Do you have an existing on-premises SQL Server supporting your application? Are you looking to reduce the time you spend keeping it running? Do you want to get rid or reduce SQL Server licensing costs? Become more cloud-native or scalable? Are you undertaking a general modernization of your IT platform?

There are a host of reasons you may find yourself in the position to better your world by modernizing SQL Server instances to AWS.

Believe it or not, more Windows environments run on AWS than elsewhere.

What?! Yep. It’s true.

Furthermore, there are specific programs at AWS that will accelerate and fund your venture based on years of best practices.

There are three main migration paths: rehosting (lift and shift), replatforming (lift and reshape), or refactoring (re-architect).


This is the fastest way to get to AWS, but it doesn’t necessarily save you money on SQL Licensing (unless you get into shared instances or dedicated hosts, but that’s a whole other article!)

This strategy entails running the existing server on an appropriate EC2 instance on AWS. You still need to perform all the operational tasks like patching and server upgrades that you did previously.


Replatforming involves replacing your SQL Server instance with Amazon RDS for SQL Server. Amazon RDS is a fully managed SQL Server instance in the cloud. AWS takes on the responsibility to make sure your platform is highly available and kept up to date with patches and server maintenance. Yay! Your people can now focus on product innovation. Cool!

This approach is best when you want to keep using SQL Server and rid of those pesky operational tasks.

Here’s a guide to help you decide between rehosting and replatforming, should you not need to completely refactor your data store.


This approach takes the most effort. It involves re-architecting SQL Server into one or more next-generation, cloud-native data stores. Perhaps you want to take SQL Server and it’s licensing completely out of the mix? Porting it to Amazon RDS for MySQL / Postgres / Aurora may be the answer.

There are many paths you can take your data storage as your workload modernizes over time.

But don’t do it alone! There are many programs and benefits that qualified partners can provide to get you there with funding to support it and expertise to guide it.

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