Desktop and Application Streaming

Reimagining End User Computing

We recently completed re:Invent 2020 and the End User Computing team presented six different sessions designed to help you understand why and how to get started and scale deployments of Amazon WorkSpaces and Amazon AppStream 2.0. I presented a session called “Reimagine your workforce with AWS End User Computing Services”  where we shared some of our lessons learned in 2020 as well as our vision for the future  – I invite you to watch the full session, it’s only 30 minutes, and you can register for free. We also announced two critical features, about which I wanted to share a few more details. You can find a full list of our re:Invent 2020 sessions here.

Reimagining End User Computing

Our teams’ mission for the End User Computing product category has always been to provide and support customers with services that enable their workforce to work securely anywhere, from any device. As the general manager of End User Computing services at Amazon Web Services (AWS), I oversee a team that provides resources for agile workforces, including services such as Amazon WorkSpaces and Amazon AppStream 2.0. As many of our services are used to facilitate remote work, we found a sharp increase in the need for our services once the COVID-19 pandemic shut down offices around the world. Many businesses have since discovered new possibilities with end user computing services that are helping them reimagine how their workforce operates.

Before the pandemic, my conversations with customers were mostly based on new features and innovation. We’d talk about all the things that AWS could do to enable their workloads with concepts like zero trust networks, smart card authentication, how end-user computing fit into a disaster recovery plan, and the larger shift away from traditional on-premises infrastructure toward a new future in the cloud.

A vision for the future

Once the pandemic hit, conversations with customers changed very quickly to focus on the question “How do I get my workforce up and running from home?” AWS customers varying from the food delivery service like GrubHub to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies like Kyowa Kirin quickly scaled up hundreds, thousands, and even tens of thousands of users on Amazon WorkSpaces.

At the time, there was an intense focus on getting a solution up and running quickly, and WorkSpaces and AppStream 2.0 were perfect for that. They are fully managed services, meaning scaling up and down can be done in minutes. But now, a few quarters in, companies are starting to reimagine the way they employ their staff and are thinking about how they can make their lives easier in the future. Larry Augustin, our VP of Productivity Applications, talked about how we can keep the best of working from home, and I want to talk about some of the tools my team provides to do this and the newest innovations we have released. Our team is preparing for a future in which applications for your employees will be available anywhere at any time supported by the cloud.

Introducing WorkSpaces Streaming Protocol

There are plenty of enduring challenges to working remotely. One that we’ve regularly seen is that many people have unreliable networks. One way we’ve been able to address this is by working with customers to adjust protocols and come up with better ways for bits and bytes to get to end users with uncertain network environments and high packet loss situations. We are excited to introduce the WorkSpaces Streaming Protocol (WSP), a cloud-native streaming protocol that enables a consistent user experience when accessing your WorkSpaces across global distances and unreliable networks. WSP decouples the streaming protocol from the WorkSpace by offloading metric analysis, codec selection, and encoding to microservices that run natively on AWS. This lets WSP apply a better understanding of each user’s session that adapts its industry-standard and purpose-built codecs in real-time to provide a consistent user experience across challenging network conditions.

What does this all mean? If you’ve ever worked from home and tried to hide in the back room to get away from noisy kids… but that back room had an unreliable internet, you know what I’m talking about.

With the shift to work from home, we’ve seen tremendous demand from customers for more video conferencing capabilities. My colleague Sid Rao talked about some of the innovation that AWS has provided in video calls from anywhere and we’re excited to add to the innovation. Last week we released Amazon AppStream 2.0 support for real time audio-video. With this feature customers can make video conferencing and other streaming applications available to their users and enhance the ability for teams to collaborate from anywhere, by seamlessly redirecting local webcam video input to AppStream 2.0 streaming sessions. We are committed to helping our customers enable a more agile and secure work environment and are excited to release features such as WorkSpaces Streaming Protocol and AppStream 2.0 support for real time audio-video that enable customers to work anywhere and anytime.

re:Invent 2020

We have some great content for getting started, scaling, and managing your Amazon AppStream 2.0 and Amazon WorkSpaces deployments from re:Invent this year. See our sessions below!

Getting Started with Amazon AppStream 2.0 and Amazon WorkSpaces | Carla Blickensderfer (AWS)
Scaling and Optimizing Amazon AppStream 2.0 | Gaurav ‘G’ Kapoor (JnJ) and Navi Magee (AWS)
Enhance, Expedite and Simplify the provisioning and management of your Amazon EUC solutions through automation | Max Stringer (Pfizer) and Greg Lavigne (AWS)
Amazon WorkSpaces Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Best Practices | Phil Persson (AWS)
Deliver a secure digital workplace for your customers | Kristin Escobar (AWS)