How to Connect to the Cloud

Quite often I chat with customers about cloud computing and tell them they could have a server running in the cloud for as little as 1 cent per hour.  Then their next question is: “Well, if it is running in the cloud, how can I access it then?“.

There seems to be a lot of confusion about it. Just because your server is running in the cloud, doesn’t mean it is not tangible. So the short answer is: “Use ssh and connect to it.“. Your server is not hidden in a nebula – it’s fully connected to the internet (at a fantastic bandwidth, a WebLogic 10.3.2 package download is completed in 4 mins at 3.8 MB/s) . For Amazon’s AWS you typically have to provide a X.509 certificate and RackspaceCloud uses password for root login with ssh.

Windows Options

Even if your managing the cloud from your Windows desktop you are not out of luck connecting to a UNIX server in the cloud, there are a couple of options:

  • There a free version of VNC for private and commercial use which is called TightVNC, see
  • NX is a desktop virtualization solution from a company called NoMachine. NoMachine designed the NX libraries to provide a self-tuning protocol with compression and reduced round-trips for X11 even over slow connections. Have a look at their homepage under They provide a free version which is limited to two connections only.
  • FreeNX was created in 2004 as the first complete free and GPLed server implementation of NX, see
  • Cygwin is another solution, see It provides a UNIX environment for Windows and comes with a X-server that can display your X based applications on your UNIX host. The software was written by Cygnus Solutions which now belongs to Red Hat.


  1. […] server images without Gnome, KDE or even X11. It is still possible to install a desktop together with NX server to get to the remote desktop on such a server image. The following lines list the necessary steps. There is a detailed […]

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