Last month I had to put together a demo of Chef automating Windows Servers. Being a Unix guy for all of my professional career, I have had no experience with Windows Servers. So here I was, with what seemed like an impossible task, to put together a demo with something I know relatively well (Chef) and something I know nothing about (Windows Server).
When I was thinking about where I'd get a Windows Server from, I started to think, why not use a service that's specialized in running infrastructure, something like Amazon Web Services. Sure enough, within a mere hour, I had a Windows Server up and running and a Chef converge against Hosted Chef, installing the IIS cookbook on the box.
The demo went over well. Being able to demonstrate Chef automating a Windows environment helped solidify it's usage for both Linux and Windows automation. Then I got my AWS bill...
That's the power of AWS. With one hour and one dollar, a person with no knowledge of Windows and AWS, could have a server up and running and converging against Hosted Chef.