Multi-Cloud Comparison - Create a Windows Machine (Part 1 - AWS)

I have been busy helping customers build Enterprise Cloud Strategies lately.  The first step is always taking an inventory of critical applications and determining the correct future location for those applications - in house, colocation, IaaS, SaaS, retirement.  Security, compliance and cost are three important factors, but so are management, automation and ease-of use.  On the ease of use front, I thought I would write an objective post comparing the steps it takes to create a Windows machine in various popular IaaS locations.

Which clouds to choose though?  Let's see what IDC has to say.
Most of my customers are using a mix of AWS, Azure and Rackspace, so this is not surprising.  For my test, I will use AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Azure and vCloud Air.  I chose these four as I think they will make a goof complement of each other..

The steps I have chosen for comparison of IaaS providers is:

  • Create a Wndows machine from the service catalog
  • Start the Windows machine
  • Open a remote desktop to the Windows machine
  • Display performance of Windows machine using IaaS tools

This post will focus on Amazon Web Services.  I will write future posts on Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure and VMware vCloud Air.

Create Windows machine from service catalog

Login to the AWS console

Step 1: Click "EC2" under Compute
Step 2: Click "Launch Image" button
Step 3: Choose an image from the service catalog.  I will choose Windows Server 2012

Step 4: Choose a machine size. 

Step 5: Choose Instance Details and click "Review and Launch"

Step 6: Review details and click "Launch"

Step 7: Create a PKI Key Pair for secure access to the machine.  Download key pair and click "Launch Instance"

Step 8: Get your password (using PKI .pem file) and download and use the RDP profile for your Windows machine

Step 9: Use the password you just generated to login to your Windows machine using the RDP client

Voila!  Windows Desktop.

Now, on to performance monitoring using cloud provider tools

Step 10: Choose CloudWatch monitoring from the AWS Console

Step 11: Choose Dashboards

Step 12: Click Create Dashboard and name the dashboard

Step 13: Choose an easy Metric graph widget or a Text widget you code with markup
Step 14: Click Per Instance Metrics and choose some metrics for your instance(s), then click Create Widget.  I was disappointed that I only had 14 metrics to choose from and zero memory metrics.  Possibly, I am missing something.

The default measurement is every five minutes, but you can pay to capture metrics every one minute.  You can also set up alerting on metrics.

Now on to Google Cloud Platform for the next post.  I welcome your feedback on this and future posts.