Get Your Hands on SQL Server 2012 CTP3 in Five Minutes

SQL Server 2012 in AWS - It's like a cupcake kebob... but nerdier

I really hate waiting for software to download. It’s a first world problem and I’m an impatient guy. Thankfully, you don’t have to wait through the hour long download of a SQL Server 2012 CTP3 ISO, Windows installation, and SQL Server installation and configuration. You can now just fire up a browser, connect to AWS, and fire up a SQL Server 2012 CTP3 instance.

Microsoft and Amazon have, in their own words, “collaborated to allow customers to easily deploy and run SQL Server Code Named “Denali” on Amazon Web Services in 5 minutes with no additional Microsoft software licensing costs” (barring the cost of Windows). It’s available right now, with no SQL Server licensing costs, and little to no set up overhead. Earlier this week I convinced Brent to set up a SQL Server 2012 instance for testing and he was cursing my cunning plan within 5 minutes.

Sometimes, new AMIs may not make it into every Amazon region, which means you might not get it close to your customers, close to your current location, or on the hardware that you want. In this case the SQL Server 2012 CTP3 AMI is present in all of the current Amazon regions. This means that you can spin up SQL Server 2012 on anything as small as a Micro instance (1.7GB of memory, 1 core, shared gigabit ethernet) or as large as a cc1.4xl (2 x Intel Xeon X5570, 22GB of RAM, and 10 gigabit ethernet). Developers, DBAs, and ISVs take note: this means you can start testing your applications now before SQL Server 2012 is released. There’s no reason to delay your upgrade planning.

Read the press release, get the AMI, have fun.

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5 Comments. Leave new

  • Are you able to download this to a machine where SQL 2008 R2 is also running and not crap out the instance?

    I was going to do this with an earlier Denali CTP and MS people advised me against it – do you know for sure?


    • You can’t download this AMI to a local machine, it’s specifically for spinning up a virtual machine in EC2. So you could use this to fire up a machine for your own testing and power it on only when you need it.

      I’d never install a CTP of SQL Server on any machine that I want to use again. That’s not because there’s anything inherently wrong with it, but because it’s beta software you don’t know what the interaction might be and it’s not supported. If the CTP ruins your development workstation, you’re rebuilding from scratch. Virtual machines make this really easy – fire up a VM, test things, shut down the VM. If something breaks, you just destroy the VM and start again. Having a machine image in EC2 makes it really easy because you can just clone a VM and get to work.

  • Mohammed Moinudheen
    November 14, 2011 7:53 am

    Hi Jeremiah,

    Thanks for this highly informative blog. When I try creating an AWS account, it is asking for below information.

    “Enter your billing address and credit card information. You will not be charged unless your usage exceeds the free usage tiers.”

    Do you think it is advisable to provide credit details, I am afraid I might overuse and get billed exorbitantly. Please provide your suggestions as I am new to Amazon web services and it would be great to see your expert inputs before I opt for this.

    • Mohammed – if you keep an eye on the services and you don’t leave them running when you don’t need them, and you don’t spin up a bunch of servers, then you won’t get billed exorbitantly.

  • Mohammed Moinudheen
    November 14, 2011 8:03 am


    Thank you so much for your immediate response. I was quite surprised to see an instant reply in my inbox. Thanks.


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