Community Blog Running Microsoft SQL Server in an Alibaba Cloud ECS Instance

Running Microsoft SQL Server in an Alibaba Cloud ECS Instance

This article explains how to run a Microsoft SQL Server in an Alibaba Cloud ECS instance.

By Kelvin Galabuzi

What Is Microsoft SQL Server?

Microsoft SQL Server is a relational database management system that runs on Windows Server and Linux Operating Systems, such as RedHat, SUSE, and Ubuntu. Microsoft SQL Server can also run in Docker containers.

Microsoft SQL Server comes in different versions, and the latest version is Microsoft SQL Server 2022, which is in private preview at the time of this writing.

Microsoft SQL Server Editions

Microsoft SQL Server comes in different editions built to serve database applications with varying requirements. The following section covers the available SQL Server editions:

  • Enterprise: Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise edition is well-suited for large companies with high-level database requirements, such as unlimited CPU cores, memory, database size, and fast business intelligence and analytics on petabytes of data.
  • Standard: Microsoft SQL Server Standard edition is suitable for enterprises with medium-level database performance requirements. It enables organizations to perform business intelligence reporting using fewer compute resources. You can get up to a per instance size of 24 CPU cores, 128 GB memory, and 524 PB of database size using the Standard edition.
  • Web: Microsoft SQL Server Web edition is a low-cost database edition used to serve as the database layer for most common and moderate resource-intensive web applications on the cloud. This edition of SQL Server is only available to cloud service providers such as Alibaba Cloud. You can get up to 16 CPU Cores, 64 GB of RAM, and 524 PB of database size using the Web edition.
  • Express: Microsoft SQL Server Express edition is usually used to build smaller web applications and is available for free. You can get up to 4 CPU cores, 1 GB of memory, and 10 GB of database size using the Express edition. In addition, you can upgrade Express edition to any higher editions of Microsoft SQL Server at any time.
  • Developer: Microsoft SQL Developer edition is used to build and test applications using all Enterprise edition features. It is suitable for dev/test environments.

This article explains how to set up Microsoft SQL Server 2019 Standard on Windows Server 2019 Datacenter edition using an Alibaba Cloud ECS instance.


Before setting up Microsoft SQL Server on an Alibaba Cloud ECS instance, you need the following prerequisites:

  1. An Alibaba Cloud Account with a valid payment method
  2. Access the Microsoft SQL Server 2019 media to install the application
  3. Access the SQL Server Management Studio Installation media

Set up an Alibaba ECS Instance for Microsoft SQL Server

The following step-by-step guide explains how to set up an Alibaba Cloud ECS instance for Microsoft SQL Server:

  • Step 1: On the Alibaba Cloud ECS Console, select Create Instance:


  • Step 2: Next, select your payment method, region, and instance type:


Note: Choose the right instance size in Alibaba Cloud ECS. Microsoft SQL Server performance depends on the resource utilization that your databases require to run efficiently.

  • Step 4: Assign the Windows Server Image and Disk space required for your Microsoft SQL Server databases and click Next:


You can also install Microsoft SQL Server on Linux operating systems, such as RedHat, Ubuntu, and SUSE.

Alibaba Cloud also provides custom images for a preinstalled SQL Server image, saving you the time required to go through the entire installation process by simply selecting the Marketplace Image option.


  • Step 5: Configure the required network settings for the ECS Instance, such as the VPC, IP address settings, and Security Groups. Then, move to the next page:


  • Step 6: Set up the System Configurations, such as the login credentials, and set the instance and hostname:


  • Step 7: Next, configure the grouping options, such as Tags, Resource groups, and Deployment sets. Then, you can move to the preview section and set up the instance:


  • Step 8: Click Create instance:


  • Step 9: After the instance creation, we can go to the Alibaba Cloud ECS Instances console and confirm that our instance is running.


  • Step 10: Connect to the instance using an RDP Connection manager, such as the Windows Remote Desktop Connection tool. Alternatively, you can use the web-based login console on Alibaba Cloud:


Install Microsoft SQL Server 2019

The following step-by-step guide explains how to install Microsoft SQL Server 2019 Standard edition:

  • Step 1: Mount the Microsoft SQL 2019 Standard Installation media and open the setup file:


  • Step 2: Select New SQL Server standalone installation:


  • Step 3: Insert the Microsoft SQL Server Standard product key and click Next:


  • Step 4: Select the box to check for the latest Microsoft Updates:


  • Step 5: Select the Microsoft SQL Server features you want in your installation and click Next:


  • Step 6: On the instance configuration page, select the default instance or use a custom named instance and click Next:


  • Step 7: Configure the service accounts and collation to your preference. I will leave them as their defaults, as found in most Microsoft SQL Server database setups:


  • Step 8: Next, configure the authentication to your Microsoft SQL Server instance and click Next:


  • Step 9: Click Install to proceed with the installation:


  • Step 10: Once the installation is complete, click Close:


  • Step 11: Install SQL Server Management Studio to enable access to your SQL Server instance via the GUI:


  • Step 12: Restart the ECS instance to complete the installation:


  • Step 13: Finally, you can start SQL Server Management Studio to manage your database server:


  • Step 14: Connect to your database server:


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