Why run Microsoft workloads on AWS?

Mar 26, 2022 | Announcements, Migration, MSP

The answer to the titled question is simple: Because Windows has an excellent operating system, and AWS provides extra benefits and cost savings.

Customers have been running Microsoft workloads on AWS for more than 12 years, longer than any cloud provider. One of AWS’s benefits includes hosting a Windows platform with the ability to launch Microsoft Windows Server virtual machines (AWS instances) up to 65% faster on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). Prior to this, AWS customers running Microsoft Windows Server instances endured lengthy wait times as the Windows Server operating system (OS) slowly provisioned instances.

With AWS, customers can flag any Amazon Machine Image (AMI) running Microsoft Windows Server to launch faster. Once flagged, every instance launched from the AMI will automatically launch faster. For custom AMIs, the launch time is reduced to about 85s from a typical 242s. For stock AMIs, launch times average 45s. Launching Windows instances faster enables quicker provisioning of instances at scale, improved SLAs in supporting spiky workloads, and faster response times in meeting recovery or fail-over service requests.

Another benefit of using Windows on AWS is a reduction in storage costs.

  • Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) is an easy-to-use, high-performance block storage service designed for use with Amazon EC2 for both throughput and transaction-intensive workloads at any scale. Customers can achieve a cost-effective Microsoft Exchange deployment that uses sc1 EBS volumes to save costs while leveraging Exchange MetaCacheDatabase to improve performance.
  • Amazon FSx for Windows File Server provides fully managed shared storage built on Windows Server. Customers can lower storage costs by up to 60 percent with data deduplication and compression while increasing application performance with sub-millisecond latencies and high throughput.

AWS’s benefit is migrating quickly and securely from Azure SQL to Amazon Aurora MySQL-Compatible Edition by using the Babelfish for Aurora PostgreSQL feature. With Babelfish, apps originally written for SQL Server work with Aurora with fewer code changes. It minimizes application downtime and user intervention and provides faster, lower-risk, and more cost-effective migrations. AWS provides two times higher performance for a SQL Server workload than the next largest cloud provider.

AWS also covers Windows government contractors. Many AWS GovCloud (US) customers and their partners use AWS CodePipeline and AWS CodeBuild to build continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipelines on AWS. However, building on AWS GovCloud (US) introduces a few restrictions not present in other AWS Regions. AWS explains these restrictions and how to overcome them, and provides a technical solution that AWS Windows customers can further extend.

By running Windows on AWS, customers can accelerate growth, modernize to drive efficiencies, realize long-term cost reductions, and greatly enhance their security.

  • Modernize to drive agility, scalability, and cost savings. Reap the benefits of cloud-native technologies (and eliminate the cost of Windows licenses) by moving legacy .NET Framework applications on Windows containers to .NET on Linux containers, such as .NET Core on Linux or .NET 5. Improve application efficiency and performance by using open-source tools and technologies on Linux and serverless technologies such as AWS Fargate and AWS Lambda. Power .NET 5 with AWS Graviton2-based instances running in Amazon EC2 for up to 40% better price performance over comparable generation x86-64 instances.
  • Reduce TCO. Customers can reduce their five-year cost of operations by 56% and gain 37% lower infrastructure costs, delivering up to 442% ROI over three years, per IDC. Customers can achieve 36% savings over three years by rightsizing instances with Migration Evaluator. AWS offers Savings Plans, which provide savings of up to 72% on Amazon EC2 instances, and Amazon EC2 Spot, which reduces costs by up to 90% on compute instances for fault-tolerant workloads.
  • Enhance security. AWS offers 230 security, compliance, and governance services and features, five times more services than the next largest cloud provider.

Of course, running Microsoft workloads on AWS requires some technical expertise that involves coding, doing some migrating, or deciding whether or not to bring your own license (BYOL).

Questions to consider:

  • Does your Windows licensing include mobility?
  • Should you bring your existing Microsoft licenses to AWS with Amazon EC2 Dedicated Hosts or Amazon EC2 Dedicated Instances?
  • Should you opt for EC2 instances with default tenancy using Microsoft License Mobility through Microsoft Software Assurance?
  • Can you bring Microsoft SQL Server licenses to AWS, subject to product terms and conditions?
  • Instead of BYOL, should you use Amazon Amazon EC2 or Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) license-included instances?

The answers to those questions can save you money.

As an AWS Premier Tier Services Partner, nClouds and our certified engineers can answer your questions and guide you through the process. After all, making you successful is what nClouds does best.

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

Optimize costs with your SQL Server workloads on AWS
Why run Windows containers on Amazon EKS?
Top takeaways: AWS Managed Microsoft AD and Microsoft Active Directory
Enable LDAPS for your AWS Microsoft AD Directory

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