Optimize costs with your SQL Server workloads on AWS

Nov 30, 2022 | Announcements, Migration, MSP

Microsoft SQL Server is a popular relational database management system developed by Microsoft. As a database server, it is a software product with the primary function of storing and retrieving data as requested by other software applications. Those applications may run on the same computer or on another computer across a network.

The cost of Microsoft licenses is a primary consideration for many customers who plan to migrate their SQL Server workloads to AWS. However, AWS has various ways to help you save money and optimize your costs. In this article, I will share some options to help you control your costs, increase performance, enhance user experience, and optimize your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

Remember though, as a business grows, its overhead rarely, if ever, goes down. That’s why, at nClouds, we emphasize that our goal is always to optimize your spend and time. Think of TCO optimization as re-investing your “saved” budgeted money in other beneficial ways to grow your business. That said, let’s get back to migrating SQL Server workloads.

Of the various options available for migrating your SQL Server workloads to AWS, you can deploy SQL Server on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) for SQL Server, or use Amazon RDS Custom for SQL Server. Other customers take advantage of the complimentary AWS Optimizing and Licensing Assessment (AWS OLA). The AWS OLA provides a report that models deployment options comparing existing licensing entitlements so you can explore available cost savings with flexible licensing options. (nClouds can help you with this.)

An option for saving, or optimizing SQL Server overhead is to consider consolidation. That is, perhaps you could consolidate small SQL Server databases, or, you may be able to consolidate multiple instances. For example, you can consolidate smaller, low-usage SQL Server databases used for development/testing and staging non-production environments. So, you can save on licensing costs when you consolidate these databases.

Remember, you can also save on Windows Server licensing costs by switching to Amazon Linux 2. For instance, if you switch from SQL Server running on Amazon EC2 for Windows Server to SQL Server running on Linux,  you could save 20% on licensing, and with SQL Server Web edition, you could save 37%. Back to consolidating.

How about consolidating by creating additional named database instances on the same SQL Server instance? That is, you give each SQL Server instance a unique instance name and a unique port. This creates separate locations for database data files and separate logins for each instance, which meets security requirements. And, since you will be sharing CPU, memory, and I/O resources, you will save money. Save the headache and use the Windows to Linux replatforming assistant for Microsoft SQL Server Databases. Such a deal!

Here’s an idea. What if your company is heavily invested in dev, testing, and staging? Instead of using the full armor of AWS-MSSQL, you could save some coins by utilizing the SQL Server Developer edition. This is ideal for non-production environments. SQL Server Developer edition can run on Amazon EC2 shared tenancy. The only negative caveat is that it is not supported on Amazon RDS for SQL Server, at least for now.

We’ve touched on several ways to optimize costs with Microsoft SQL Server workloads on AWS, including database and instance consolidation, selecting the right instance, licensing, and switching to SQL Server Developer edition. Other areas for a future post include selecting the correct architecture, the Optimize CPU feature, or exploring operating systems as ways to optimize costs with SQL Server. Besides SQL Server, there are other ways to optimize your IT budget and time. That’s where nClouds’ trained, certified, and experienced engineers and consultants can partner with you to help optimize your infrastructure – and attain your business objectives.

To learn more about Microsoft workloads on AWS, check out these blog posts:

Why run Microsoft workloads on AWS?
Enable LDAPS for your AWS Microsoft AD Directory
Top takeaways: AWS Managed Microsoft AD and Microsoft Active Directory

Need help migrating Microsoft Workloads to AWS or optimizing AWS costs?

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nClouds is a cloud-native services company that helps organizations maximize site uptime, performance, stability, and support, bringing out the best of their people and technology using AWS