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Gerardo Delgado

Bravo!... Amazon..Great addition to the EC2 family definitely an early holiday present to those of us who want to test all the new features Windows Server 2012 brings to the table.


I've been experimenting with the Free Tier and Windows Server 2012 + SQL Server Express on EC2 this morning.

These comments are directly related to my need in finding a cloud platform for developing new .NET applications.

As you know, in the Free Tier, you're limited to t1.micro instances pegged at 615MB of memory. At boot, this leaves you with somewhere around 70% memory utilization (~180MB available) after all services have started. Yes, 180MB of free physical memory before opening a single application.

The Windows Free Tier, which eligible users have access to for a full year (for some odd reason), is completely underpowered and under configured to do any meaningful "Free" evaluation of AWS. The only conclusion one could expect after configuring, booting and logging in is "Wow, is it really this slow? How am I going to develop on this?" Tom, I challenge you to record (in real time, no editing) the same steps you performed but on a t1.micro, including something as simple as launching SQL Server Management Studio and creating an empty database. It is unsurprisingly and unbearably slow.

Amazon needs to get serious about attracting Windows developers to AWS, particularly with Microsoft Azure in their rear view mirror. Change the program to 90 days and offer servers that are commensurate with the performance levels developers expect. Then, at the end of the trial, I can make a clear choice about cost vs. value provided.


Tom Rizzo

@James, thank you for your feedback. Keep it coming since we do want to make AWS the best place to run Windows.


I would say just increase the RAM for Windows Free Tier alone for the 1 yr time period.

Also, i would know is there some way 2012 Server with Hyper-V possible on a VM. I know it's not possible, but if there's a possibility, we can run a small DR within one AWS instance and resell it to our customers. Cos, reselling from AWS is not that cheap, still traditional hosters are best in this area. I know it's not core of what AWS is, but still it makes sense to lot of small hosters.


It might be worth being explicit here whether the Windows Server 2012 AMI are just Server Core or whether it is the full GUI. Its probably obviously the latter, but I think it would be great to offer a leaner Server Core 2012 option as well (this would require the Powershell remote access enabled in the image rather than RDP, or possibly Powershell Web Access). Server Core is lighter weight, at the expense of not supporting GUI but Powershell-only admin, but this may alay the previous commenter's complaints about being completely unusable on a micro instance.

Windows Server 2012 does support in-place upgrade from Server Core to a lightly features admin only GUI to a full desktop, but I don't know if it is supported in an EC2 context.


I'd have to agree with James above, My AWS 2012 T1.Micro instance with SQLExpress is crapping itself 99% CPU 90% memory utilisation. I'd love to test drive but this thing is unusable in it's current under resourced state.


It would be interesting to see the memory utilization of Server Core 2012 with the FULL IIS ASP.NET role configured. I can always use RDS for SQL Server on the free tier.


@James, I'd have to agree that RDS would be the better option but why offer the T1.Micro 2012 instance with SQL Express if it's unusable.


Well just ran up a bare t1.micro 2012 instance. 99% cpu trying to run windows update. Under resourced is an understatement.


@Steven, you're right, there is a huge disconnect right now in the Windows Free Tier. When Amazon originally announced the program:

you couldn't even run Windows AMIs (perhaps due to licensing issues at the time). But the post does reveal this:

"In plain English, you get everything that you need to build and deploy a very functional web application and run it full time, for free!"

This tells me that the Free Tier is intended for developers to _build_ applications, but it isn't realistic under the current limitations. I guess you could spin up a Linux AMI and try your luck with Mono. :-) Or head on over to Azure. I'd rather give my money to Amazon.

I would love to hear someone from Amazon comment about this and more importantly, explain how they're going to remedy it.


Wow, talk about underconfigured. I too just tried to bring up a server 2012 micro instance as part of my free trial. We are trying to decide between Azure and AWS for our windows instances (running a .Net 4.5 WebAPI based application).

Azure seems to give you 768MB for their freebie, which doesnt scream along either, but is definitely better than what Amazon gives you.

Why cant both Azure & AWS give us a reasonably configured instance to actually TRY stuff in our free trial? Is 1GB too much to ask? :-)

Im a noob with AWS, so asked in the forums what I was doing wrong :-) FYI:

Drew Pierce

drop 4 cents an hr and get a Medium Spot Instance, 8 cents and get a Large Spot Instance. Just save to an EBS AMI every few hrs. 4 and 8 GB ram respectively. Twenty hrs of uptime for less than a cup of coffee.

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