I have a specific need. I want to build a large open source C++ project but I don't have a linux computer powerful enough to do so. For reasonable build times i need 6GB (ish) RAM and 4-8 cores CPU running at high frequency. I'm not interested in building a computer for this, it is a hobby project and i'm not sure if i'll be pursuing it or how much. A VPS would not suit my needs, the resources I need would be much too expensive.

Part of the problem is that my usage pattern is not the same as web hosting, which requires high uptime but less resources. I only need to use the server for maybe one or two hours a week. I don't need root access as long as all the build tools are installed. Maybe 10-20 gigs of disk space.

Is there any service out there that can meet these requirements in my budget? I can spend about $20 a month or so. I've tried googling this but my google foo is too weak. Thanks in advance.

(sorry if this is the wrong stack exchange site)

3 Answers 3


Would Amazon EC2 fit your needs? It's billed by CPU time, so you only pay for the time spent compiling.

An High CPU Extra Large instance seems to fit your needs:

High-CPU Extra Large Instance 7 GB of memory, 
20 EC2 Compute Units (8 virtual cores with 2.5 
EC2 Compute Units each), 1690 GB of local instance storage, 64-bit platform

The High CPU Extra Large costs $0.68USD/hr (on demand cost) (Pricing Details)

Using their cost calculator, with your load (2 hrs a month) with 10/GB bandwidth in and out, it looks like it would cost less than $8/month. alt text

This article compares Rackspace Cloud Servers and Amazon EC2. The part that may interest you would be the pricing comparison for compiling the linux kernel.

  • Thanks phsr, several other people have recommended EC2. I'm going to be looking into this.
    – Segfault
    Aug 25, 2010 at 17:55
  • I'm using the EC2 stuff happily, and that's exactly what I'd do. An EC2 instance is a bit of a pain to set up, but once you've got it going it's reasonably priced and flexible. I'd use the official Ubuntu images and an EBS root, which allows you to suspend the machine when you're not using it, paying only for disk space. See alestic.com and help.ubuntu.com/community/EC2StartersGuide for more info. Aug 25, 2010 at 18:00
  • doesn't the disk space come from S3? i've already got some stuff there and it's cheap.
    – Segfault
    Aug 25, 2010 at 18:06
  • It claims you get some storage with it, so I'm not sure, but even if you have 10GB on S#, it would be cheap Aug 26, 2010 at 10:05

Sun has a similar service to Amazon's except their primary use case was similar to what you describe: that is, compiling and building.

I believe it's hosted on Solaris and accessed through a web service. Pre-acquisition, it was a free service (up to some limit that I don't recall). Not sure of the status now.

  • Thanks Kevin, do you have a link to this service? I can't seem to locate it.
    – Segfault
    Sep 9, 2010 at 15:55

I believe that we at Ready-to-Run Software have the solution you are looking for. Ready-to-Run Software (RTR) maintains a secure facility containing a heterogeneous, backed-up network with an assortment of computer platforms (versions of operating system, equipment manufacturer, and configuration). Currently this center is comprised of over 70 different operating platforms, making it one of the most unique computing facilities anywhere in the world today.

Please visit us at Ready-to-Run Software (www.rtr.com) to learn more of what we have to offer. Go to http://porting-center.com/ for additional information about the benefits of using the RTR Porting Center.


  • Nice - totally up-front and to my mind not spammy. I see that you're new here, and it would be awesome if you can continue to contribute. If you/your engineers have the experience of keeping that many different systems available (or ready-to-build), you've probably got a lot to add here
    – mfinni
    Oct 14, 2010 at 18:49
  • Thanks Michael, you're right this is the kind of service I am looking for.
    – Segfault
    Oct 21, 2010 at 14:14

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