedicated Host is a physical EC2 server fully dedicated for the use of one customer. With Dedicated Hosts, you have control over instance placement and gain visibility into the number of sockets and cores installed on a host. You can use these features to bring your own software licenses bound to virtual instances, sockets, or cores, including Windows Server, SQL Server, and SUSE Enterprise Server. Software Assurance is not required when bringing licenses to a Dedicated Host if the licenses are purchased prior to October 1, 2019 and are not upgraded to versions released after October 1, 2019. For more information on Dedicated Hosts, please visit the Dedicated Hosts detail page.

How do I import and use my own Windows Server license?

You can bring in your own licensed copy of Windows Server media using the ImageImport tool made available by the EC2 VM Import/Export service. Once these images are imported, you can find them under the “my AMIs” section in the AWS Management Console or by using the DescribeImages API. You can then launch instances from your BYOL machine images onto Dedicated Hosts.

Visit this link for more information on how to bring your own machine images into AWS.

Keep in mind that when you choose to bring in your existing Windows Server licenses, you cannot utilize Windows Server AMIs that you purchase from AWS through license-included instances. You must bring in your own licenses using your own software media.

How do I track usage if I’m bringing my own licenses?

Using AWS Config as the data source and Dedicated Hosts as the platform to run BYOL instances, you can track BYOL usage against physical resources such as sockets and cores. Before you begin launching BYOL instances onto your Dedicated Hosts, ensure AWS Config has been enabled to record Dedicated Host changes. AWS Config keeps track of the configuration changes that occur on a Dedicated Host, including the instances and corresponding IDs of AMIs that ran on a Dedicated Host. These changes are paired with Host level data, such as the Host ID and the number of sockets and physical cores installed on a Dedicated Host. AWS Config will also keep track of instance tags. We recommend that you tag your instances with a meaningful identifier if you would like a human-readable way to identify BYOL instances in the AWS Config output. Visit this page for more information on AWS Config.

How do I determine the number of licenses of Windows Server to bring in?

Visit the Dedicated Hosts detail page for information on the number of instances available per Dedicated Host. On this page you will also find the number of sockets and cores installed on each EC2 Dedicated Host. The instance, socket, and core counts vary by the instance type configuration of the Dedicated Host.

 

Do I need to have Software Assurance on Windows Server on AWS?

No, if you are using Dedicated Hosts to bring your own Windows Server licenses, you do not need to have Software Assurance (SA) if the licenses are purchased prior to October 1, 2019 and are not upgraded to versions released after October 1, 2019. Also, if you purchase Windows Server instances from AWS, then there is no need for you to have Software Assurance to cover those Windows Server licenses..

Does License Mobility work with Windows Server?

No, as specified in the Microsoft Product Terms, Windows Server is not eligible for License Mobility. However, License Mobility is not required for licenses used on EC2 Dedicated Hosts if the licenses are purchased prior to October 1, 2019 and are not upgraded to versions released after October 1, 2019.

How can I use my own Windows Server license on EC2 instances with a default tenancy?

When you deploy Windows Server licenses on Dedicated Hosts you will instances with a tenancy of ‘host’. You should not use your own Windows Server license on EC2 instances with default tenancy unless you have approval from Microsoft to do so. If you have negotiated custom terms with Microsoft and have this permission, please contact AWS support or reach out to your account manager.

What is included when I buy Windows Server instances from AWS?

AWS manages the licensing for you; all you need to do is pay for the instances you use. There is also no need to buy additional Windows Server CALs, as access is included in the price. Each instance comes with two remote connections for admin purposes only. If you require more than two connections, or need those connections for purposes other than admin, you may have to bring in additional Remote Desktop Services CALs for use on AWS.

Can I relicense license-included, EC2 Windows Server instances to use my own licenses, pointing at my own KMS server?

No, you cannot relicense existing Windows Server EC2 instances or migrate existing Windows Server EC2 instances over to BYOL VMs. However, if you need to migrate from license-included to BYOL and have applications or OS configurations that need to be migrated, we suggest that you reach out to our partners, such as CloudEndure or AppZero, who may be able to assist with these types of migrations.


Can I buy SQL Server from AWS?

Yes, you can utilize instances with SQL Server licenses included from AWS to run on either Amazon EC2 or Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS). SQL Server Web Edition, Standard Edition, and Enterprise Edition are available for your use on both Amazon EC2 and Amazon RDS.


Can I bring in my own SQL Server licenses for use on AWS?

Yes, you can bring in your own licenses (BYOL) on EC2 Dedicated Hosts, EC2 Dedicated Instances with license included Windows Server, or EC2 instances with a default tenancy with License Mobility.

  • EC2 instances with default tenancy

You can bring your SQL Server licenses with active Software Assurance to default (shared) tenant Amazon EC2 through License Mobility benefits. The AWS License Mobility Page is a great place for information on the process. Microsoft requires that customers complete and send a License Mobility verification form which can be downloaded here.

  • Dedicated 

The use of Dedicated Hosts allows you use a per-core or per-socket SQL Server licensing model, and you do not need to have active Software Assurance for licenses that are purchased prior to October 1, 2019 and which are not upgraded to versions released after October 1, 2019. Bringing SQL Server to Dedicated Hosts can save you money on licensing costs if you are bringing your own license. If you choose to license your SQL Server licenses against the sockets or cores on a physical machine, you need to use these licenses on Dedicated Hosts. Visit the Dedicated Hosts detail page for more information on how to use your own SQL Server licenses on Amazon EC2 Dedicated Hosts. You can also choose to use EC2 license-included Windows Server Dedicated Instances, where you pay for SQL Server licenses on a VM basis.


Can I use License Mobility with SQL Server?

Yes, license Mobility is a benefit available to Microsoft Volume Licensing customers with eligible server applications (including SQL Server) covered by active Microsoft Software Assurance (SA) contracts. License Mobility allows customers to move eligible Microsoft software to third party cloud providers such as AWS for the end use on EC2 instances with a default tenancy. It is important to note that you may not need license mobility if you are using your own licenses on EC2 Dedicated Hosts or EC2 Dedicated Instances if the licenses are purchased prior to October 1, 2019 and are not upgraded to versions released after October 1, 2019. For additional details, see the Microsoft License Mobility page on the AWS site. Qualifying customers with Software Assurance can bring in their own licenses of SQL Server for use on Amazon EC2 instances with a default tenancy.


Do I have to pay for SQL Server passive failover?

There are various factors to consider when licensing passive failover for SQL Server. The information below pertains only to the SQL Server licenses and not the Windows Server licenses. In all cases, you must license Windows Server. For more information on SQL and failover server scenarios, visit this Microsoft SQL Server licensing guide.

 

  • Purchasing licenses with Amazon Machine Images (AMIs)
    Customers purchasing SQL Server license included instances from AWS must license passive failover instances.
  • Bringing existing licenses to Amazon EC2 Dedicated Hosts or Amazon EC2 Dedicated Instances
    Customers bringing SQL Server 2014 and later versions to AWS with Software Assurance are not required to license SQL Server on passive failover instances. Under existing Microsoft Product Term language, versions prior to 2014 would require that the customer license the passive failover instances. Customers in this situation are encouraged to inquire with Microsoft about accepting current language which grants passive failover.
  • Bringing existing licenses with License Mobility
    Customers bringing SQL Server versions 2014 or later with active Software Assurance are not required to pay for failover on passive instances.  Customers bringing pre-2014 SQL Server licenses via License Mobility with active Software Assurance must bring or purchase SQL Server licenses for the failover instances as well. Customers in this situation are encouraged to inquire with Microsoft about accepting current language which grants passive failover.


How do I know how many SQL Server licenses to bring in?

If you are licensing SQL Server under Microsoft’s License Mobility through Software Assurance, the number of licenses required varies based on the instance type, version of SQL Server, and the Microsoft licensing model you choose. To assist you with your virtual core licensing calculations under the Microsoft Product Terms, we provide a table here that shows the number of virtual representations of hardware threads based on instance type.

If you are using Dedicated Hosts, EC2 provides you with the number of physical cores installed on the Dedicated Host. Using this information, you can calculate the number of SQL Server licenses that you need to bring in. For additional information, we recommend referencing Microsoft documentation, such as the licensing guide for SQL Server 2014 (see here).

What are the use cases for SQL Server Web Edition?

The Microsoft Product Terms state that SQL Server Web may be used to support public and Internet accessible web pages, web sites, web applications and web services. SQL Server Web may not be used to support line of business applications (e.g., Customer Relationship Management, Enterprise Resource Management and other similar applications). For addition information on use cases for SQL Server Web, please consult Microsoft or your Microsoft reseller.


How do I track usage if I’m bringing my own licenses?

Using AWS Config as the data source you can track configuration changes against physical resources such as sockets and cores. Before you begin launching BYOL instances onto AWS, ensure AWS Config has been enabled to record any changes. AWS Config keeps track of the changes that occur, including the instances and corresponding AMI IDs that ran. These changes are paired with Host level data, such as the Host ID and the number of sockets and physical cores installed. AWS Config will also keep track of instance tags. We recommend that you tag your instances with a meaningful identifier if you would like a human-readable way to identify BYOL instances in your AWS Config logs. Visit this page for more information on AWS Config.

 

Can SQL Server 2017 Developer Edition be used on AWS?

Yes. SQL Server 2017 Developer Edition is available as a free download from Microsoft. SQL Server 2017 Developer Edition is eligible for use in non-production, development, and test workloads. Once downloaded from Microsoft, AWS customers can bring and install SQL Server 2017 Developer Edition on Amazon EC2 instances. Dedicated infrastructure is not required for SQL Server 2017 Developer Edition.

 

Are SQL CALS required on AWS?

Customers using SQL Server on Amazon EC2 or Amazon RDS license included instances do not require client access licenses (CALs) for SQL Server. An unlimited number of end users can access SQL Server on a license included instance.

Customers bringing their own SQL Server licenses to Amazon EC2 through license mobility or bring your own licenses (BYOL), will continue to follow the licensing rules they have in place on-premises. If the customer purchased SQL Server under the Server/CAL model, they would still require CALs to meet Microsoft licensing requirements, but these CALs would remain on-premises and enable end user access SQL Server running on AWS

 

 

Can I bring Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) licenses to AWS?

Yes, you can bring your MSDN licenses to Amazon EC2 Dedicated Hosts or Amazon EC2 Dedicated Instances. Microsoft does not allow the use of MSDN on multi-tenant AWS servers. Amazon EC2 Dedicated Hosts or Amazon EC2 Dedicated Instances are fully dedicated to the use of one end customer and satisfy the “Outsourcing Software Management” section of the Microsoft Product Terms which state: “Customer may install and use licensed 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 Customer’s use. Customer is responsible for all of the obligations under its volume licensing agreement regardless of the physical location of the hardware upon which the software is used.”


Can I buy MSDN from AWS?

No, AWS does not sell MSDN licenses.


Can I use MSDN on AWS instances with a default tenancy?

No, Microsoft does not allow MSDN licenses to be utilized on AWS instances with a default tenancy.


Can I use my existing MSDN licenses on EC2 Dedicated Hosts or EC2 Dedicated Instances?

Yes, you can use these licenses on either Dedicated Hosts or Dedicated Instances.


Does License Mobility work with MSDN?

No, MSDN is not included in Microsoft’s License Mobility program.

Can I buy Windows Client from AWS?

No. AWS does not sell any Windows Client operating system licenses on any of our services.


Can I bring in my own Windows Client licenses for use on AWS?

Yes. If you use Dedicated Instances or Dedicated Hosts, then you can bring in your own Windows Client licenses for use on AWS. Per Microsoft terms, you will require Software Assurance and/or Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) at SA renewal in order to utilize the Windows client operating systems such as Windows 10 on AWS.


Can I use License Mobility with Windows Client?

No, as specified in the Microsoft Product Terms, License Mobility does not apply to Windows Client. License Mobility is not required to deploy Windows Client licenses on EC2 Dedicated Hosts or EC2 Dedicated Instances. If you choose to use Dedicated Hosts and BYOL, then you can bring in your own licenses for Windows Client without needing License Mobility although you may be required to purchase a VDA license from Microsoft at future EA renewal.



Can I bring in my own Office licenses for use on AWS?

Yes, you can BYOL Microsoft Office for use on EC2 Dedicated Hosts or EC2 Dedicated Instances if your licenses are purchased prior to October 1, 2019 and are not upgraded to versions released after October 1, 2019. If you bring existing licenses to EC2 Dedicated Hosts or EC2 Dedicated Instances, then you are using hardware that is fully dedicated to your use.


Can I use License Mobility with Microsoft Office?

No, Microsoft does not grant License Mobility benefits to Microsoft Office.


Can I buy other license included Microsoft products for use on EC2?

No. AWS sells only Windows Server and SQL Server licenses today for use on Amazon EC2.


Can I bring in my own licenses for use on AWS?

Yes. We have many customers that have successfully brought in and deployed licenses on Amazon EC2. These deployments include, but are not limited to, Exchange, SharePoint, Skype for Business, Remote Desktop Services, Office, Dynamics products, BizTalk, and System Center.

Customers can choose to use shared EC2 instances and utilize License Mobility or they can purchase EC2 Dedicated Hosts and utilize physically dedicated hardware.

  • Amazon EC2 instances with a default tenancy
    License Mobility through Software Assurance allows qualifying customers to bring in eligible Microsoft software onto AWS default tenancy servers. The AWS License Mobility Page is a great place to start the process. You will need to fill out the appropriate License Mobility forms and file them with Microsoft to ensure that the licenses are able to be imported into AWS.
  • Amazon EC2 Dedicated Host
    When you bring existing licenses to EC2 Dedicated Hosts, you are using hardware that is physically dedicated to your use. If you are bringing licenses to Dedicated Hosts, you do not need License Mobility or active Software Assurance for licenses purchased prior to October 1, 2019 and not upgraded to versions released after October 1, 2019.  Please visit the Dedicated Hosts detail page for more information on Dedicated Hosts.

Can I use License Mobility?

Yes. License Mobility is a benefit available to Microsoft Volume Licensing customers with eligible server applications covered by active Microsoft Software Assurance (SA). License Mobility allows customers to move eligible Microsoft software to third party cloud providers such as AWS for the end use on EC2 instances with a default tenancy. It is important to note that you may not need license mobility if you are using your own licenses on EC2 Dedicated Hosts or EC2 Dedicated Instances as long as the licenses are purchased prior to October 1, 2019 and are not upgraded to versions released after October 1, 2019. For additional details, see the Microsoft License Mobility page on the AWS site. Qualifying customers with Software Assurance can bring in their own licenses of user based products as long as they comply with the terms of the License Mobility program.

 

How can I obtain additional Remote Desktop Services licenses?

Amazon EC2 instances come with two Remote Desktop Services (aka Terminal Services) licenses for administration purposes. If additional Remote Desktop Services licenses are needed, they should be purchased from Microsoft or a Microsoft license reseller. Remote Desktop Services licenses purchased with Software Assurance have license mobility benefits and can be brought to AWS multi-tenant environments. If the licenses do not have Software Assurance, they can be deployed on dedicated hosts or dedicated instances as long as the licenses are purchased prior to October 1, 2019 and are not upgraded to versions released after October 1, 2019

If you are providing this is a service to a third party (not internal use), then the Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA)could be used to license Remote Desktop Services. Under this model, you would deploy your service on AWS and rent remote desktop licenses for your end users on a monthly basis. Information on SPLA can be found at:  https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/CloudandHosting/Licensing_Get_started_with_SPLA.aspx


Can I use my own SPLA?

AWS has many customers and partners that utilize their own SPLA for licensing. AWS customers can use their own SPLA in scenarios where they are offering software services to third parties. Customers that have a SPLA with Microsoft are governed by the Services Provider Use Rights (SPUR). The SPUR describes exactly how customers can outsource their infrastructure to AWS. Products licensed by user can be deployed on multi-tenant AWS and licensed on a monthly basis under the customer’s SPLA. Unless deployed on EC2 dedicated infrastructure, products that are licensed by core or processor (Windows Server, SQL Server) should be licensed with AWS license included instances.

What are Self Hosting rights?

ISVs can choose to utilize self-hosting rights with Microsoft as part of their Enterprise Agreement (EA). This allows them to take advantage of pricing that they have negotiated with Microsoft under their EA. Microsoft requires that customers not mix self-hosting rights and SPLA for each application. If you have a solution that is licensed under the self-hosting benefit and you wish to bring it to AWS, you can deploy this on EC2 default tenancy. In this scenario, you would still be required to purchase a Windows license-included instance. Dedicated Hosts are not required for SQL (or other included self-hosting products) due to AWS’s status as a license mobility partner. 

Can Microsoft BizSpark licenses be used on AWS?

No, at this time new BizSpark licenses cannot be used on AWS. We encourage startups to try AWS Activate, with benefits including usage credits, support, training and more.


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’s new in Windows Server 2019?

Windows Server 2019 is Microsoft’s newest release of Windows Server. Windows Server 2019 comes loaded with a variety of powerful new features including support for Docker and Windows Containers. By running Windows Server 2019 on Amazon EC2, users can leverage the performance and elasticity of AWS to get up and running on this new release.

Note: Starting with Windows Server version 1709, Nano Server will be available only as a container base OS image. Please see changes to Nano Server for more details.

How is AWS supporting Windows Server 2019?

AWS is releasing several new AMIs, including Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2019 with Containers and Windows Server 2019 with SQL Server 2017.

Are there any other significant changes regarding Windows Server 2019 AMIs?

Windows Server 2019 AMIs feature an all-new version of the SSM agent that replaces the functionality previously supported by the EC2Config service, thereby eliminating the need for EC2Config. With these enhancements, SSM agent now supports a number of advanced settings and launch-time configurations. More details on the new SSM agent in Windows Server 2019 can be found in the User Guide.

How can I run Windows containers?

Launch an instance with the new Windows Server 2019 with Containers AMI. You can find a sample walkthrough in the AWS Blog.


Does Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS) support Windows containers?

Yes, Amazon ECS supports Windows containers on container instances that are launched with the Amazon ECS-optimized Windows AMI.

What will it cost to run Windows Server 2019?

Windows Server 2019 instances are billed under standard Windows EC2 pricing.

Which EC2 instance types work best with Windows Server 2019?

Microsoft recommends a minimum of 2GB RAM – visit the EC2 Instance Types page to see which instances fit best for your application.

Can I bring my own license (BYOL) for Windows Server 2019?

You can bring your own license to Amazon EC2 Dedicated Hosts, subject to your licensing terms with Microsoft. Use VM Import to create a Windows Server 2019 AMI from your own copy of Windows Server 2019.

Can I upgrade my Windows Server instance to Windows Server 2019?

Yes, you can upgrade Windows instances to Windows Server 2019. Visit this page for more details.

What AWS regions support Windows Server 2019?

Windows Server 2019 is available in all public and GovCloud AWS regions.

What’s new in Windows Server 2016?

Windows Server 2016 is Microsoft’s newest release of Windows Server. Windows Server 2016 comes loaded with a variety of powerful new features including support for Docker and Windows Containers. The release also features a Nano Server deployment option that boots faster than the Standard Edition and uses a fraction of the disk space. By running Windows Server 2016 on Amazon EC2, users can leverage the performance and elasticity of AWS to get up and running on this new release.

Note: Starting with Windows Server version 1709, Nano Server will be available only as a container base OS image. Please see Changes to Nano Server for more details.

How is AWS supporting Windows Server 2016?

AWS is releasing several new AMIs, including Windows Server 2016, Nano Server, Windows Server 2016 with Containers and Windows Server 2016 with SQL Server 2016.

How is Nano Server different from Windows Server 2016?

Nano Server is optimized to run cloud-hosted applications and containers. Compared to Windows Server 2016, it starts faster, requires fewer updates, consumes far less disk space, presents less surface area for security threats, and only runs 64-bit applications, tools, and agents. Nano Server has no graphical user interface – all administration is done remotely via PowerShell or WMI.

How is the EC2 Console experience different for Nano Server?

For Nano Server, Get Instance Screenshot and System Log views are supported, however given Nano Server is headless, Connect via RDP is not. Instead, users can administer a running Nano Server instance via PowerShell remoting, via PowerShell CIM sessions over WinRM, or via Windows Remote Management.

Can I create my own images from Windows Server 2016 and Nano Server instances?

Yes, you can create customized AMIs from Windows Server 2016 and Nano Server instances. As a best practice, AWS recommends generalizing an image by running sysprep when creating a new Windows AMI, and this continues to be true for Windows Server 2016. However, sysprep is not included in Nano Server, meaning image generalization is not available when creating a Windows AMI from Nano Server. Alternately, users can customize a Nano Server instance post-launch by using Run Command, which enables configuration via remote command execution.

Are there any other significant changes regarding Windows Server 2016 AMIs?

Windows Server 2016 and Nano Server AMIs feature an all-new version of the SSM agent that replaces the functionality previously supported by the EC2Config service, thereby eliminating the need for EC2Config. With these enhancements, SSM agent now supports a number of advanced settings and launch-time configurations. More details on the new SSM agent in Windows Server 2016 and Nano Server can be found in the User Guide.

How can I run Windows containers?

Launch an instance with the new Windows Server 2016 with Containers AMI. You can find a sample walkthrough in the AWS Blog.

Does Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS) support Windows containers?

Yes. Amazon ECS supports Windows containers on container instances that are launched with the Amazon ECS-optimized Windows AMI.

What will it cost to run Windows Server 2016?

Windows Server 2016 instances are billed under standard Windows EC2 pricing.

Which EC2 instance types work best with Windows Server 2016?

Microsoft recommends a minimum of 2GB RAM – visit the EC2 Instance Types page to see which instances fit best for your application.

Can I bring my own license (BYOL) for Windows Server 2016?

You can bring your own license to Amazon EC2 Dedicated Hosts, subject to your licensing terms with Microsoft. Use VM Import to create a Windows Server 2016 AMI from your own copy of Windows Server 2016.

Can I upgrade my Windows Server instance to Windows Server 2016?

Yes, you can upgrade Windows instances to Windows Server 2016. Visit this page for more details.

What AWS regions support Windows Server 2016?

Windows Server 2016 is available in all AWS regions. 


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

We will be releasing AMIs 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, Traditional 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 (Enterprise (English only), Express, Standard and Web 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 in the documentation 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 if you followed the steps to enable enhanced networking in the documentation. The AMIs provide built-in support for enhanced networking via SR-IOV on R3, C3 and I2 instances.


Windows Server 2003 has reached End of Support, AWS no longer publishes Server 2003 AMIs effective 1st July 2019. Customers with Custom AMIs and or existing instances may continue using them on AWS. AWS has no plans to remove the capability to run Server 2003 on AWS. For more detailed information on Server 2003 and other Microsoft Products that are no longer supported by Microsoft please see End of Support messaging.


Does AWS offer SharePoint instances?

Not completely. We provide one Windows Server 2008 R2 image that offers  Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010 SP2.

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/. SharePoint can also be deployed on Amazon EC2 Dedicated Hosts without Software Assurance.

What is Microsoft License Mobility?

Microsoft License Mobility through Software Assurance allows Microsoft customers to 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 a 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.

What is EC2Rescue for Windows?

EC2Rescue for EC2 Windows is a convenient, straightforward, GUI-based troubleshooting tool that can be run on your Amazon EC2 Windows Server instances to troubleshoot operating system-level issues and collect advanced logs and configuration files for further analysis. EC2Rescue simplifies and expedites the troubleshooting of EC2 Windows instances. For more information, visit here.

Does AWS support customers running versions of Windows prior to Server 2003 R2?

Not officially. While it may be possible to create an image of an older operating system, driver support would pose a major challenge to functionality. AWS cannot offer support for these scenarios, however customers are welcome to run these workloads without the expecatation of support.

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.

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.