Amazon Web Services|Cloud Computing

AWS Announces the Ability to Switch Windows Server and SQL Server License Types

Switch AWS Windows Server and SQL Server License Types

As of this past November 9th 2021, AWS now offers the ability to switch between AWS provided licenses and bring your own licenses (BYOL) for Windows Server and SQL Server instances using the AWS License Manager. Changing the license type associated with your instances will retain the application, instance, data and configuration for that instance. Previously, you would have needed to redeploy your workloads in order to change license types.

Only the licensing type will be changed which can affect your operational costs. The billing change of the new license type will take effect from the next billing second after the license has been changed.

You can change the license types at any time after you have launched an instance using the License Manager console, API or Command Line Interface (CLI). When you switch from a BYOL to an AWS license included type, then EC2 automatically activates the Windows Server license on the instance. For SQL Server, you will retain your same product key.

Changing your license type from an AWS license included to a BYOL will require you to import your own Windows and SQL Server images through VM Import Export (VMIE) to create Amazon Machine Images (AMIs). You can then use these AMIs to launch Windows and SQL Server instances. Switching from an AWS license included to a BYOL license type requires you to activate Windows Server using either your own Key Management Service (KMS) or Multiple Activation Key (MAK).

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Switch AWS Windows Server and SQL Server license types in these regions

The new license switching feature is offered with no additional charges in the following regions:

  • Canada (Central)
  • US East (N. Virginia)
  • EU (Stockholm)
  • South America (Sao Paulo)
  • US West (Oregon)
  • EU (Frankfurt)
  • EU (Ireland)
  • US West (N. California)
  • Asia Pacific (Singapore)
  • Asia Pacific (Sydney)
  • Asia Pacific (Mumbai)
  • EU (Paris)
  • US East (Ohio)
  • Asia Pacific (Seoul)
  • EU (London)
  • Asia Pacific (Tokyo)

You can learn more at License Switching user guide and VMIE documentation. 


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Michael Otey is president of TECA, a technical content production, consulting and software development company in Portland,
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