An often-cited IDC report notes that Amazon Web Services (AWS) ran nearly two times more Windows server instances than the next largest cloud provider in 2017. There are many reasons why so many companies choose AWS for their Windows workloads. The most compelling among them may be the cost advantages. Another IDC study put the value that its participants would achieve by running Windows workloads on AWS at an average of $6.59 million per organization.

Pricing Advantages of Migrating Windows Workloads

The savings from migrating Windows workloads to AWS is due to many factors. First, there’s the pricing. You pay only for the services needed for as long as they’re needed. There are no long-term contracts or complex licensing.

For services like Amazon EC2 and Amazon RDS, you can buy reserved instances and save up to 75% over similar on-demand capacity. The larger the upfront payment, the greater the discount. Pricing is tiered for some services such as Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). The more you use, the lower the price per GB.

Plus, AWS hasn’t increased its prices since it launched cloud services in 2006. It also continues to offer major price reductions. An online search for AWS price reductions will provide some specifics.

There are also some exceptional deals. For example, with Amazon EC2 spot instances you can take advantage of unused compute capacity at up to a 90% discount compared to on-demand pricing. Spot instances can be combined with on-demand and reserved instances to further optimize workload cost.

Reduced Infrastructure and Licensing Costs

There’s also the matter of infrastructure costs. Moving to the AWS cloud eliminates the need to purchase, maintain, update, and replace on-premises infrastructure environments. It switches from a CapEx to OpEx business model, yielding lower upfront expenditures and more predictable, stable ongoing expenses.

While those benefits apply when moving to most public cloud environments, AWS offers a number of services, tools, and resources that facilitate more targeted use of compute, storage, and database capacity — upping the potential cost savings. You can learn more about AWS cost management services here.

In addition, AWS customers can reduce their overall costs through the reuse of and “bring your own” licenses. Among the options:

  • Use license-included instances that provide access to fully compliant Microsoft software licenses bundled with Amazon EC2 or Amazon RDS instances.
  • Bring your own licenses to the AWS Cloud, subject to Microsoft license terms, and take advantage of cloud efficiencies while using your existing perpetual licenses. It’s a way to extend the lifecycle of your software without additional hardware costs.
  • Move your Microsoft licenses to dedicated hosts on AWS. The licensing is included in the cost of an instance, so it reduces licensing costs and the management overhead of maintaining licenses.

The savings add up. AWS customers interviewed for an IDC study reported paying 37% less on an annualized basis than for comparable workloads with their previous IT environments.

Less Downtime. Less Loss.

There are also not-so-direct cost savings to be realized from migrating Windows workloads to AWS. For example, unplanned outages can significantly affect an organization by virtue of lost revenue, diminished productivity, and more.

Based on self-reported data from the big 3 cloud vendors, AWS had only 338 hours of downtime, followed by Google Cloud at 361 and Microsoft Azure at 1,934 hours from the beginning of 2018 through May 3, 2019. Less downtime with AWS translates into fewer potential losses and greater potential savings.

Savings Through Efficiencies

Referencing the IDC study again, IT staff efficiency was cited as one of the most important benefits of moving Windows workloads to AWS. Study participants stated that moving to AWS cloud environments freed up their teams to focus on forward-looking IT initiatives. IDC quantified the value of staff time savings and productivity gains at an annual average of $1.8 million per organization.

Focusing on delivering business results rather than worrying about day-to-day operational matters also resulted in higher revenue. IDC quantified that at a value of just over $6 million per year.

The .NET Framework to .Net Core Move

For companies with apps that need to run on Windows, Linux, and Mac operating systems, moving away from .Net Framework to open-source, platform-agnostic .NET core on AWS has cost benefits. In a case study cited by AWS, one customer gained 30% cost savings by moving to pay-as-you-go Amazon EC2 Linux instead of paying for Windows licenses.

The move to .NET Core also offered the company a path to microservices-based architecture. This would allow it to scale to meet compute needs whenever required, rather than continuing to pay for unused but still running instances.

ClearScale’s Migrating Windows Workloads Experience

ClearScale has helped numerous organizations generate significant cost savings by migrating to AWS. Our Windows on AWS services experience also provides cost optimization by incorporating automation and employing the right technologies. You can read about some of them at the following links:

Online Dating App Migrates to AWS Cloud to Support Rapid Growth and Control Costs

SeligoAI: Improving University Recruitment Cost and Student Retention with Custom Algorithms Enabled by Machine Learning on AWS

Ebates Journey to Cloud-Hosted Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment

SavvyMoney and ClearScale Deployed a New AWS Environment to Support Rapid Growth and Scalability

Learn More About Migrating Windows Workloads

For more information on the cost savings and other benefits of migrating Windows Workloads to AWS, download our eBook.

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