I have a set of demos that I do for work to sell Enterprise Software and lately, the hardware requirements for these demos has started to get to be excessive for bringing a laptop into a client so I have to look at other options.
The one that seems like it would be the most cost effective and reasonable would be to remotely connect to machines in the cloud via a mobile broadband card and use those. A second and less desirable option is to buy a server that is as small as I can get it to bring into client sites. I'd hate to have to bring in a full network though.
My requirements are as follows:
I need a cloud based solution which will allow me to configure a set of servers to perform an Enterprise level demo. I don't want to pay for these servers when they're not running, but I understand the necessity of paying a monthly fee for storing them and that is acceptable.
The problem with Amazon's EC2 service is that there is no persistence between servers for installing software. The software I'm installing has to be configured extensively and it takes the better part of 2 days to get it right. Bundling won't work because they run Sysprep, which will screw up any machine I configure as a domain controller. It also screws up any SQL Server installations because those have hooks into the machine name for credentials. I'm not terribly familiar with other cloud based solutions exist.
I'm looking for a competitive solution that would allow me to configure a minimum of 3 machines with approximately the following specs into a domain controller/member server configuration:
- Windows 2003 with minimal compute power to use as a DC
- Windows 2003 x64 with 8GB or 16GB RAM, 30GB-50GB disk, up to 4 CPU's, but 2 would work.
- Windows 2003 x86 with 4GB RAM, 1-2 CPU's. 20GB-30GB disk space.
I absolutely need full image persistence between sessions and want the ability to power them down and take them offline until needed. If it takes 30 minutes to spin them back up, that's fine, as I can plan around that.
In terms of pricing, it's fine if I spend $50-$100 per demo with about the same spent in the initial setup. I don't do these every week, but when I need to do one, the hardware can be expensive. Anyone have any ideas?