How to Host Microsoft Exchange Server on AWS?

Many organizations use Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud services for their operations. While AWS offers affordable solutions for a wide range of applications, many enterprises continue to have on-premises workloads. Businesses are often unsure if such workloads can be migrated to the cloud, and if AWS is the right choice for those.

Microsoft Exchange Server is one such on-premises solution that many businesses are moving to the cloud because of the complexity involved in managing the on-premises infrastructure for it. While a majority of businesses switch to Exchange Online or host it on Azure, it is common for the ones with AWS subscriptions to explore how they can run their server on AWS. In this article, we will show how to host Microsoft Exchange Server on AWS.

How to Move On-Premises Exchange Server to AWS?

Organizations can deploy their Exchange Server on AWS EC2 instances. This requires Microsoft Active Directory domain controllers to be running on EC2 so that the on-premises Active Directory (AD) can be extended to the cloud.

The process of hosting Microsoft Exchange Server on AWS is summarized below.

Establishing Connectivity Between On-Premises and AWS Cloud

There are four steps to be performed to establish a connection between the existing on-premises environment with Microsoft Exchange and AWS.

Connect On-Premises Server With AWS

Use either a site-to-site Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection or AWS Direct Connect to establish a connection between the on-premises environment and AWS cloud.

Configure DNS Settings

Design a hybrid DNS architecture in such a way that queries can be resolved for both resources residing on-premises as well as on AWS. This can be done either by changing the DNS settings of the AWS servers to point to the on-premises counterparts or by using Route 53 resolvers.

Extend On-Premises Active Directory to AWS

Set up servers on AWS and promote to Active Directory domain controllers either in the same domain as the on-premises server or a new one in the same AD forest as the on-premises servers. Ensure that they have the DNS Server role installed on them to resolve queries.

Set Up Microsoft Exchange Server on AWS

Once the on-premises AD schema has been extended to AWS, the Exchange Server on both AWS and on-premises can be a part of the same organization. All the admin has to do is to install Windows Server on the AWS EC2 instance, domain join with AD, and install the Microsoft Exchange application. Implement an appropriate deployment architecture and migrate mailboxes.

Apps4Rent Can Help with Exchange Migration to Cloud

While it is possible to host Exchange Server on AWS, it might not be the ideal choice in most cases. One of the biggest disadvantages of hosting Exchange Servers on AWS vs Azure is the lack of a privilege similar to Azure Hybrid Benefit that is available with the latter hosting solution. With Azure Hybrid Benefit, organizations can save significantly on the licensing costs of the Exchange Server. Additionally, the use of native technologies increases the stability of Exchange Server on Azure as compared to similar solutions.

As a Tier 1 Microsoft CSP with Gold Competency in Cloud Productivity and Cloud Platform, Apps4Rent can help you host Microsoft Exchange Server on Azure. We can also assist with the Exchange Server preferred architecture deployment on AWS. Contact our cloud architects, available via phone, chat, and email for assistance on Exchange Server cloud hosting.

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