Amazon brings desktop as a service to Europe

Amazon Web Services WorkSpaces, which allows firms to deploy Windows 7 virtual images to desktops, laptops and tablets, is now available from AWS' EU datacentre in Dublin.
Written by Nick Heath, Contributor

Amazon Web Services has launched its WorkSpaces desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) offering in Europe.

WorkSpaces allows businesses to deploy virtual Windows 7 operating systems to desktop, laptop, and mobile devices. The service was made fully available from datacentres serving two US regions in March this year, and is now available out of an AWS facility in Dublin, Ireland, serving Europe.

VMware also launched a public DaaS offering, VMware Horizon DaaS, in the US earlier this year. The VMware service can serve a range of desktops, including Windows XP, 7 and 8, and pricing starts at $35 per month per user for a full Windows client.

Desktops are available in standard and performance configurations. Standard configurations rely on one vCPU, 3.75GiB of memory and 50GB of persistent user storage, while performance configurations run on two vCPUs, 7.5GB of memory and 100GB of persistent user storage. Persistent storage is backed up to Amazon S3 on a regular basis.

WorkSpaces desktops include a variety of software as standard and access to files and other resources on the corporate intranet. All desktops include Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash, Firefox, Internet Explorer 9, 7-ZIP, the Java Runtime Environment, and other utilities. Standard and Performance desktops are also available in a 'plus' option, which bundles in Microsoft Office Professional and Trend Micro Worry-Free Business Security Services.

Pricing per-user, per-month for WorkSpaces in the EU region is $37 for a standard desktop, $52 for standard plus, $64 for a performance desktop and $79 for performance plus.

WorkSpaces allows organisations to integrate desktops with Active Directory so that users can use their existing credentials to access corporate resources. Organisations can configure an Amazon Virtual Private Cloud with a hardware VPN connection to the on-premises environment, or provision a dedicated connection with AWS Direct Connect.

Amazon WorkSpaces uses Teradici's PCoIP protocol to compress, encrypt and encode data sent between user devices and WorkSpaces virtual desktops.

Amazon says "pixels only" are sent between the virtual desktop and user devices, which it says "means customer data never leaves" the customer data centre or the AWS cloud.

Desktops can be served to stateless zero or thin clients, PCs, laptops, and mobile devices.

The PCoIP protocol also enables support for high resolution video and graphics, multiple large displays, high definition audio.

AWS is targeting the service at businesses looking to serve Windows desktops to mobile devices — such as Android tablets and iPads, to remote workers and as a way of providing standardised secure or temporary desktops.

To use Amazon WorkSpaces in the EU Region, customers will need an AWS account, a PC or Mac to run the WorkSpaces client, and internet connectivity. Customers can also run the mobile version of the WorkSpaces client on iPad, Kindle Fire HDX, and Android tablets.

Read more on Amazon Web Services

Editorial standards