Create A Virtual Desktop In The Cloud

It’s time to create your own virtual desktop in the cloud. A client from my genius bar days as an Apple Genius reached out to me with quite an interesting scenario. He needed to run an application that is only compatible on a Windows OS, we looked at a few solutions, the first was to install parallels on his Mac which would enable virtualisation, we would then install Windows using Parallels. Easy right ? Not quite, I looked at the hardware specs on his Mac and could quickly see that this would not be viable due to amount of RAM the Mac had. The second option would be to use bootcamp to enable multi boot capability on his Mac. The downside to this solution would be that only one OS can be run at a time and he would need to shut down the Mac and choose the OS he would want to boot in at startup. The client was against this solution. As I was fairly new into cloud computing and had been setting up linux instances to setup web servers and small side projects, I realised that you can create your own virtual desktop in the cloud. I’ll guide you through the steps.

Steps to follow:

-> Login to the AWS Management Console
-> Click “Services”
-> Select “EC2” under “Compute”
-> Click “Launch Instance”
-> Search for “Windows Server”, select the base edition that is free tier eligible
-> Select the t2.micro instance
-> Click “Next: Configure Instance Details”
-> Click “Next: Add Storage”
-> Click “Next: Add Tags”, click add tag

Key: Name Value: My Windows EC2 Instance

-> Click “Next: Configure Security Groups”

You have the option to ensure that RDP can only be accessed by a specific IP or you can leave the settings as is that will allow communication from any IP address.

-> Click “Launch”
-> Create a new key pair, download the key pair
-> Click “Launch Instances”
-> Scroll down the webpage and click “View Instances”

Download the Microsoft Remote Desktop App from the Mac App Store

-> Select the EC2 instance you created
-> Click Connect
-> Download the remote desktop file
-> Click “Get Password”
-> Click “Choose File”, upload the key pair that was generated earlier.
-> Click “Decrypt Password”
-> Copy and paste the password to RDP

There you go. You’ve created your own virtual desktop in the cloud. There are plenty of use cases for the tutorial I created. You could also build an awesome gaming rig in the cloud. All that power can be used to play PC games. I hope you enjoyed this article. The simplest solutions are always the best. There’s no need to over complicate life when all the right tools you need are staring at you from the monitor.