While most web facing, modern workloads are primarily running on Linux, 67% Linux vs. 33% Windows¹, many mission-critical business applications are still running on a Microsoft technology stack. Many of these Microsoft workloads are legacy, and, by nature closely coupled with corporate networks and aging hardware. So, one might ask the logical question of whether they can move their legacy Microsoft workloads to the AWS like their newer, cloud-ready, workloads.
The short answer is, yes. You have many choices to make along the migration journey but, yes, you can gain the same redundancy, automation, security, and even cost controls as you can with your cloud native applications. The first decision to make is which partner to work with. As self-serving as this advice sounds, the right partner can help you make the right decisions on day one to guide you away from any pitfalls that could have cascading effects.
Here are a few tools and methods you should know about integrate Microsoft workloads into your AWS infrastructure:
Amazon EC2 runs effective, reliable Windows servers that you can use for a wide variety of tasks and workloads. Creating a Windows EC2 server can be done by utilizing pre-made Windows AMIs in the AWS marketplace and configuring them to fit your workload needs. AMIs include services and features such as Microsoft SQL Server designed explicitly for Windows-based application hosting, execution, and monitoring. After set-up, standard EC2 features such as AWS CloudWatch, Elastic Load Balancing, and Auto Scaling can be used to manage the EC2 server. Windows EC2 servers can further be integrated with S3 and EBS storage.
AWS offers two main options in acquiring Windows software licensing; you can purchase your license from AWS or transfer existing licenses to AWS when you switch over. Licenses for EC2 or RDS bought from AWS employ the pay-as-you-go model, offering increased affordability and convenience. In both cases, AWS manages licensing compliance and you do not need Windows Server Client Access Licenses to run these Windows AMIs. If you bring your own license from previously run applications, you can keep using valid licenses while strengthening your infrastructure on the cloud and increasing efficiency.
Finally, AWS provides compatibility with numerous Microsoft products:
You can run Microsoft Exchange email service, Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft System Center, and Microsoft SQL Server all on EC2. Other Microsoft products can be integrated with AWS through Microsoft License Mobility through Software Assurance.
Special thanks to Kartik Nighojkar for his technical contributions to this article.