Amazon WorkSpaces offers you an easy way to provide a secure, managed, cloud-based virtual desktop experience to your end-users. Unlike traditional on-premises Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solutions, you don’t have to worry about procuring, deploying, and managing a complex environment – Amazon WorkSpaces takes care of the heavy lifting and provides a fully managed service. With Amazon WorkSpaces, you can deliver a high quality portable desktop, and applications, to your users on the device of their choice.
Whether you are managing traditional desktops or an on-premises solution for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), both of these approaches require significant capital investment and are often difficult to deploy and manage. Using a cloud-based virtual desktop environment eliminates the need for up-front investment and ongoing management of infrastructure, providing you with an easy, cost-effective way to bring a secure and broadly accessible desktop experience to your users.
For a low monthly fee, Amazon WorkSpaces provides a complete cloud-based virtual desktop service including compute, persistent storage, and applications. Your users get a better experience than a traditional desktop with more functionality, and you get a simpler way to provision desktops for users at half the cost of an on-premises VDI solution. Please see our TCO Comparison: Amazon WorkSpaces and traditional Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) blog post for more information on cost comparison.
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To get started, you simply select from a choice of WorkSpaces bundles that offer different hardware and software options, and launch the number of WorkSpaces that you require. As soon as the WorkSpaces are ready, users receive an email giving them instructions on how to download the WorkSpaces client and connect to their WorkSpace. Amazon WorkSpaces provides users a persistent desktop experience that can be accessed from any Windows or Mac computer, Chromebook, iPad, Kindle Fire, or Android tablet. The user’s applications and data stay the same regardless of which device they use, so they can easily switch between devices without losing their work.
Amazon WorkSpaces provides you with the choice of creating a standalone, managed directory for users who will use WorkSpaces, or you can integrate with your existing Active Directory environment so that your users can use their current credentials to obtain seamless access to corporate resources. This integration works via a secure hardware VPN connection to your on-premises network using Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) or with AWS Direct Connect. You can manage your Amazon WorkSpaces with the existing tools you are using for your on-premises desktops to maintain full administrative control.
Amazon WorkSpaces offers a choice of service bundles providing different hardware and software options to meet your needs. You can choose from the Standard or Performance family of bundles that offer different CPU, memory, and storage resources, based on the requirements of your users. If you would like to launch WorkSpaces with more software already pre-installed (e.g., Microsoft Office, Trend Micro Anti-Virus, etc.), you should choose the Value Plus, Standard Plus or Performance Plus options. If you don’t need the applications offered in those bundles or you would like to use software licenses for some of the applications in the Plus options that you’ve already paid for, we recommend the Value, Standard or Performance bundles. Whichever option you choose, you can create a custom image from that WorkSpace to create your own bundle.
• 1 vCPU, 2 GB memory
• 10 GB storage
• Utilities software bundle
• 2 vCPU, 4 GB memory
• 50 GB storage
• Utilities software bundle
• 2 vCPU, 7.5 GB memory
• 100 GB storage
• Utilities software bundle
All WorkSpaces bundles provide a Windows 7 desktop experience to users and include the following utilities: Internet Explorer 11, Firefox, and 7-Zip.
When you choose the Plus bundles, you will have the option to select either Microsoft Office Professional 2010 or Microsoft Office Professional 2013. Microsoft Office Professional includes Microsoft Excel, Microsoft OneNote, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Publisher, and Microsoft Access.
You can also install any other software that you already own licenses for in your WorkSpaces at any time.
You can now bring your existing Windows 7 and Windows 10 Desktop licenses to Amazon WorkSpaces and run the Windows 7 and Windows 10 Desktop operating systems on hardware that is physically dedicated to you. To be eligible, your organization must meet the licensing requirements set by Microsoft, and you must commit to running at least 200 Amazon WorkSpaces in a given AWS region each month. Eligible organizations will be entitled to a discount of $4 per WorkSpace per month, for a savings of up to 16%. To learn more about this licensing option, please see the Amazon WorkSpaces FAQ.
Provisioning desktops with Amazon WorkSpaces is easy. Whether you choose to launch one or many WorkSpaces, all you need to do is to choose the WorkSpaces bundle that best meets the needs of your users, and the number of WorkSpaces that you would like to launch. Once the WorkSpaces are ready, users receive an email informing them where they can download the relevant client and connect to their WorkSpace. There is no up-front commitment with Amazon WorkSpaces; you simply pay a monthly charge for each WorkSpace that you launch. And, when you’re finished with a WorkSpace, you can easily delete it.
Amazon WorkSpaces enables you to deliver a high quality desktop experience to your end-users as well as help meet compliance and security policy requirements. With Amazon WorkSpaces, your organization’s data is not sent to or stored on end-user devices. The PC-over-IP (PCoIP) remote display protocol used by WorkSpaces provides the familiar desktop experience to the user while the data remains in the AWS cloud or in your on-premises environment.
Amazon WorkSpaces integrates with the AWS Key Management Service (KMS) to provide you the ability to encrypt the storage volumes of WorkSpaces using KMS customer master keys (CMK). You now have the option to encrypt the storage drives at launch of a new WorkSpace, ensuring that data in transit and at rest, along with snapshots created from the volume, are all encrypted.
Amazon WorkSpaces lets you integrate with your organization’s Active Directory environment by configuring an Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) with either a hardware VPN connection or with AWS Direct Connect. Once configured, your end users will be able to use their existing credentials to access corporate resources, and you’ll be able to manage your WorkSpaces with existing tools just like any other desktop in your organization. You can perform various tasks such as deploying software or applying Group Policies to manage your users’ WorkSpaces, including configuration options that restrict users’ ability to use local storage on their devices. Workspaces also integrates with your existing RADIUS server to enable multi-factor authentication (MFA).
Amazon WorkSpaces provides each user with access to varying amounts of persistent storage in the AWS cloud based on the bundle you select. In addition to being able to store user data on a 'user' storage volume attached to the WorkSpace, the free Amazon WorkDocs Sync client lets WorkSpaces users choose a folder to sync between their WorkSpace, Amazon WorkDocs, and other computers. This means that users always have access to their data regardless of the device that they are using. Data synced to Amazon WorkDocs is encrypted in transit and at rest. Other data that users store on the 'user' volume attached to the WorkSpace is automatically backed up to Amazon S3 on a regular basis. Amazon S3 is designed for 99.999999999% durability of objects, providing you with peace of mind about your users’ data.
Amazon WorkSpaces clients are available for Windows and Mac computers, Chromebooks, iPads, Kindle Fire tablets, and Android tablets. When WorkSpaces are provisioned for users, they will get an email containing details on how they can download the clients. The WorkSpaces Windows, Mac, and Chromebooks clients provide users with full access to their desktop and includes support for multiple monitors, audio, and video.
The WorkSpaces clients for iPad, Kindle Fire tablets, and Android tablets have a number of features designed to provide users with a tablet-optimized desktop experience. Users can show or hide an on-screen keyboard by double-tapping on the screen with two fingers. The client provides a touch-based mouse interface so that interacting with desktop applications is as easy as using a traditional mouse. Single and double clicking requires a simple tap or double tap, or a two fingered tap for a right click. Users can scroll vertically using a two-fingered touch and pinch to zoom. A slide-out radial control can be accessed by a thumb swipe from the left of the screen and gives users access to a variety of commands. With a Kindle Fire, or Android tablet, users can connect a keyboard or touch pad to have a laptop experience with their tablet WorkSpace.
To provide users with a secure, high quality experience, Amazon WorkSpaces incorporates PC-over-IP (PCoIP) technology from Teradici. The PCoIP remote display protocol is used between users’ devices and their WorkSpaces. This protocol compresses, encrypts, and encodes the users’ desktop computing experience and transmits ‘pixels only’ across any standard IP network to users’ stateless PCs, laptops, mobile devices, and zero clients.
Your data never leaves your data center or the AWS cloud. The PCoIP protocol enables support for high resolution, full frame rate graphics and HD media, multiple large displays, and high definition audio, all connected over the corporate network or Internet.
For a complete list of zero clients that are compatible with Amazon WorkSpaces please visit the device finder here. (hosted by Teradici)