Using Microsoft software licenses on the AWS Cloud

Buy licenses from AWS

Using license included instances allows you access to fully compliant Microsoft software licenses bundled with Amazon EC2 or Amazon RDS instances and pay for them as you go with no upfront costs or long-term investments. You can choose from Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) with just Microsoft Windows Server, or with Windows Server and Microsoft SQL Server pre-installed. Amazon RDS for SQL Server offers databases without the time consuming administrative tasks. Whether using EC2 or RDS, buying from AWS with Microsoft licensing included has many benefits.

  • AWS manages licensing compliance
  • Supports current and many legacy versions of Microsoft software
  • Windows Server Client Access Licenses (CALs) are not required

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Bring licenses to AWS

If you’ve already purchased Microsoft software, bring your own licenses (BYOL) to the AWS Cloud.

  • Take advantage of the efficiencies of the cloud while still purchasing perpetual licenses
  • Extend the lifecycle of your software without additional hardware costs
  • Expedite your migration to the cloud by using existing virtual machine images

You have two options for bringing licenses to AWS:

Without Software Assurance: Using Amazon EC2 Dedicated Hosts, you can access hardware fully dedicated for your use. This makes it possible to bring Microsoft software licenses that do not have Software Assurance or License Mobility benefits as long as the licenses are purchased prior to October 1, 2019 or added as a true-up under an active Enterprise Enrollment that was effective prior to October 1, 2019. For more information on bringing licenses without Software Assurance or License Mobility benefits, please visit this section of the FAQ.

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With Software Assurance: Microsoft License Mobility through Software Assurance allows many Microsoft software licenses to be brought into the AWS Cloud for use with Amazon EC2.

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Launch licensed Amazon Machine Images

When you purchase an Amazon EC2 instance with a Windows Server-based AMI, or an Amazon RDS for SQL Server license included instance, Amazon takes care of licensing costs and compliance for you. Both Amazon EC2 and Amazon RDS offer a variety of instance types and sizes, allowing you to select the optimal configuration for your target workload. Amazon EC2 AMIs with Windows Server require no Client Access Licenses (CALs). They also include two Microsoft Remote Desktop Services licenses for administrative purposes. Purchasing an Amazon EC2 for Windows Server license included instance eliminates licensing overhead and enables you to rapidly provision the compute resources you need. 

Eligible Products

Microsoft Windows Server and Microsoft SQL Server are available as AMIs, in a variety of combinations of current and legacy versions.

For details, please visit aws.amazon.com/windows/amis

Bring existing licenses to Dedicated Hosts

Amazon EC2 offers Dedicated Hosts, which allow you to access hardware that's fully dedicated for your use. You can use your own licensed software on dedicated infrastructure, even without Software Assurance. For more information on bringing licenses without Software Assurance or License Mobility benefits, please visit this section of the FAQ.

Amazon EC2 Dedicated Host is also integrated with AWS License Manager, a service which helps you manage your software licenses, including Windows Server and SQL Server licenses. In License Manager, you can specify your licensing terms for governing license usage, and easily track licenses for compliance and auditing. You can also specify Dedicated Host management preferences for host allocation and host capacity utilization. Once setup, AWS takes care of these administrative tasks on your behalf, so that you can seamlessly launch virtual machines (instances) on Dedicated Hosts just like you would launch an EC2 instance with AWS-provided licenses. 

Use AWS License Manager to start managing your licenses.

Eligible Products

Microsoft software covered by the Microsoft Product Terms can be deployed on AWS using Amazon EC2 Dedicated Hosts. Examples include:

• Microsoft Windows Server
• Microsoft SQL Server
• Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (user CALs)
• Microsoft Exchange Server
• Microsoft SharePoint Server
• Microsoft System Center
• Microsoft Dynamics products

For more information on bringing licenses without Software Assurance or License Mobility benefits, please visit this section of the FAQ.

Bring existing licenses with License Mobility

If you have purchased Software Assurance with your Microsoft software, you may be able to take advantage of your existing Microsoft volume licensing investments and move to the AWS Cloud without paying additional Microsoft licensing fees. The License Mobility benefit is available to Microsoft customers with eligible server applications covered by active Microsoft Software Assurance. You can use AWS VM Import to bring virtual machine images from your on-premises environment to the AWS Cloud, enabling you to bring your existing Microsoft software licenses and virtual machine configurations to AWS.

Eligible Products

• Microsoft Exchange Server
• Microsoft SharePoint Server
• Microsoft SQL Server
• Microsoft System Center
• Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (user CALs)
• Microsoft Skype for Business Server
• Microsoft Dynamics products
• Microsoft BizTalk Server

For a complete list, please visit aws.amazon.com/windows/resources/licensemobility.

Questions? Please see the Windows Licensing FAQ. For additional questions, contact microsoft@amazon.com.

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 was last updated on November 30, 2019 and was created based on the November 2019 Microsoft Product Terms.

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