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Free cloud server self-destructs in 35 minutes

Help us out readers: what could you do in that time on an EC2 micro-instance?

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Creating a cloud server takes just a few minutes and cost peanuts, but a chap in the USA has decided it takes too long and created a site that spawns a free Amazon Web Services EC2 micro-instance in seconds and then offers you the chance to open a terminal window to drive it.

The servers are called into existence by instantserver.io and run Ubuntu 13.04 on 64-bit CPU, with 614 MB of RAM and eight GB of storage. There's no need to learn the ins and outs of the finicky AWS console. Anyone that can drive a web browser can have a server in a minute or two.

The catch? The server only runs for 35 minutes before terminating.

Users can beg for an extra five minutes of operations, but once the clock runs down the server disappears … unless you stump up a well and truly over the odds price of $US6 for the first day of operations. With AWS offering pay-as-you-go micro instances for $0.02 an hour, there's a substantial margin there for “Doug”, as the site's contact person is known (whois inquiries lead into a thicket).

Users with basic cloud skills would doubtless recognise it's silly to pay that premium or let a third party like instantserver.io have any control over a server.

Folks with more cloudy cred, like Reg readers, may also have fine ideas about just what to do with a server that lasts only 35 minutes.

Do share those ideas with us in the comments below. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

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