Amazon Web Services targets 'legacy' tech giants with WorkSpaces

The number of IBM ads near Amazon's cloud summit has sparked plenty of conversations already.

LAS VEGAS---Amazon Web Services is filling in what might have been seen as a gap before: virtualization.

However, how big a gap that might have been might be debatable based on comments made by AWS senior vice president Andy Jassy when he introduced the new product on Wednesday morning at AWS re:invent.

Defending that it was inspired primarily by customer demand, Jassy also framed the new Amazon WorkSpaces as another clean breakaway from "legacy" tech hardware and software providers.

That term, "legacy," was batted around by Jassy repeatedly during the keynote, insinuating an insult more than anything else.

"The idea of virtual desktops is something people have been working on for a long time," Jassy reflected. But he admitted that virtual desktops have never taken off just right, arguing the business is too costly and difficult to manage.

Thus, Jassy touted WorkSpaces as a way to "live that dream of centrally managing desktops" -- but without hardware or virtualization software.

Accessible via desktop and mobile browsers, WorkSpaces supports integration with Microsoft Active Directory as well as software licenses from both AWS as well as any that the customer wishes to bring over.

Cloud customers can sign up for a limited preview starting today. WorkSpaces will be priced on a monthly basis with Amazon promising no "long-term commitments."

A standard plan with one virtual CPU and 50 gigabytes of storage starts at $35 per month. Double that costs $60 per month for a Performance plan. The add-ons for MS Office and anti-virus protection runs for $15 monthly.

Continuing his rant against legacy providers, Jassy boasted that WorkSpaces costs "half the price of typical virtual desktop infrastructure currently available."


Nevertheless, Jassy refused to name names. Instead, he simply brought up a photo of large shuttle bus with a big blue ad plastered on it. The advertisement read, "IBM Cloud hosts 30 percent more top websites than anyone in the world."

Jassy, along with some members of the audience, chuckled and questioned why IBM even needs to defend this.

Regardless, the number of IBM ads alone between Las Vegas McCarran International Airport and Amazon's cloud summit at the Sands Convention Center on the strip has sparked plenty of murmurs and conversations here already.