Amazon allow you to create your virtual instances using pretty much any Linux distribution you want, but Windows is not easily available (yea, you can run a virtual instance on the virtual instance, but its not fast). Enter Flexiscale. They are a UK Based company and they offer Pay as you go computing, hosting and storage.

Their pricing scheme is similar to Amazon, but you pay differently based on OS. It starts at just 5p (EUR0.07, USD0.10) an hour for a Linux box with 512mb ram and increases to 23p (EUR0.33, USD0.46) for a Windows Server 2003 standard edition box with 2Gb of ram.

Storage is changed at 30p (EUR0.43, USD0.61) per gig for up to 1Tb and prices start to go down from 1Tb or more. Same with Bandwidth. uploads are 7p per gig and downloads are 10p per gig. (I have given up on calculating prices!). They also offer some extra features like Port Level Firewalling at 1p per IP address, and load balancing at 2p per IP address.

I think the fact that Windows is offered is pretty handy. they offer 3 flavors of windows: Windows Small Business Sever 2003, Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP. Also, Linux is offered. There is only  a difference of between half a penny and 3p between running Windows or Linux. Win2k3 standard is 8p an hour with half a gig of ram, or running Linux will cost 5p.

I have requested an account, and want to play around with this. I can see this being handy if I need to take the server down. just copy data over, start the instance, set the IP in the DNS and Robert is very much your Mother’s Brother!