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I am looking for renting virtual machines for testing my desktop software. In particular, I am interested in all modern Windows client versions (XP no SP, SP1, SP2, SP3, Vista with/without SP1/2, Windows 7), also a couple of Linux distros and of course a MacOS X - but that's hardly possible. There are plenty of virtual servers for rent but they're all running Windows Servers of different kinds, and I need XP's and Vista's. Of course I can do that locally but this requires building the infrastructure and buying licenses, which takes time & money. So any pointers here?

EDIT: Found VMBed.com but they only offer XP and not Vistas - but already better than nothing.

EDIT2: Was pointed to BrowserCam - will try them out and post here, for now they look promising but a very ugly website.

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closed as off-topic by ceejayoz, voretaq7 Aug 20 '13 at 18:37

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Try Oracle Virtual Box. It's free, but you will need the CDs or ISOs to install your Windows. You could have many VPS on your desktop. Vagrant can automate Virtual Box. –  Chloe Aug 20 '13 at 19:31

4 Answers 4

up vote 5 down vote accepted

For testing browsers you can use the browsercam service (http://www.browsercam.com/Default2.aspx)

This might allow you to do the other testing you require too using their remote access option.

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Thanks for the pointer! I will try them out, I only wish they had a better website - the current one is absolutely terrible. –  Michael Pliskin Mar 9 '10 at 14:07

Nope, sorry. Point is - most people HAVE the infrastructure and do not need any licenses (AS: using MSDN is cheaper than buying things anyway, and MSDN has all the licenses for testing anyway).

I know of no shop tha trents out short term virtual machines for testing and keeps a larger variance of them ready in different patch states (which is what you would need).

I suggest you get a local server... * AMD based (all support hyper-v) * 16gb RAM (cheap, fits on a micro-atx board)

Install Server 2008 R2 on it, Hyper-V, some large dist and use your MSDN licenses.

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Well that doesn't work really well for a small startup company - but thanks for the answer! –  Michael Pliskin Mar 9 '10 at 13:31
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Why not? Small startup = Bizspark = MSDN for 100 USD for three years...? microsoft.com/BizSpark - Microsoft REALLY throws that stuff away to get it out. Even if not - the price of a MSDN is ridiculously low. –  TomTom Mar 9 '10 at 13:33
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That wont work. See - the poblem is that you need a VERY specific envirnoment. Lots of prepared machines in specific patch states. Plus the capability to set up your own when a customer calls with a problem. This is a lot of overhead unless you can cut it down, and only you can do that. I have such a small library for my own development. There is no market because basically all dev shops have different requirements and do maintain their own infrastructure. –  TomTom Mar 9 '10 at 13:42
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Fo browsers you dont need virtual desktops... you need browsers. Check: browsershots.org and.... spoon.net/browsers for a method to run all browsers on one computer without complete virualization and without desktop ;) –  TomTom Mar 9 '10 at 13:53
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You might only need 15 to 20 machines, but the configuratios are very specific. What you're asking for is 15 out of thousands of possible confirutaions. Finding a rentalshop that provides those thousands to choose from isn't going to happen. –  Chris S Mar 9 '10 at 13:59

For cross-browser or multiple browser testing, look at:

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Thanks a lot for the tips, I need this too - extremely helpful! –  Michael Pliskin Mar 9 '10 at 15:30

The problem your going to have with getting VPS's with desktop OS, is that the providers will need to use SPLA licencing to lincennce the OS and I do not think it is possible to licence desktop OS's using SPLA.

I would suggest you get your self an MSDN subscription, purchase a mid range server, nothing fancy, with a load of RAM, install ESXi and setup a load of VM's that meet the spec you want. Yes you may have ot outlay more initially, but it will save you significant costs on VPS's on a monthly basis, and it means you have the setup there, ready to use when you want it.

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Thanks for the reply, of course custom server is a solution - just wanted something with zero up-front cost. Valid point about SPLA licensing though. –  Michael Pliskin Mar 10 '10 at 8:16

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