I am new to the Amazon EC2 services and I am planning to host a Windows based vm on Amazon. I have lot of fuzziness about AMIs on Amazon. So my first question would be, am I be able to install softwares and frameworks(e.g. Silverlight, .NET, etc) on a existing Windows instance that I select? And if not, how can I create a custom AMI so that I can install these softwares that I need before I submit it to Amamzon and launch?

Thanks a lot for your help :)

Deeply appriciated


You can install pretty much any software on an Amazon AMI that you would ordinarily be able to install on a virtual server and use via remote desktop (no World of Warcraft, but Silverlight, .NET, your custom software etc. can all be installed). Be sure to respect licensing terms.

You can then burn a custom AMI from that Amazon baseline plus your own installation so that you can easily fire up instances with exactly what you need already installed. (Again be careful of licensing terms).

  • 2
    The point about licensing terms is important. One way to handle that which I found was acceptable to a vendor is to keep the license server (e.g., flexlm) firewalled on your local network and set up a VPN from the EC2 instance back into your network to allow access to the license server. Apr 5 '10 at 16:33
  • @Donal: That's a good point. Several vendors I work with aren't equipped to license into a virtual environment and I have had to negotiate an extra clause in the contract describing the AWS environment and our permitted use in that environment. I imagine that will be less of a problem over time.
    – Eric J.
    Apr 5 '10 at 17:09
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    Glad you like that solution. I was rather proud of it when I thought it up 12 months ago for a project I was on, especially as it is simple enough for me to explain to a vendor's sales guy and have them then convey it correctly to their legal guys. That is, it's possible to get the vendor to say "yes" to it. :-D Apr 5 '10 at 17:44

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