Amazon Welcomes Microsoft Windows Server Licenses To The Cloud

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The pilot program, called the Microsoft Windows Server License Mobility Pilot, lets Amazon EC2 users with Microsoft Enterprise Agreements migrate their existing Windows Server licenses to the EC2 cloud. Amazon said it alleviates the confusion over whether Enterprise Agreements in place with Microsoft applied to Amazon EC2 instances.

According to Amazon, the EC2 instances will run the same price as the Linux/Unix server On-Demand or Reserved Instance, but will vary based on region: U.S. East, which is Northern Virginia; or U.S. West, which is Northern California. Amazon has launched a detailed information sheet outlining the pricing and the enrollment process.

According to Amazon, the ability to move Windows Server licenses to the cloud was a natural progression, as AWS already supports Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008.

Moving existing licenses into the cloud lets users leverage licenses they have already purchased, ultimately reducing the cost of running Windows On-Demand or Reserved Instances. In some cases, costs can be decreases by up to 41 percent.

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The pilot is only open through September 23.

Amazon said that to participate, Microsoft requires companies to be based or have a legal entity in the U.S.; have an existing Microsoft Enterprise Agreement that is valid for a minimum of 12 months after pilot entry; have already purchased Software Assurance from Microsoft for the EA Windows Server Enterprise, Datacenter and Standard licenses; and be an Enterprise customer, as academic and government institutions aren't covered by the pilot.

Users must register with Amazon and have eligibility confirmed with Microsoft and the license agreement amended. From there, users print, sign and mail the amendment back to Amazon then Amazon and Microsoft sign the agreement. The entire process, Amazon said, should take less than two weeks and Amazon as SLAs in place for each step of the process.

"Once enrolled, you can move your Enterprise Agreement Windows Server Standard, Windows Server Enterprise, or Windows Server Datacenter Edition licenses to Amazon EC2 for one year," Amazon Web Services wrote in a blog post. "Each of your Windows Server Standard licenses will let you launch one EC2 instance. Each of your Windows Server Enterprise or Windows Server Datacenter licenses will let you launch up to four EC2 instances. In either case, you can use any of the EC2 instance types."

Amazon said that licenses brought onto EC2 can only be moved between the cloud and on-premise machines every 90 days.