Amazon Desktop Virtualization

Amazon competes with traditional virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions providers by introducing its own virtual desktop computing service.

These days, more and more companies prefer to access their corporate resources without a hitch. This is the reason desktop virtualization is starting to gain traction among tech-savvy businesses. For those of you who are not aware, desktop virtualization is a technology that sets computer desktop environment and physical computer apart from each other.

This computing model allows the virtualized desktop to be hosted in a remote central server rather than storing it in the hard drive of a local personal computer. Simply put, end users can interact with a virtual desktop the same way they do with a physical desktop. The only difference is that desktop virtualization allows remote log in, thereby offering better mobility.

Then came Amazon WorkSpaces

Companies like Toshiba, Dell and VMWare are among the first to offer desktop virtualization service to businesses. However, a new challenger is set to provide the same service and is looking to fill the gaps seen in virtualization in the form of retail giant, Amazon.

Amazon Web Services (AWS), during its AWS re:Invent program on November 13, announced its entry in the desktop virtualization space through Amazon WorkSpaces. It is described as a fully managed cloud computing desktop service that allows companies to easily access applications, files and other resources using their devices of choice, including laptops and Android and iOs devices as well as Kindle Fire.

According to Amazon, WorkSpaces is designed to bring corporate applications to the aforementioned devices, while keeping data secure and easy to manage over the cloud. In fact, the service allows employees to start work on one device and then be able to continue their work later on another device. This is especially useful for businesses with an on-the-go workforce or work from home employees. WorkSpaces is also said to provide virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions at half the cost of traditional on-premise VDI solutions.

Gene Farrell, the general manager of Amazon WorkSpaces, said that their cloud desktop service is the result of the request of customers. He noted that these people have been searching for high performance, secure and easy to use desktops and WorkSpaces is the solution AWS has seen to address these issues.

WorkSpaces Service Bundles

To provide clients the flexibility they need to address their business requirements, Amazon provides four service bundles for their WorkSpaces: Standard, Standard Plus, Performance and Performance Plus. The basic bundle is priced at $35 a month for each user, while the advanced bundle is priced at $75 a month for each user.

All bundles use Windows 7 for their desktop. Amazon also made programs like Adobe Reader, 7-zip, Adobe Flash, Internet Explorer 9, the current version of Firefox and Java Runtime Environment (JRE), among others, available with each bundle. Additional software can be added by end users on top of this basic software package based on their own preferences. Two of the advanced bundles, Standard Plus and Performance Plus, also feature Microsoft Office Professional 2010 and Trend Micro Anti-Virus.

To keep the desktops and data secure, Amazon tapped into Teradivi’s PC over IP (PCoIP) protocol. When used on the cloud, this swiftly compresses, encrypts and delivers image pixels across the devices of end-users and the latter can then decompress, decrypt and display the images without difficulty. Teradivi also added that since the protocol only transfers in pixel form, business information does not leave the data centre. Nonetheless, as all software is within a central system, tampering and malware infiltration can be prevented.

Of course, WorkSpaces sounds like a promising solution for businesses. After all, based on the comparisons made by AWS between traditional desktop solutions and their cloud service, the latter can save organizations about 59% on their overhead costs, not to mention that it can provide the right balance of accessibility and security, which is crucial for any enterprise. However, in order to ensure that it is indeed the right solution, Amazon should be able to demonstrate that it has addressed the biggest issue with most desktop virtualization technologies, which is none other than latency. At the most, businesses would want to make sure that they would be investing on something that will truly allow them to make their work flow efficient.

At the moment, Amazon WorkSpaces is available on a limited preview, so interested parties can sign up to give the service a try. The firm intends to accommodate more customers over the next few weeks.

How about you? Would you consider using Amazon WorkSpaces for your business or would you simply stick with traditional virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution?

Author BIO:

Betty Fulton is a fulltime write who enjoys tackling topics related to technology. She also writes content for