Amazon EC2 Dedicated Hosts

An Amazon EC2 Dedicated Host is a physical server with EC2 instance capacity fully dedicated to your use. Dedicated Hosts can help you address compliance requirements and reduce costs by allowing you to use your existing server-bound software licenses.


Save Money on Licensing Costs

Dedicated Hosts allow you to use your existing per-socket, per-core, or per-VM software licenses, including Microsoft Windows Server, Microsoft SQL Server, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, or other software licenses that are bound to VMs, sockets, or physical cores, subject to your license terms.

Help Meet Compliance and Regulatory Requirements

When you launch instances on a Dedicated Host, the instances run on a physical server that is dedicated for your use. While Dedicated instances also run on dedicated hardware, Dedicated Hosts provide further visibility and control by allowing you to place your instances on a specific, physical server. This enables you to deploy instances using configurations that help address corporate compliance and regulatory requirements.


Instance Placement Controls

You have the option to launch instances onto a specific Dedicated Host, or you can let Amazon EC2 place the instances automatically. Controlling instance placement allows you to deploy applications to address licensing, corporate compliance, and regulatory requirements.


Affinity allows you to specify which Dedicated Host an instance will run on after it has been stopped and restarted. This gives you the confidence that the instance will run on the same physical server even through planned interruptions, helps reduce licensing costs in scenarios that require license affinity for a period of time (e.g., 90 days), and can be used to maintain an instance placement scheme.

Visibility of Sockets and Physical Cores

You have visibility of the number of sockets and physical cores that support your instances on a Dedicated Host. You can use this information to manage licensing for your own server-bound software that is licensed per-socket or per-core.

Multiple instance size support

You can run different instance sizes within the same instance family on a Dedicated Host by leveraging the Nitro-based instances. This allows you to maximize utilization of your Dedicated Host fleet as well as your software licenses.

License Usage Reporting

Amazon Config records when instances are launched, stopped, or terminated on a Dedicated Host, and pairs this information with host and instance level information relevant to software licensing, such as the host ID, AMI IDs, and number of sockets and physical cores per host. As a result, Amazon Config can be used as a data source for license reporting. To get started, enable Dedicated Host Recording in Amazon Config.

Comparing Dedicated Hosts to Dedicated Instances

You can use Dedicated Hosts and Dedicated instances to launch Amazon EC2 instances on physical servers that are dedicated for your use. An important difference between a Dedicated Host and a Dedicated instance is that a Dedicated Host gives you additional visibility and control over how instances are placed on a physical server, and you can consistently deploy your instances to the same physical server over time. As a result, Dedicated Hosts enable you to use your existing server-bound software licenses and address corporate compliance and regulatory requirements.

The following table highlights the key similarities and differences in the features available to you when using Dedicated Hosts and Dedicated instances:

Dedicated Instances
Dedicated Hosts

Enables the use of dedicated physical servers


Per instance billing (subject to a $2 per region fee)


Per host billing


Visibility of sockets, cores, host ID


Affinity between a host and instance


Targeted instance placement


Automatic instance placement


Add capacity using an allocation request


Additional Resources

For more information about how to Amazon EC2 running Microsoft Windows and other Third-Party software, visit Amazon EC2 FAQ.

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