Windows Server 2008 R2 on Amazon EC2

Plan to use an in-house box to run a XenServer to host XP instances (I need multiple Windows desktops for "testing" purposes if anyone asks) had to be scrapped because the box was simply too loud and I couldn't get the wireless bridge to work – not that the latter would have helped anyway because like I said the box really is loud and relocating it anywhere inside our flat just wouldn't lower the noise level enough for it to not disturb sleep. Which brings us here: launching a Windows Server 2008 R2 instance on Amazon EC2 and setting up Remote Desktop Services to enable multiple simultaneous client sessions. Below we can see Alice, Bob, Charlie and Dave each happily running their own Remote Desktop session at the same time:   The whole thing runs "tolerably" smoothly even on the severely memory-limited Micro Instace: At $0.035 per hour this can be considered cheap. And, the server can be shut down when it's not needed in which case the only charge will be for the admittedly humonguos (35 gigabytes) Windows root partition. And of course those clients would need Client Access Licenses which adds a one time cost of roughly $100 per client. Now, to directly compare this kind of setup with having an actual physical server would indicate poor judgement as both have their strong and weak points but costs can be compared. So here we have an estimate of what the total cost of running a server like this for a three-year period would be, sans CALs:
On-Demand EC2 Reserved EC2 (1-year Contract) Reserved EC2 (3-year Contract)
One-time costs $0.00 $54.00 $82.00
Compute $922.32 $421.56 $421.56
Storage (35 GB) $138.60 $138.60 $138.60
I/O (10 IOPS) $103.00 $103.00 $103.00
Transfer In (1 GB/m) $3.60 $3.60 $3.60
Transfer Out (10 GB/m) $48.60 $48.60 $48.60
Total Cost (Euros) 849.69 € 613.00 € 557.11 €
Per Month (Euros) 23.60 € 17.03 € 15.48 €
Source: Then again, that 600 € would get you two HP Proliant MicroServers. Yet, then again, that price does not include Windows licenses and they would need a physical location, electricity, an Internet connection – an so on.

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