My Lab in the CloudPublished on 10 Nov 2013
Most of us IT professionals are in dire need of a lab environment to evaluate new products as well as product versions. As I travel a lot, I like to travel light. Therefore, I do not want a powerful laptop because of it’s size and weight. I do not want to buy the appropriate hardware because of the cost. And I do not want to use company-owned hardware because I want to be independent of perational decisions regarding such an environment. Now, let me tell you about my root server.
- Free choice of hypervisor – or rather ability to install OS by myself
- Potent hardware for 5-10 virtual machines running at the same time
- Bring Your Own License (BYOL)
- Access to a remote console
- Preferably a German hoster
My Root Server
My research produced Hetzner a hosting company based in Germany. They offer root servers with different hardware configurations just like other hosters. But unlike the competition, Hetzner offers affordable servers with a monthly plan as well as a monthly cancellation.
But – more importantly – they satisfy all of my requirements:
- Custom OS (http://wiki.hetzner.de/index.php/Dedizierte_Server_FAQ/en#Can_I_install_my_own_Operating_System.3F)
- Windows with customer-owned license
- One-time fee for boot medium (€25)
- Two hours of Java-based remote console free
- In my experience, access was provided in a matter of minutes
- Short response times of technical support
- Super fast access to TechNet and MSDN
- Additional components (http://wiki.hetzner.de/index.php/Preisliste_Zusatzprodukte/en)
Apart from meeting these requirements, Hetzner provides me with 32GB of RAM, two drives with 3TB and 4 cores (plus HT) for €69 per month.
My Lessons Learned
Over time I have realized that paying for reinstalling a system does not work for me. Therefore, I started deploying Windows to the other drive using dism. Now I only need a few minutes of access to the remote console – which is provided free of cost – to customize the OS and configure remote access.