Windows on AWS

The most popular, secure, and reliable cloud for Windows

Customers have been running Windows workloads on AWS for over a decade. We run nearly 2x more Windows Server instances than the next largest cloud provider, according to an IDC report. Our experience running Windows applications has earned our customers’ trust and the number of AWS enterprise customers using Amazon EC2 for Windows Server has grown 5x since 2015. You can select from a number of Windows Server versions including the latest version, Windows Server 2019. In addition, AWS supports everything you need to build and run Windows applications including Active Directory, .NET, System Center, Microsoft SQL Server, Visual Studio, Windows desktop-as-a-service, and the first and only fully managed native-Windows file system available in the cloud with FSx for Windows File Server.

The AWS advantage for Windows over the next largest cloud provider


More Windows Server instances


More regions with multiple availability zones (20 vs. 8)


Fewer downtime hours in 2018*


Higher performance for SQL Server on Windows


More services offering encryption
*Based on downtime hours from 1/1/18 to 12/31/18 pulled directly from the public service health dashboards of the major cloud providers.

Why Windows on AWS

AWS offers the best cloud for Windows, and it is the right cloud platform for running Windows-based applications today and in the future. Windows on Amazon EC2 enables you to increase or decrease capacity within minutes, not hours or days. You can commission one, hundreds, or even thousands of server instances simultaneously.
Broader and Deeper Functionality

AWS offers a far broader selection of services along with much deeper functionality within most of these services than any other cloud provider. We have the widest selection of cloud services, including 48 services where comparable options are simply not available on the next largest cloud provider, including deeper functionality for Windows such as the AWS Deep Learning AMI for Microsoft Windows Server and the first and only fully managed native-Windows file system available in the cloud with FSx for Windows File Server.

Greater Reliability

We have the best global infrastructure for running workloads that require high availability with 66 Availability Zones (AZ) across 21 Regions. The AWS Region/AZ model has been recognized by industry analysts as the recommended approach for running enterprise applications that require high availability and AWS provides >2x more regions with multiple availability zones than the next largest cloud provider (21 vs. 8). This is one of the reasons why the next largest cloud provider had 7x more downtime hours than AWS in 2018*.

More Security Capabilities

AWS offers 210 security, compliance, and governance services and key features which is about 40 more than the next largest cloud provider. We also support 89 security standards and compliance certifications including PCI-DSS, HIPAA/HITECH, FedRAMP, GDPR, FIPS 140-2, and NIST 800-171, which is meaningfully more than any other cloud provider. For encryption, all AWS services that store customer data offer the ability to encrypt that data and we offer encryption across 116 different AWS services which is 5X more than the next largest cloud provider.

Faster Performance

Testing from DBBest found that SQL Server on AWS consistently shows a 2x-3x better performance using HammerDB, a TPC-C-like benchmark tool compared to the next largest cloud provider. ZK Research also points out that AWS has at least a 2X price/performance advantage over the next largest cloud provider when comparing the price of a workload, including storage, compute and networking.

Lower Costs

AWS helps customers lower their overall costs of running Windows in the cloud with the most comprehensive family of EC2 instances and unique pricing models like Spot which can help customers save up to 90% on their Windows compute costs. Customer can also save money by moving their Microsoft Licenses to dedicated hosts on AWS like Xero did with their SQL Server migration. Dedicated hosts are also a great option for Windows or SQL Server instances that don’t have software assurance. You can’t bring those licenses to the next largest provider.

More Migration Experience

AWS has unmatched experience over the last 10 years, helping thousands of organizations, including global enterprises such as Sysco, Hess, Sony DADC, Ancestry and Expedia migrate their Windows workloads to the cloud. AWS has translated this experience in our Migration Acceleration Program (MAP), a proven methodology of best practices that is recognized by IDC** as the most extensive library of cases covering thousands of successful migrations. Customers follow this methodology and apply a combination of unique tools and deep expertise from our partners, professional services and support teams to help assess, right size, and move their Windows and SQL Server workloads to AWS.

* Based on downtime hours from 1/1/18 to 12/31/18 pulled directly from the public service health dashboards of the major cloud providers.
**Source: IDC, Fostering Business and Organizational Transformation to Generate Business Value with Amazon Web Services, Doc #US43535718, February 2018.

Customer case studies

Xero Saves 30% on their SQL Server Licensing Costs with AWS

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Learn how to automate your .NET deployments with AWS

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Transforming Windows workloads
Hess Corporation, a leading global independent energy company, identified a need to streamline its business. The company looked to move the majority of their mission critical Windows workloads, including SQL Server, Exchange, AD and custom .NET apps, as well as SAP HANA and Oracle Hyperion, to AWS to increase availability and reduce technical debt. Hess was able to leverage a hybrid-approach, while reporting higher availability, improved performance, and agility.

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Unilever needed to support hundreds of web properties around the world. In addition to realizing the benefits of improved business agility and operational efficiency, "We can focus on innovation rather than infrastructure", says Sreenivas Yalamanchili, Digital Marketing Services Global Technical Manager. Uniliver worked with APN Advanced Consulting Partner CSS Corp.

Expedia is committed to continuous innovation, with technology and platform improvements to create a great user experience. The company chose AWS because it was the only solution with the global infrastructure in place to support its customers. "When I think of AWS, freedom is the first word that comes to mind," says Magesh Chandramouli, Principal Architect.

Microsoft Workloads Partner Solutions

Migrate, Extend, or Develop Microsoft-based solutions to the cloud

Amazon Web Services helps you build, deploy, scale, and manage Microsoft applications quickly, easily, securely, and cost-effectively.

The AWS Partner Competency Program has validated that the partners that have demonstrated that they can help customers migrate, manage or deploy Microsoft Workloads to AWS.