We're looking into alternatives for our very small datacentre at the moment. We have two Windows 2008 terminal servers that serve RemoteApps that we're looking to move off-site first off (and if we could combine this into just one server, that's a real bonus).

To be honest I'm hopelessly confused about the difference between a VPS and a cloud server. I have seen you can get cloud servers where you can install and configure your own Windows instance, so how does this differ from a traditional VPS?

Is it worth trying Windows Terminal Server on a cloud? Or should we stick with a traditional hosted VPS?

Authentication and data transfer will be done over VPN to our current datacenter (it's fairly low traffic most of the time).

Just to clarify, the reason we're looking to move off site is because our current hardware is not up to scratch, and our bandwidth is running out during peak time, and we're currently unhappy with where our servers are physically located. A situation where the hardware is fully managed for us is ideal.


I wouldn't go with either. I'm not a big fan of the cloud for anything I want in production. There are still too many issues (both technical and legal) that I'd rather let another pilgrim get shot in the back with. VPS is ok for hosting (sometimes) but I can't see termnial services on one. You can get you own hardware fully managed in many ways, some hosting centers will do it (saavis will), you can also get baseline operations support for those servers from HP (HP criticalwatch) or get a fully managed solution from a company like Inteq. I think your pain points would only be changed to new and more painful ones by going cloud or VPS. The only non-virtual route (if you just want to pay rent w/o ownership) would be rackspace type where they rent you their hardware and they manage it for you.

As far as your network bandwith goes- you're still going to have to pay for it whether it's cloud, vps or colo. It sounds like you need to switch to a burstable connection rather than fixed to resolve that issue. You can use this as an opportunity to test moving to a new colo site, as it's alot easier to truck 2 servers around vs 10 (or however many you have)


as per the comments if the biggest expense you have is bandwidth and I had to pick my poison (with a better rate on bandwidth) I'd go VPS. You may have to have more than one to handle the load but it's (apparently) likely to be cheaper than colo. You biggest issue will be application responsiveness and (more common in the shared hosting model) network congestion and latency. Bandwidth expenses might even go up considering the rest of your servers would be in a different datacenter. Anoher possibility is to investigate using xenapp or if you're an SA customer APP-V from Microsoft. Both can reduce both the bandwidth and server requirements on your terminal server (see APP-V for terminal services)

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    Interesting. I have used a terminal server that was hosted on VPS regularly and it wasn't as fast as bare-metal but it was perfectly acceptable (from a remote location over a clogged adsl connection no terminal server is going to be brilliant) - which is why we were thinking of going down this route. We're based in Australia and colo/dedicated servers are crazy expensive as well, which is why VPS/cloud looked appealing (for every 12 months of costs we could be buying brand new servers!) – Mark Henderson Jul 23 '09 at 0:30
  • Also in Australia, bandwidth is super crazy expensive. I've seen prices around a dollar or so per gb (after exchange) with the cloud providers which looked tasty - rather than paying $1000 a month for a 2mb connection... – Mark Henderson Jul 23 '09 at 0:32
  • It's not that it's impossible to do terminal services via VPS but as you've found perfomance takes a hit and depending on the app a significant one. I had no idea bandwidth in australia was so expensive. What are you guys doing running gold plated ethernet cables and swarovski crystal fiber? – Jim B Jul 23 '09 at 3:07
  • See above for an update – Jim B Jul 23 '09 at 3:22
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    It's expensive because one private company owns 95% of the infrastructure and thus hold everyone by the balls. The government is laying fibre to provide a more korean-like internet experience (100mb to the building would be cheap) but it's at least 5 years off. Also being seperated from the rest of the world by thousands of kilometers of ocean doesn't help. Anyway I'm looking into that APP-V you mentioned, I've never heard of it before... – Mark Henderson Jul 23 '09 at 4:01

the best solution here would be to utilize windows 2008 terminal services install ts gateway in replace of vpn, purchase an ssl certification and use the ts app redirection feature. select a managed hosting provider -- i can name a few, and determine the bandwidth costs, backups or any other charges which may apply.

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