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Killer Cloud Features For Pennies

Cloud Computing

Ever needed a clean install of a windows server to test with? Maybe you’re creating installs, or a script to create a database, or just need a clean machine to do some network or DR documentation.  Well, you have several options.  There are numerous virtualization technologies out there. There’s Microsoft’s Hyper-V (included with OS), VMWare’s VMWare Server (free), and Oracle’s VirtualBox (free).  You can go get your ISO or Retail DVD and go to town.

You can do this on your laptop or small desktop computer.  If you’ve got everything setup and ready to go, you may get this VM up and running in less than an hour!

Alternately, if you wanna save yourself time, headache, and moneycheck out Scott Forsyth’s Vaasnet.com.  As a disclaimer – I worked with Scott hosting some very high profile social networks for Microsoft.  Scott is an active blogger and knowledge sharer.

What’s funny is that I forgot this was Scott’s company.  I was a happy customer and Scott emailed me out of the blue today.  So now, I’m a happy customer and an advocate for people using my buddy’s service.

Scott said in an email, “It was built with people like me and you in mind.”  So who am I? I’m an all around nerd who writes software and doesn’t have time to build up virtual machines. I also don’t have a huge budget to spend to save me that time, either.  This isn’t for hosting your website; this is for on demand needs for things like testing, training, and debugging.

If you aren’t sure you would use Vaasnet, just keep reading. For less than a latte, you can try it. For less than a cheeseburger, you can save yourself hours of frustration.

I found Vaasnet (Vaas == Virtualization as a service) by searching around and ended up signing up.  So, here are what I think are the four killer features of Vaasnet, and why you should us it.

Killer Feature #1 – Quick and On Demand:

While working on a new mobile game, I needed a Microsoft Windows 2008 server to test a script with.  I arrived at Vaasnet and had my virtual server up and running *in minutes*.  Literately.  From Internet search to testing in a blink of an eye.  You register, pick the configuration from the catalog and the desired screen resolution, and then login.

Killer Feature #2 – Keeps it simple:

The setup was pain free and simple.  Once I’d setup my account and provided my credit card, I picked the server configuration I needed. I then connected to my server via RDP using the same username and password I setup for the site.   No email with a randomly 14 character complex password to cut and paste.  Intuitively, vaasnet uses my login on the virtual machines I create.

Killer Feature #3 – Easily abstracts the complex:

A clean, best practice setup that I can start, stop, and *save* for the future.  Create in the cloud, keep in the cloud.  No ISOs, no storage, no IP, no firewall, no patching, no installing software.

Killer Feature #4 – Affordable for corporations and individuals alike:

$0 to get started.  It’s billed by the minute at a very cheap rate. How cheap?  I’ve provisioned 3 servers, booted them up, copied my files up, run my tests, and shut them down, and then deleted the provisioned server except the latest one.  And all of this took me less than 30 minutes total.

My bill for all of that? $2.13.


Yep, that’s right.  In an age where people regularly drop $1.99 on a mobile app – I was able to provision and test my code on three different virtual servers for less than a Starbucks coffee.  Each time, I loaded the General purpose 2008 R2 32bit standard “Swiss army knife” server.

Vaasnet usages charges are $.99/hour on virtual machines from boot up to shutdown. When you shutdown your VM, it doesn’t evaporate unless you delete it.  If you don’t, Vaasnet only charges $.02/GB/day.  That’s right. Your 30 GB virtual Dev box will be available to you to boot up and any point in time for only 60 cents a day, or $18 a month.

Think about that for a second if you’re a contract Developer or a business needing default configurations for training…

Vaasnet Demo Video

Vaasnet offers several templates in their catalog – all for $.99 an hour:

  • General Purpose 2008 R2 32bit Standard
  • Preloaded with- Visual Web Developer 2010 Express, IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, IIS7, SQL Server Express 2008 and a large set of IIS add-ons including ARR, URL Rewrite, ASP.Net 4.0, MVC 2, SEO Toolkit

There are others and they offer custom solutions also, so go sign up and check the details on these other configurations:

  • IE 6 on Windows 2003 32-bit
  • WebMatrix RTM on 2008 R2 32bit Standard (Preloaded with IE, Firfox, Chrome, and Safari)
  • IIS6 on 2003 R2 Standard 64bit
  • IIS 7.5, ARR and URL Rewrite
  • Sharepoint Foundation 2010
  • Microsoft Small Basic
  • General Purpose 2003 R2 64bit Standard
  • General Purpose 2003 32bit Standard
  • General Purpose 2008 R2 64bit Standard
  • General Purpose 2008 32bit Standard

Photo Courtesy of Paul Vallejo.