Amazon Workspaces

Many organizations are switching to Cloud Workspaces where every employee gets a virtual Workspace Desktop on the Cloud and even a basic physical machine like a Tablet, Chromebook is sufficient to access the Workspace using a Browser. This reduces the burden of the IT department to provide high-power high-efficiency expensive machines to each user since the major workload remains on the centralized server.

Amazon Workspaces is a fully managed, secure Desktop-as-a-Service solution offered by AWS. We can quickly provision either a Windows or a Linux Workspace in a few minutes and also offers the scalability to provision thousands of Workspaces to users across the Globe. Pricing is also flexible, and payments can be made either Monthly or Hourly and only for the workspaces that are launched. Amazon Workspaces eliminates the complexity of managing hardware inventory, OS Updates, Patches and the maintenance of the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI).

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  • Centrally Managed Desktop-as-a-Service: Amazon Workspaces enables organizations to reduce their upfront capital investment for procuring, deploying and managing VDI. The Workspaces Admin can also centrally manage the VDI Environment by pushing timely OS Updates, Patches and also create persistent solid-state storage for the VDI Machines. This reduces the overall complexity of maintaining Organization infrastructure in terms of Security, Network management, resource management.
  • Security & Encryption: By utilizing Amazon Workspace, the organizational data can be kept safe as it is not stored on the end user’s machine, but rather on the Cloud VDI workspace or on the o-premises network depending on where the Workspace is provisioned. The Admin can also pre-configure as to which client device can access the Workspaces by IP Address filtering, client device type or through the use of Digital Certificates. This ensures there are a strict Access Control and SOD (Segregation of Duties) among the group of End-users. Workspaces also natively integrate with AWS KMS (Key Management Service) for encryption of the storage volumes ensuring the data is encrypted with a master key in transit and at rest.
  • Streaming Protocols: Amazon Workspaces uses protocols to deliver users a secure and high-quality desktop streaming experience. Amazon analyses the hosted Desktop, network latency, and user’s device to select the compression and decompression algorithms which is basically video encoding of the Cloud Desktop rendering and transmitting as a stream of pixels to the user’s device. So, all the heavy-lifting and the processing happens on the VDI and data is streamed. Amazon user the PC-over-IP (PCoIP) protocol from Teradici by default for delivering the desktop stream. We now also have the option to switch to Amazon Workspaces Protocol (WSP) which is currently in Beta.
  • Bring your Own Licenses: We also have the flexibility to bring or migrate Organization’s existing Windows Licenses to Amazon Workspaces and run them on dedicated hardware on the Cloud. This can reduce the overall Cost of Ownership by 16% of each workspace as there is a price of 4$ per month windows license cost for the workspace. In order to bring our own license, we also need to meet certain criteria and licensing requirements set by Microsoft like running at least 200 Amazon Workspaces in one AWS region every month.
  • Active Directory Integration: We also have the provision to integrate the Organization’s Microsoft Active Directory with Amazon Workspaces. This enables the end-users to log in to their workspace with their existing Domain credentials. With this integration, the Admin can also apply Group Policies, manage and deploy updates to the Software and tools on the Workspace.
  • Connect from Anywhere, Anytime: With Amazon Workspaces, the End users have the freedom to access and manage their Workspace from anywhere and on any network as long as they are connected to the Internet. Any device can be used as Windows, Linux or Mac Laptops, Desktops, Android or iOS Smartphones and whether Chrome or Mozilla Browser is supported. The streaming protocol intelligently analyses the network and bandwidth on which the user is trying to access the Workspace and automatically adjusts the streaming to give the best possible experience even when the user is on a Coffee Shop, Airport or Public Wi-Fi network.

Difference between Amazon Workspaces & Amazon AppStream 2.0:

Amazon AppStream 2.0 is mainly for streaming Legacy Enterprise Applications or Desktop streaming for a group of users. All the users who have been assigned a particular stack will get the same Desktop or pre-configured list of Applications and will not have the Admin rights to install or remove the applications. This set up is more suited for provisioning a pre-configured machine with all Applications to a large group of users across the world. Although there is an option for the persistent and temporary storage of user data, the emphasis is on delivering the Applications to end-users.

Amazon Workspaces is generally used for provisioning a virtual Cloud Machine (Workspace) for each user. The user has the freedom to install, store and customize the machine based on the needs. The Base operating system, machine specification and inbuilt applications can be the same for a group of users, but they can customize it later based on their requirement. This is more suited for delivering the entire user workspace on the cloud via Streaming protocols. All the data stored in the workspace is persistent for every user and requires no extra configuration like in AppStream 2.0

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