I'm trying to upgrade my RDS SQL Server 2012 instance from magnetic storage to an SSD. It is an instance class of db.m1.large with bring your own license.

  1. I've tried modifying the storage type, but you can't do that with SQL Server instances.
  2. I've tried restoring a snapshot of my instance to a new SSD instance. That is not allowed either because it says the storage types are different.
  3. That leaves me with only one option that I can see. That is to create a new SSD instance, create my database structure on the new server, and then do a data transfer using one of the export/import methods for SQL server.

My question is, are there better ways to do this? It seems like this is way to difficult for the benefits I get using RDS.

A follow up question is should I just move this to an EC2 instance, and be done with RDS so I don't have this problem again.

2 Answers 2


In the documentation for Modifying a DB Instance to Use a Different Storage Type there is the following note:

You cannot modify an existing SQL Server DB instance to change storage type or modify storage allocation.

And as you say, you can't restore a snapshot into another storage type.

I think your best option is your number 3. Export your database, and then import it on your new RDS instance.

Leaving RDS for a self hosted variant in EC2 seems a bit drastic since changing storage type isn't really something you do every day, my guess is that this is your first and last time that you do it. The features that comes out of the box with RDS are simply too overwhelming for changing to a self hosted solution, in my opinion at least.


I realize this question is 2.5 years old. But here is our process:

As mentioned you cant upgrade SQL Server "in-place" with the automagical AWS interface. BUT...You can restore a Snapshot to a new Instance thats created with the new storage type. Say your instance is called XYZ...make sure you have a snapshot of XYZ. Delete XYZ. Create a new Instance called XYZ with the new storage type. Restore the snapshot of XYZ to the new instance. Apply security group to new instance. Now you can enable multi-AZ mirroring or whatever.

Questions about cross-storage snapshot restores..this page has the comment: http://docs.aws.amazon.com/AmazonRDS/latest/UserGuide/USER_RestoreFromSnapshot.html

You can restore a DB instance and use a different storage type than the source DB snapshot. In this case, the restoration process is slower because of the additional work required to migrate the data to the new storage type. In the case of restoring to or from Magnetic (Standard) storage, the migration process is the slowest because Magnetic storage does not have the IOPS capability of Provisioned IOPS or General Purpose (SSD) storage.

  • I realize your answer is almost 2 years old ;) but do you create the new instance and then restore to it, or just restore from a snapshot to create a new instance? I ask because I'm testing the process (and so not deleting the original XYZ) but when just restoring the snapshot to an uncreated instance the Console keeps jumping to the warning about "changing types will take longer" and won't continue.
    – drzaus
    Aug 23, 2019 at 15:45

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