Windows on Amazon EC2 – my experiences

when I first started playing with Windows on Amazon, two things caught my eye. First, it operates differently from Linux. Second, configuration was just as easy as Linux and it looks like a nice environment to play around in.

Before I started playing, I took a look at my Amazon web service account and figured out that I either configured something wrong or someone was using my account to run their own service. My bill in November was $42 and in December it increased to $82. I thought that this was a little unusual because I didn’t use the service for all of December. I logged a service request and 12 hours later, haven’t heard anything back from my request. To solve the problem, I deleted my S3 stored services and changed my encryption keys and auth keys to get into the system. Once I did this, the activity stopped. I don’t know if I killed a rogue process or someone using my service got terminated.

The first thing that I had to do was try to launch everything and avoid doing any research. Well, this got the expected results. I had some instances launch but I could not get to them. With Linux, I used ssh to connect to the instance and open a VNC session to display the console back to my desktop. I didn’t think that Windows would do that but I thought that I would give it a try. Needless to say, the console connection failed. It was interesting that it did attempt to connect using remote desktop and failed on the connection. At this point, I decided to do some research. I found another blog () that described exactly what I was looking for. You have to add port 3389 to the security profile and start the service.

I did this and relaunched the instance. It turns out that it worked. Unfortunately, it asks for a password. Since I was using elastifox I was able to get the admin password by right clicking on the instance and having it copied into my clipboard. I was then able to retype the password into the login and change the admin password on the Windows 2005 instance and do things like create accounts, surf the web, and shut down the instance. It worked as expected.

It looks like the charge for running a vanilla Windows instance will come out to be $90/month. This is a little more expensive than the $70/month that Linux comes in at but better than having to get a Windows license and install it on a box in my house or office.

Next up, I get to try the S3 storage service with Windows and with Linux. I wonder if there is a way to have one storage instance that can be mounted between both operating systems.