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I need to test with various versions of applications running on windows. I'm tempted to use something like EC2, with the idea being:

  • Fire up a base EC2 windows instance. Install the app (eg. QuickBooks)
  • Save the resulting image as an AMI
  • Test away
  • Turn off the instance

At a later date:

  • Restore the AMI onto a new instance
  • Test again with the clean instance

Questions:

  • Is this feasible/advisable?
  • We have licenses for the software we want to test with, but are there technical licensing issues with having the software (eg. QuickBooks) run once the image is restore?
  • Any particular tools / scripts we should be aware of for helping with this? We're experienced on the linux side with EC2, but not on windows.
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2 Answers

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Is this feasible/advisable?

Yes it is, totally, and it is pretty straightforward to implement. That's one of the big attraction with EC2 (and Infrastructure as a Service offerings) - you get to pay by the hour/resource instead of paying for hardware/networking up front.

We have licenses for the software we want to test with, but are there technical licensing issues with having the software (eg. QuickBooks) run once the image is restore?

Unless your license is for one machine and you don't run two instances of your AMI at once, you should be ok.

Any particular tools / scripts we should be aware of for helping with this? We're experienced on the linux side with EC2, but not on windows.

Not particularly. There's nothing odd about running Windows on EC2 when compared to running Linux outside of pricing, creating AMIs of instance-store backed instances (you have to use ec2-bundle-instance calls instead of ec2-create-image calls), and the usual differences between the OSs.

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This should be totally fine; as long as you don't try to run more than one instance at a time of your custom AMI with the installation of QuickBooks or whatever, you shouldn't run into any licensing issues.

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