Performance enhancements to Amazon WorkSpaces Streaming Protocol (WSP)
With the recent shift to hybrid work, many IT organizations support large numbers of remote workers. This can be challenging, especially when deploying a cloud-based virtual desktop solution intended to maximize user productivity and enable seamless collaboration, regardless of network conditions.
Since the initial launch of Amazon WorkSpaces Streaming Protocol (WSP), AWS continues to innovate to optimize performance and user experience across the Amazon WorkSpaces Family services. Features such as improved audio/video support, Smart Card authentication, and in-session Smart Card redirection are the result of this innovation.
Today, I’m excited to announce significant enhancements to WSP for Amazon WorkSpaces that maximize audio/video (AV) performance and enable a consistent and responsive desktop experience regardless of your network conditions. We also made significant improvements to the web access client for WorkSpaces, providing a high-performance desktop experience without requiring software to be installed on your user’s devices.
AWS customers are impressed with the WSP performance enhancements. Maximus, a global provider of health and human services, is using WSP. Wylie Hartwell, SVP of Information Technology at Maximus, commented on WSP saying the following:
“AWS has taken a major step forward with the WSP protocol. We’re looking forward to deploying the streaming enhancements to our globally distributed team members, who often operate in regions with less-than-stellar network performance. The performance improvements we expect to see in video conferencing should be game changing.”
Performance and productivity improvements
Improvements made to WSP are the result of a significant overhaul to the protocol, made possible by leveraging DCV technology. DCV is the proven remote-display protocol supporting AWS services such as Amazon AppStream 2.0 and Amazon Nimble Studio, and trusted by AWS customers like Volkswagen and Netflix.
To maximize two-way audio/video capabilities, we improved webcam and microphone redirection performance, enabling distortion-free high-resolution video and clear audio. In addition, bandwidth-adaptive streaming and reduced bandwidth requirements help provide near real-time virtual desktop responsiveness without compromising image accuracy. This provides end-to-end User Datagram Protocol (UDP) connectivity, helping deliver a highly responsive end-user experience during poor network conditions.
WSP enhancements are included in the web access client for WorkSpaces, enabling significant performance and productivity improvements without installing software on the local device. To maximize front-of-screen performance, we’ve implemented bi-directional audio/video and choice of fixed or dynamic display resolution. User productivity is improved by allowing copy/paste from the local client to WorkSpaces instance, while support for relative mouse positioning enhances user experience with 3D design and visual effects applications. Streaming metrics such as frame rate, network latency, and download bandwidth are available within the web access session to help users monitor and troubleshoot streaming and network issues. See the web access client for WorkSpaces user guide for more detail.
How to Get Started
There are a number of ways to get started using the latest WSP improvements depending on your current use of Amazon WorkSpaces.
If you have not used WorkSpaces before, launch a new WorkSpaces instance using a WSP bundle from the WorkSpaces console.
If you’re using an existing WSP WorkSpaces instance, upgrade to the latest version of the WSP host agent and WorkSpaces client. Go to About My Workspaces after signing into the native client to check client version. Update the host agent by rebooting your WorkSpaces instance and download and install the latest client to get the latest WSP performance improvements and features. See the protocols section of the WorkSpaces FAQ for more detail on supported client and host operating systems.
If you are not using an existing WorkSpaces instance, but you have a PCoIP WorkSpaces instance, use the WSP migration API to convert your PCoIP WorkSpaces instance to a WSP WorkSpaces instance.
To learn more, see the WorkSpaces FAQ for more information.
If you are testing the new features and functionality included in WSP, please remember to shut down any WorkSpaces test instances no longer needed to avoid unexpected usage charges.
To be effective, a hybrid workforce must be equipped to collaborate seamlessly from remote locations. In addition, end users require their cloud-based virtual desktops to perform as well as a traditional workstation or on-premises VDI solution, regardless of network conditions. Recent improvements to WSP, enhancing audio/video performance, and user productivity, are built to meet or exceed these expectations. By deploying WorkSpaces with WSP, IT organizations can empower users to do their best work, from anywhere.
If you haven’t yet experienced WSP, now is a great time to test the improvements we’ve made to the protocol.
|Paolo Maggi is the General Manager of Display Protocols team at Amazon Web Services. He has 20 years of experience building remote display protocol products such as NICE DCV and leading engineering teams.|
|Rey Wang is a Principal Product Manager focusing on remote display protocol technologies at Amazon Web Services. She currently leads product management for WorkSpaces Streaming Protocol (WSP) and NICE DCV.|