Amazon EC2 - Now with Windows Server 2003!
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Amazon EC2 now supports Windows Server 2003 based virtual machines: Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) Running Microsoft Windows Server and SQL Server. Grab a Windows virtual machine for $USD0.125 an hour.
Quick recap: EC2 is akin to virtual private server hosting, where you pay by the hour. EC2 is administered via a service that allows you instantly create any number of virtual machines, and manage firewall rules.
I was going to write up a quick guide on firing up a Windows box - but this has already been covered well in the Getting Started Guide
Some lessons learned along the way: I had to download the new EC2 API tools - extracted into a new folder the 'ec2-describe-keypairs' knew about keys I'd created previously. Where do the keys actually get stored? ec-add-keypair explains what is happening - your public key is sent to Amazon's servers. Your private key you save to a file - in the Linux world you use this private key in Putty to connect to your server. In the Windows world you pass your private key file to ec2-get-password to get your server password from Amazon.