Thank you for your interest in Amazon AppStream. We recently launched Amazon AppStream 2.0, a fully managed service for streaming desktop applications to users. To learn more, visit the AppStream 2.0 website and try it today.

Q: What is Amazon AppStream?

Amazon AppStream enables you to stream your existing Windows applications from the cloud, reaching more users on more devices, without code modifications. With Amazon AppStream, your application will be deployed and rendered on AWS infrastructure and the output is streamed to mass-market devices, such as personal computers, tablets, and mobile phones. Because your application is running in the cloud, it can scale to handle vast computational and storage needs, regardless of the devices your customers are using. Amazon AppStream provides an SDK for streaming your application from the cloud. You can integrate your own custom clients, subscriptions, identity, and storage solution with AppStream to build a custom streaming solution that meets the needs of your business.

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Q: What are the benefits of streaming over rendering content locally?

Interactively streaming your application from the cloud provides several benefits:

Remove Device Constraints: You can leverage the compute power of AWS to deliver experiences that wouldn’t normally be possible due to the GPU, CPU, memory or physical storage constraints of local devices. 

Multi-Platform Support: You can write your application once and stream it to multiple device platforms. To support a new device, just write a small client to connect to your application.

Easy Updates: Because your application is centrally managed by Amazon AppStream, updating your application is as simple as providing a new version of your application to Amazon AppStream. That's all you need to do to immediately upgrade all of your customers without any action on their part.

Instant On: Streaming your application with AppStream lets your customers start using your application or game immediately, without the delays associated with large file downloads and time-consuming installations.

Improved Security: Unlike traditional boxed software and digital downloads, where your application is available for theft or reverse engineering, Amazon AppStream stores your application binary securely in AWS datacenters.

 

Q: Do some applications work better with Amazon AppStream than others?

Many types of applications work well as streaming applications: CAD, 3D modeling, simulation, games, video and photo-editing software, medical imaging, and life sciences applications. These applications benefit most from streaming because the application runs on the vast computational resources of AWS, yet your customers can interact with the application using low-powered devices, with very little noticeable change in application performance.

You can also consider a hybrid scenario, in which you stream part of an application from Amazon AppStream and host part of the application natively on the device. For example, a game could stream a portion of the visuals, such as rendering a detailed background and render character animations natively on the device.

Applications that have extremely low tolerance for latency are not recommended for streaming. Examples include first person shooters or player vs. player fighting games. 

Any application that can benefit from the additional CPU, GPU, memory, or storage available in AWS can use Amazon AppStream.  You can stream an existing application or game, invent new types of applications for Amazon AppStream, or build an ecosystem of streamed applications.  You should design your input and response model around the expected latency.  All platforms, whether console or PC, experience unexpected latency in some of their components, and creating applications for Amazon AppStream is no different.  You can read more about AppStream use cases here.

 

Q: Can my Amazon AppStream applications run offline?

No. Amazon AppStream requires a sustained Internet connection to stream your application. You can, however, provide your customers an off-line experience by hosting part of your application on Amazon AppStream and running part of your application natively on the device.  When your customers are connected to the Internet, your application can benefit from the additional resources AppStream offers.

 

Q: What are the minimum bandwidth requirements for AppStream?

A minimum of 3 Mbps is the minimum recommended bandwidth for running streaming applications. The STX protocol has been optimized to deliver high-quality streaming sessions in congested network environments.