Native SQL Server backup/restore - AWS Prescriptive Guidance

Native SQL Server backup/restore

Amazon RDS supports native backup and restore operations for Microsoft SQL Server databases using full and differential backup (.bak) files. It also supports differential restore and log restore options on an Amazon RDS for SQL Server DB instance or Amazon EC2 SQL Server instance, to minimize downtime for your application.


You can perform full, differential, and log restore operations on Amazon RDS for SQL Server. However, you can perform only full and differential backup (not log backup) at this time.

Using native .bak files is the simplest way to back up and restore SQL Server databases. You can use this method to migrate databases to or from Amazon RDS. You can back up and restore single databases instead of entire DB instances. You can also move databases between Amazon RDS for SQL Server DB instances.

When you use Amazon RDS, you can store and transfer backup files in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), for an added layer of protection for disaster recovery. For example:

  • You can create a full backup of your database from your local server, copy it to an S3 bucket, and then restore it onto an existing Amazon RDS SQL Server DB instance.

  • You can take backups from an Amazon RDS for SQL Server DB instance, store them in Amazon S3, and then restore them wherever you want.

  • You can implement Amazon S3 Lifecycle configuration rules to archive or delete long-term backups.

Amazon RDS for SQL Server supports restoring SQL Server native backups onto SQL Server DB instances that have read replicas configured. This means that you don’t have to remove the read replica before restoring the native backup file onto your Amazon RDS for SQL Server DB instance.

The following diagram shows the native SQL Server backup/restore process. You can use this process to back up and restore SQL Server databases to Amazon EC2 as well.

     SQL Server migration process with native SQL Server backup/restore

To set up native backup/restore using Amazon S3, see the Amazon RDS documentation.

For limitations when using SQL Server native backup and restore, see Limitations and recommendations in the Amazon RDS documentation.