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SQL Server with WSFC on AWS
Quick Start Reference Deployment Guide

Overview

SQL Server and WSFC on AWS

This Quick Start implements a high availability solution built with Microsoft Windows Server and SQL Server running on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), using the Always On Availability Groups feature of SQL Server Enterprise edition. This infrastructure provides the underpinnings for many Microsoft technology-based solutions for the enterprise, including Microsoft SharePoint and .NET Framework applications.

A prerequisite for deploying a SQL Server Always On Availability Group is Windows Server Failover Clustering (WSFC). SQL Server Always On uses WSFC to increase application availability. WSFC provides infrastructure features that complement the high availability and disaster recovery scenarios supported in the AWS Cloud.

Implementing WSFC cluster in the AWS Cloud is very similar to deploying it in an on-premises setting as long as you meet two key requirements:

  • You must deploy the cluster nodes inside a virtual private cloud (VPC).

  • You must deploy the cluster nodes in separate subnets.

This Quick Start provides an automated deployment of WSFC that meets these requirements and handles some of the configuration steps for you.

This guide provides step-by-step instructions and discusses AWS-specific considerations. The guide doesn’t provide general configuration and usage information for WSFC and SQL Server. For general guidance and best practices, consult the product documentation.

Costs and Licenses

The Quick Start provides three licensing options for SQL Server Enterprise edition. You can:

  • Install a trial version of SQL Server 2012, 2014, or 2016 Enterprise edition from the Microsoft download site.

  • Use the Amazon Machine Image (AMI) with license costs for SQL Server Enterprise edition included. This option has the following limitations:

    • Supported SQL versions: 2014 and 2016

    • Supported instance types: r4.xlarge, r4.2xlarge, r4.4xlarge, r4.8xlarge

  • Use your volume licensing software and mobilize the license. For details, see the Microsoft License Mobility through Software Assurance program. For development and test environments, you can leverage your existing MSDN licenses for SQL Server using Amazon EC2 Dedicated Instances. For details, see the MSDN on AWS page.

This Quick Start launches the AMI for Windows Server 2012 R2 and includes the license for the Windows Server operating system. The AMI is updated on a regular basis with the latest service pack for the operating system.

You are responsible for the cost of the AWS services used while running this Quick Start reference deployment. There is no additional cost for using the Quick Start.

The AWS CloudFormation template for this Quick Start includes configuration parameters that you can customize. Some of the settings, such as instance type, volume size, or opting to use the Amazon-provided AMI for SQL Server, will affect the cost of deployment. See the pricing pages for each AWS service you will be using for cost estimates.

AWS Services

The core AWS components used by this Quick Start include the following AWS services. If you are new to AWS, see the Getting Started section of the AWS documentation.

  • Amazon EC2 – The Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) service enables you to launch virtual machine instances with a variety of operating systems. You can choose from existing AMIs or import your own virtual machine images.

  • Amazon EBS – Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS) provides persistent block-level storage volumes for use with Amazon EC2 instances in the AWS Cloud. Each Amazon EBS volume is automatically replicated within its Availability Zone to protect you from component failure, offering high availability and durability. Amazon EBS volumes provide the consistent and low-latency performance needed to run your workloads.

  • Amazon VPC – The Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) service lets you provision a private, isolated section of the AWS Cloud where you can launch AWS services and other resources in a virtual network that you define. You have complete control over your virtual networking environment, including selection of your own IP address range, creation of subnets, and configuration of route tables and network gateways.

In addition, you want to be familiar with the following topics:

  • Windows Server 2012 R2

  • Windows Server Active Directory and DNS

  • Windows Server Failover Clustering (WSFC)

  • SQL Server Always On Availability Groups

For information, see the Microsoft product documentation for these technologies.