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I have an (end-user-oriented) application I'd like to run, that only runs on Windows. I don't own a Windows machine and don't really want to buy a license for Windows just so I can run it in a VM. So, I'm thinking of running the application in a Windows VM instance on a cloud-hosted server. (Is there a standard name for this service that can be used for finding services that offer this? A Windows VPS?)

I'm guessing I can use a Windows VPS for this. Are there any specific features I need the VPS service to provide, so this will work? RDP? Do I need to make sure it uses an end-user version of Windows, rather than Windows Server? Do I have to worry about VPS providers giving me a server-grade version of Windows that won't let me run an end-user Windows application?

I'm not asking you to recommend a service, product, or VPS provider. Rather, I'm looking for information about how to evaluate a provider for this purpose, and what features to make sure the VPS supports, if I want to use it to run a Windows application in the cloud.

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Amazon AWS WorkSpaces provides the virtual desktop on the cloud might suit your requirement. Another option is Microsoft own Azure RemoteApp. I haven't use both, so you got to compare both by yourself.

My concern with renting Server VPS for Windows Desktop use is on the availability of the Windows Desktop Image to boot the VPS for the first time. Even if you bring your own license, creating your own windows desktop is not an easy task.

Or, your apps might be able to run on Windows Server. In this case, then it might be possible to rent Server VPS.

Let us know what you end up with.....

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Since you want to run Windows based Application on Cloud, you can choose Windows Azure or Providers who supports Windows OSes ( Rackspace, Liquidweb etc ). Azure supports both Desktop OS ( windows 8 and 10 ) and Server OS ( 2008R2 and 2012R2 ), and you need to choose the OS that supports your application.

You can connect your VM through RDP, and get a reserved IP address if you run your application 24/7.

Choosing the nearest zone while creating the vm is also important.

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Hosted Desktop: Typically provided via MS RDP or Citrix XenApp into either a managed dedicated server farm or managed multi-tenanted server farm. Most providers have multiple servers and replication so they can continue to provide service in the event of Server/Hardware/DC failure. Also providers will take care of backups, installing software, patching, firewalls, anti-virus etc.

VPS: Typically provided 'as is'. You back it up, patch it, install your software, licence it (RDP - 2 free RDP licences provided) etc. Normally you don't get the replication for DC failover or any support for the VPS unless you purchase the 'Managed OS' Add-on.

We actually provide this service in my day job: Hosted Desktop UK.

We provide Windows Virtual Hosted Desktop dedicated to each client, so each client gets their own security and setup. All of the VMs are then part of a Windows Hyper-V Cluster to protect against server failure and replicated to our 2nd Data Centre incase of DC failure.

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