Amazon WorkSpaces Streaming Protocol (beta)

Amazon WorkSpaces Streaming Protocol (WSP) is a cloud-native streaming protocol that enables a consistent user experience when accessing your WorkSpaces across global distances and unreliable networks. WSP also enables additional features such as bi-directional video. As a cloud-native protocol, WSP delivers feature and performance enhancements without manual updates on your WorkSpaces.

Today, streaming protocols run as applications on users' hosted desktops. These protocols analyze the hosted desktop, network, and user’s device to select compression and decompression algorithms (codecs) that encode a rendering of the user's desktop and transmit it as a pixel stream to the user's device. Streaming protocols use many different codecs to deliver an interactive experience, because codecs are optimized for different scenarios. For example, some codecs are better at showing motion than displaying text, and others are better over low-bandwidth 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.

Please note

WSP is available in beta1 and will be continuously improved over the coming months. WSP is available at no additional charge, but you will be be charged the standard rate for WSP enabled WorkSpaces. As a beta, WSP should not be used for production workloads.

Benefits

Cloud-native protocol

WSP decouples the streaming protocol from the WorkSpace. This lets WSP offload metric analysis, codec selection, and encoding from the WorkSpace to specialized microservices on AWS optimized for global distances and unreliable networks. 

Consistent user experience

WSP adapts its codecs in response to real-time changes in each user's session. This lets WSP provide a consistent user experience across global distances, even from the unreliable networks often found in conference halls, public transportation, and crowded cafes.

Simplified operations

WSP is improved by quick and independent microservice enhancements in the cloud. This enables frequent feature and performance enhancements that require fewer updates to your WorkSpaces.

This lets WSP quickly and independently improve each of these processes in the cloud. 
This lets WSP quickly and independently improve each of these processes in the cloud. 

How it works

How WSP works

Each user's session starts by reporting metrics on the user's device and network conditions. These metrics are analyzed with the actions taken on the user's WorkSpace to select the appropriate codecs. WSP processes the codecs to compress and transmit a pixel stream of the WorkSpace down to the user's device. WSP then reports the performance of the pixel stream, network conditions, and user's device back to WSP to maintain consistent performance across the user's session. 

Getting started

You can get started with the WSP beta in US East (N. Virginia), US West (Oregon), EU (Ireland), and Asia Pacific (Tokyo) regions. Select a WSP-Beta Windows 10 Value, Standard, Performance, Power, or PowerPro bundle when creating a WorkSpace. Then, download and install the beta client for Windows to access your WSP WorkSpaces.

WSP documentation
 
Download the WSP documentation to get started
 
WSP Windows Client (beta)
 
Download the WSP Client for Windows 7, 8, and 10
 

FAQs

Q. Which types of WorkSpaces are supported for the WSP beta?
A. WSP is available for both license-included (Windows Server 2016) and BYOL Windows 10-based WorkSpaces on all bundle types except for Graphics and GraphicsPro.

Q. What operating systems will the beta WorkSpaces client application be supported on?
A. Beta clients are available for Windows (Windows 7, 8, and 10) operating systems. For Windows 7, you will need to install .net.

Q. Which Regions are supported for the WSP beta?
A. US East (N. Virginia), US West (Oregon), EU (Ireland), and Asia Pacific (Tokyo).

Q. How will billing work for my WSP WorkSpaces?
A. WSP WorkSpaces will be charged at the same rate as other WorkSpaces in your account(s).

Q. What are the steps needed to deploy BYOL WorkSpaces on WSP?
A. Make sure your AWS account is enabled for BYOL in the Regions where the WSP beta is being offered. After your account is enabled for BYOL, you can deploy BYOL WorkSpaces with the WSP bundle option through the AWS console.

Q. Do you have any recommendations for how I should set up my beta environment for evaluation?
A. We suggest setting up your WSP beta users in a separate directory for the duration of the beta. The WSP beta is to be used to internal testing only and production workloads may not be run on WSP WorkSpaces during the beta. We ask that you terminate your WSP-based WorkSpaces at the end of the beta period.

Q. Can the same user have both a PCoIP and a WSP WorkSpace?
A. Yes, this is possible, as long as a separate directory is provisioned for that user. A single user cannot have both a PCoIP and a WSP WorkSpace in the same directory. However, a single directory can have a mix of both PCoIP and WSP based WorkSpaces users.

Q. Can I switch between the PCoIP and WSP protocols on a WorkSpace?
A. No. One streaming protocol is selected when a WorkSpace is created. You cannot switch a WorkSpace to a different streaming protocol after the WorkSpace has been created.

Q. What happens to my beta WSP WorkSpaces after the protocol is generally available?
A. Your WSP WorkSpaces need to be terminated at the end of the beta period. You might want to back up your users’ data prior to termination, and if you created a dedicated directory for beta testing, you may also want to delete this directory to save on potential Directory Services charges. In addition, the beta version of the WorkSpaces client application will no longer be supported. All beta clients must be upgraded to the GA release version at that time.

Q. How will WSP be updated during the beta?
A. By participating the in the WSP beta there will be a weekly maintenance period where all participants are upgraded to the latest version of the beta. As a part of maintenance we will reboot the WSP beta WorkSpace and the next time an attempt to log in occurs the client will prompt the user to install an update. It is recommended to save prior to these maintenance windows to avoid any lost work. Failure to install the update will block the user from logging into the WorkSpace. This is to insure all beta participants are using the most up to date features at all times. The maintenance window depends on the region you connect from, here is a list:

  • US East (N. Virginia) – Wednesdays at 8PM EST
  • US West (Oregon) – Wednesdays at 5PM PST
  • ASIA PACIFIC (TOKYO) – Thursdays at 4 AM JST
  • EU (IRELAND) – Wednesdays at 10PM GMT

Q. What are the public IP ranges I need to whitelist to enable access to WSP WorkSpaces?
B. You will need to open port 4172. We also use a small range of Amazon EC2 public IP addresses for WSP gateway servers, as listed in the table below. This range enables you to set more finely grained firewall policies for devices that access WSP WorkSpaces.

  • US East (N. Virginia) – 3.227.4.0/22
  • US West (Oregon) – 34.223.96.0/22
  • ASIA PACIFIC (TOKYO) – 3.114.164.0/22
  • EU (IRELAND)–  3.248.176.0/22[RG5]

Q. Will WSP WorkSpaces be included in the monthly uptime SLA calculation?
A. No. As a reminder, WSP beta software is to be used to internal testing only. Production workloads may not be run on WSP WorkSpaces during the beta.

Q. Where should I send feedback or how can I get additional support?
A. If you encounter any issues or want to provide feedback about the protocol, contact AWS Support.

Service terms

This feature is provided as a beta release and is governed by your Agreement with AWS and the AWS Service Terms. In particular, please note that your participation in this beta is subject to the Beta Service Participation sections of the AWS Service Terms. Note that the functionality of the beta service is subject to change prior to public release.