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Upgrading and Migrating End of Life SQL Server 2012 Databases on AWS

Author: Datavail | | February 2, 2023


SQL Server 2012 reached End of Support (EOS) on July 12, 2022, after being a mainstay for many organizations over the past decade.

Continuing to run this SQL Server version, especially on mission-critical production systems, can put your company at risk of unexpected downtime, database security problems, and ongoing performance issues, as it will no longer receive security updates or bug fixes.

If you plan on migrating to the cloud as part of your SQL Server 2012 End of Life planning, here are three options on Amazon Web Services (AWS) that support SQL Server database technology.

SQL Server on AWS Options

Amazon RDS for SQL Server (supporting), and Amazon RDS Custom for SQL Server (supporting SQL Server 2019).

SQL Server on Amazon EC2

This self-managed Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) SQL Server database gives users complete control over the cloud environment. Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) most closely mimics the on-premises experience, which can be helpful for legacy, custom, and packaged applications that your organization uses that require operating system access. You have full control over the SQL Server version you use on your virtual machine.

EC2 facilitates database needs that Amazon RDS does not offer, such as:

  • Unsupported features and options
  • Unsupported specific SQL Server versions
  • Excessively large or demanding database sizes and performance requirements
  • Independent licenses in place of the Amazon RDS for SQL Server license-included model

However, this control comes at a cost. Your organization is responsible for the administrative overhead of your SQL Server database instances and the underlying EC2 instance.

Amazon RDS for SQL Server

Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS), a Database-as-a-Service, reduces the administrative overhead and eliminates the need to manage the underlying infrastructure of your SQL Server databases. You can use select versions of SQL Server 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2019 on RDS.

  • Scale workload patterns up and down by instance and within your licensing capabilities.
  • Pay for your SQL Server licenses on an hourly basis with the license included model.
  • Easily provision new SQL Server instances.

While the database and infrastructure overhead is greatly reduced compared to on-premises and IaaS deployments, you are limited to specific SQL Server versions and can’t make customizations to the underlying operating system.

Amazon RDS Custom

Amazon RDS Custom is an IaaS/PaaS hybrid solution that provides more flexibility through operating system and database engine customization. Amazon RDS Custom allows you to bring legacy, custom, and packaged applications to a managed database platform. It currently supports SQL Server 2019.

Learn more about using AWS to handle SQL Server 2012 End of Support concerns in our white paper “Microsoft SQL Server Modernization and Best Practices on AWS.”


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