I'm a beginning programmer looking to develop on a VPS, by which I aim to make multiple instances for each environment and work remotely without much hardware investment. From what I read, other people are positive to very positive about working on a VPS and praise, amongst other things, these benefits.

For the past two days, I've worked with an Amazon EC2 instance (m3.medium, Windows Sever 2008 R2) with 3,75Gb memory, of which I use ~850mb and 3 ECU, of which I use ~10% on average. Connections I've established with the default Windows Remote Desktop, which seems to be advisable over a VNC version, and with 2X Client.

But so far I'm not very enthusiastic. Typing is regularly sluggish, it can take a few seconds before Intellisense pops-up, and even switching windows is not fluent.

While I understand that smooth scrolling in the browser cannot be expected, my internet speed is above the minimum for RDP (and my ping to my AWS region is around 50ms). Furthermore, given the instance computing power I had at least expected fluent typing.

My question: Is this behaviour to be expected or should it work (more) fluently and am I better advised going over my settings again?

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    It looks like the links you posted are probably running Linux and either developing at the command line or editing locally and transmitting files over scp (perhaps automatically in the editor). That uses a lot less bandwidth than sending a full windowing environment over the net. – Alan Shutko Mar 5 '14 at 17:21

I think you're expecting too much...

From http://openmymind.net/Why-I-Dislike-ec2/ (June 2013):

To me, AWS is to performance, what Microsoft was to security (pre Bill Gate's Trustworthy Computing memo).


Not only is EC2 slow and expensive, it's getting worse as faster processors and hard drives come to market. The new EBS-only M3 generation didn't come close to closing the gap.

From http://blog.profitbricks.com/cloud-performance-still-afterthought-many/ (Jan. 2014):

Whether you are aware of Cloud performance issues like the “Noisy Neighbor” problem, the “Shared Virtual CPUs” problem, or the “throttled 1GB network” problem – Cloud performance issues are encountered by every user.


These new m3 instance types are their “Second Generation general-purpose EC2 instance type”. Amazon and Intel are marketing that these instances run the Intel Xeon E5-2670 Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge processors and have higher clock frequencies, significantly improved memory performance, and faster SSD storage, all with better and more consistent performance at a lower price.

But do the new m3 instances benchmark numbers match the hype?

Sadly, no.

  • +1 for teaching me something I didn't expect to learn today! – MonkeyZeus Mar 5 '14 at 17:40
  • Thank you for your answer. These links seem to be particularly focused on the shared hardware issue. Would getting dedicated RAM and CPU, such as offered by Rackspace and ProfitBricks, help in your view, or will fluent performance still lack due to the bandwidth usage by RDP Windows highlighted by the comment from Alan? – Jura Mar 5 '14 at 18:36
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    It should of course be noted that the cited article has a clear conflict of interest. As a wholly satisfied AWS user, I'm completely unimpressed by such transparent whining. – Michael - sqlbot Mar 6 '14 at 1:47
  • Odd - I've used m3.medium with no issues over a large number of servers. Have you tried recreating the image to avoid the noisy neighbour? Also - is it an Amazon Windows AMI that you're using or another one? – Pete - MSFT Mar 10 '14 at 4:12

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