Cloud computing pioneer Amazon Web Services recently announced support for hosting of Windows based servers on its Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud. This new offering can now easily be used to create a cheap Remote Probe server for your own installation of PRTG Network Monitor! To extended our own global network of probes (we use it as a demo website for visitors interested in PRTG and as a test platform for PRTG as well) we created a new remote probe running on EC2 in less than 30 minutes. Here are the steps we took:

  • Sign up for Amazon Web Services
  • Create an x509 certificate on the "My Account" => "Access Identifiers" page
  • Optional: Sign up for a free Developer Account at Rightscale.com (Rightscale provides a great interface for management of virtual machines in EC2. Their free developer account is sufficient for what we need to do). In your Rightscale account enter the authentication settings from your Amazon AWS account
  • Download and install Elasticfox (an extension for Firefox that manages virtual machines on EC2). Enter your access identifiers in Elasticfox
  • First we need to get an IP for our new server: In Elasticfox go to the "Elastic IPs" tab and click on "+" (add) to acquire an IP for your server
  • Let's allow access to the Remote Desktop of our new server: On the "Security Groups" tab (which basically configures your firewall) click the green checkmark of the lower list and enter 3389 for the Port Range "from" and "to" field.
  • The next step is to actually create the new server: Go to the "AMIs and Instances" tab and choose the AMI ID "ami-b53cd8dc" (which is a Windows 2003 Server R2 anon...) from the list, right click it and select "Launch instance". Choose "m1-small" as the "Instance Type", this is the smallest and cheapest option which is perfectly suitable for a probe)
  • The new instance will show in the list at the bottom. Right click it and select "associate Elastic IP" and select the new IP
  • It will take maybe a few minutes, then you will receive a notification email from rightscale that your new server instance is operational and running.
  • Go to your Rightscale account and choose "Active Servers" from the "manage" menu.
  • Look at the "initial Password" field and note the password.
  • On your PC open Remote Desktop and connect to the IP of your new server, enter "Administrator" for the username and use the password provided by Rightscale
  • (Note: Right clicking the server in ElasticFox and choosing "Get Password" should do the same, but did not work for us)
  • Finally download, install and configure the Remote Probe for your PRTG installation.

This probe server will create charges on your Amazon account of about US$90 per month. You can see the new probe in action on our global probe map ( look at the East Coast USA box) or after logging into our PRTG Demo Website.

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