I'm working on a project that requires the use of existing MSDN licenses to stand up Windows Server EC2 instances and, from what I understand, to remain license compliant these need to be provisioned on dedicated instances and/or hosts. I plan to use MSDN licenses for Windows Server, SQL and Dynamics.

As I'm unable to use Amazon provided base AMIs in conjunction with MSDN licenses, this suggests I need to create my own AMI. The AWS documentation suggests using AWS Server Migration Service to migrate on-prem servers (and their licenses) to AWS. However, I'd prefer to stand up these new instances from clean builds. Is there a recommended procedure for importing a base Windows Server AMI into AWS?


MSDN licence is tied to your physical location, aka where you wrote it in the invoice. Those licences can be used for lab only too.

That enforcement will be done only in an audit in my own opinions, but its a risk you take

For the location restriction its wrote there, I just found the french text.

  • I should have mentioned that this environment will be for development purposes only. There are additional environments licensed separately outside of the MSDN agreement for test/production workloads. AWS suggest using MSDN licenses is fine aws.amazon.com/windows/faq/#msdn but these must be on dedicated hardware. I guess my main questions is can I use AWS provided Windows Server images and still reap the benefit of MSDN licensing, or do I need to create my own images outside of AWS and upload/import them to create an AMI. The latter method seems a little backward though. – PhilH Nov 9 '17 at 14:46
  • @PhilH Check google translate the link I gave, MS is strict that it must be labbed inside your location, so its a bit messy as a description, but by the book that mean no, you cant, as AWS is not inside your organization, but I guess only a MS rep can answer correctly that part – yagmoth555 Nov 9 '17 at 17:36
  • This is not an official answer. When I attended an in person class at Amazon about six months ago, we were told that we could use MSDN licenses on dedicated instances and dedicated hosts. On-Demand instances were a no-no. We were also advised to speak to our Microsoft account rep to confirm. – John Hanley Nov 11 '17 at 2:48
  • @JohnHanley I state what is wrote. An official answer would be from your rep, and the guy that audit you might have another answer for you too. At my job we are by the book, we got like 30+ office and only the office listed in the MSDN are allowed to use the MSDN licence. – yagmoth555 Nov 11 '17 at 3:23

Had confirmation from Microsoft that MSDN licenses are support on dedicated Instances and dedicated Hosts, which ties up with the advice from AWS.

AWS advised that easiest method is to used dedicated instances and PAYG licensing for Windows Server using the AWS provided AMI. Any additional software apart from Windows Server, we would install under our MSDN license. If we were to opt for dedicated hosts, then we could use our MSDN license for Windows Server, but would need to build an image and import it into AWS, rather than use the provided AMIs.

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