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I've got a client who wants to move his companies servers off site. As he is only a 10 person company I'm looking for some pretty in-expensive options. One option is the smallest of the Amazon cloud machines. The question becomes can I make one of these machines a domain controller?

Cost wise the Amazon machine is cheaper than the power costs of keeping a server (or a PC) up and running in his home office 24x7 thanks to the high cost of power in Southern California.

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+1 Your cost comparison of a cloud host vs just the power costs has some gears turning in my head. I'm sorry I don't have an answer to your good question, but just wanted to thank you for the light bulb (so to speak!) – Andrew Barber Dec 28 '10 at 18:13
Related SF question: Running Windows domain on Amazon EC2 – jscott Dec 28 '10 at 18:16
I would think this would function marginally but I don't think its supported by MS so don't call them if you have a problem! Personally I wouldn't worry about that since I've never called MS for support anyway! – tony roth Dec 28 '10 at 23:10
Any update in the 14 months since asking? I'm curious how this worked out and if there are any recent changes at AWS that make this better or worse. – Tom Resing Mar 14 '12 at 21:18
The client ended up going with another solution pitched by another consultant. – mrdenny Mar 14 '12 at 23:44
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Yes, but I think that's a pretty bad idea. There are all kinds of problems that you can have when you lose access to a domain controller, so any network interruption will have huge business consequences. You'll have to have some kind of tunnel to secure it, a WAN...

Are there no servers in the building? Not even a file server? You don't need a lot of horsepower to run a small AD domain.

This question deals with the nuts and bolts of making it happen.

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I'm aware of the issues when you loose access to a domain controller. These can be mitigated by using local cached credentials, etc. There is a small NAS which is used for file storage and that is it. Amazon has their VPN solution which based on the small amount of network traffic that 6-10 users authenticating daily shouldn't be more than a few bucks a day at the most. – mrdenny Dec 28 '10 at 18:47
@mrdenny: Are you taking into account the normal AD traffic? Domain controllers talk constantly. – Satanicpuppy Dec 28 '10 at 20:00
Yes. My plan is to put two DCs at Amazon (both using the smallest VMs that Amazon offers) with no DCs at the office, so there shouldn't be much network chatter between the office and the DCs except for login requests, DNS requests, etc. That network traffic will of course be variable day to day, but I can probably give a best guess number. – mrdenny Dec 28 '10 at 22:27

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