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I have been looking into having a cloud-based Windows virtual machine for a few weeks now, and in looking at the alternatives and possibilities, I was surprised how expensive they can be.
My need is simple.
I need a stable and reliable machine, with good bandwidth, which is outsized my home /office, that I can access anytime / from anywhere that I can use to test some of the apps and sites I create and manage.
I will not use it to stream movies, watch YouTube or do development but instead it is mostly for web surfing, testing and such. So I am looking for an inexpensive persistent machine. It does not have to be on all of the time, but that would be nice. I think I would prefer Windows, but not opposed to a Linux-based machines especially when they have such great GUI interfaces now. Looking for a minimum configuration of 2 CPUs, 2Gb RAM and 50Gb of disk space. but ideally 2 CPU, 4Gb RAM and 100Gb disk space.
I started by looking at Desktop-as-a Service (DaaS) options, then looked at VMs inside the major cloud compute providers, did a couple of spreadsheets of cost based on per-hour cost, and then landed on my result..
Some of the items I looked into follow:
|Windows 365||2 vCPU, 4 GB RAM, 128 GB Storage // $31/month|
|Microsoft Azure Virtual Machine||Azure Compute|
A similar setup ( 2vCPUS, 4G RAM ) North America Data Cernter
$85.00 ( Additional price for persistent storage)
|Amazon Lightsail||Starts at $8/month for low-end Windows.|
$40.00 ( w/80G SSD)
|AWS Compute||Hourly rate inexpensive |
additional price for persistent storage to attached to compute.
|Google Cloud||VM instance pricing | Compute Engine: Virtual Machines (VMs) | |
Difficult to get an accurate price per month. Too many options!
|Kamatera Express –||Good pricing on Linux servers but Windows goes up to $36.00.|
|Infosaic Technologies, LLC from Columbus Ohio||Virtual Desktops | Affordable High Performance Cloud Desktop as a Service (DaaS) with Windows 11, Windows10, Microsoft Office, Open Office.|
GOOD OPTION: at $11.95 for 2 CPUS $17.95 for 4 CPUS
|deskMate||The easiest Windows home office desktops for your employees |
Starting at $19/month.
|Cloudalize||DaaS is expensive. They have great services on VPS.|
|Citrix DaaS||only available to Business ( starting at 500 users)|
|Shells.com||Desktop as a Service is the future of computing! (shells.com) ( starting at $11/95)|
|Neverinstall||Good Concept but could not find if company is currently still in business. |
|Kasm Cloud Personal||Cloud Browser | Desktop | OSINT (kasmweb.com) |
** No Persistence! — Bummer!
I could not believe that DaaS is still at the range of $35+ per month depending on the configuration, even for Unix machines. After looking for a while I decided to look at Virtual Private Servers instead and was able to find one for $9.95/month (discounted to $8 / month if paid for a year) from a hosting company called Cloudzy.
It is a persistent (VPS all are) 2 CPU, 2GB RAM and 50Gb machine with Windows 2022 Server Standard which I can update at any time if needed (I do not expect to for my use), Been using it for a month now and it has been a great addition to my tool bag.
- #hours per month