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I've been running Linux servers on Amazon EC2 for a while now; the experience has been great. I've recently needed to bring up a Windows server to run some Windows-only software that our product needs to use, and am running into a problem figuring out how to install the software, which is only available on DVD.

With Linux I can just install packages from a Web-based repository and take advantage of EC2's fast network throughput, but so far on the Windows instance I've had to upload my ISO images to EC2 and mount them from the Windows EC2 instance. For some reason I'm getting really slow upload speeds to EC2, even though the regular upload speed from our office is pretty good (around 7Mbps).

I've also tried mounting the DVD drive on my machine as a local drive on the EC2 instance via Remote Desktop, and then running the software install from the local drive, but I run into the same slow upload speed issue.

Does anyone have a better way to install software from physical media onto an EC2 instance ?

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Are you trying to add Windows components from the Windows Install DVD? Or is this third party software? –  Richard West Jul 10 '09 at 22:13
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4 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

If your upload speed is generally pretty good, then it looks to be a slow upload to amazon, so using any sort of third party in the middle my help your speed, say uploading to and FTP site, then downloading from Amazon, which should be quicker than upload. Yes it involves an extra step, but it may make it quicker in the long run.

If your trying to upload Microsoft media, if you have an MSDN or Technet subscription maybe you could download it from there?

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You could send the ISO to yourself with yousendit, then download it from the instance. That's what we generally do with our servers.

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You probably know this already but I thought I might add this info for others who might be trying to install Microsoft products on EC2. If the software you are looking for is part of the Windows Server installation media, then Amazon makes available snapshots you can use to create volumes and attach to your instance.

Configuring Windows Components on Amazon EC2
http://developer.amazonwebservices.com/connect/entry.jspa?externalID=1802

From there, it's just like installing software from a local CD. Sam's already covered the other methods you might normally use.

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assuming your software is on S3 you could use internet explorer (from within windows server) to download firefox then install S3Fox into firefox and download your files directly into the c drive or desktop on server. I tried to upload a 500mb file from my laptop - talk about being slow, I gave up! I estimate the firefox/s3Fox way is about 10 times quicker.

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