Amazon's AppStream can now stream any Windows application

Amazon expands support for its streaming service that targets games developers to any Windows application.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has updated AppStream to allow any Windows application to be accessed through a browser.

Besides offloading graphics workloads to AppStream so that less powerful devices can access heavy duty applications, AWS developers can now use AppStream to deliver any Windows application to non-Windows devices such as FireOS, Android, Chrome, iOS, Mac OS X, as well as Windows devices.

"You can now stream just about any existing Microsoft Windows application without having to make any code changes," AWS evangelist Jeff Barr wrote.

The example he offers is NVIDIA's Design Garage for Windows 7, but it could equally be any CAD, 3D modeling, simulation, games, video and photo-editing software, medical imaging, and life sciences Windows applications.

After setting up the application in AppStream, an end-user can run the application on any OS that supports Google's Chrome browser.

Amazon launched AppStream last year alongside its virtual desktop service, WorkSpaces, its cloud desktop that allowed included bundles of Office, antivirus, Internet Explorer and Adobe Reader.

AppStream cateres for any application, in particular of the 2D and 3D variety that would benefit from its GPU instance G2.2xlarge, based on NVIDIA GPUs along with 15GB RAM and 60GB of solid state disk.

AWS positions the service as a different way of delivering software, and one that cuts out the need for end users having to wait for hefty downloads to complete. Besides that, developers can protect their proprietary code from pirates.

"On the development side, running the remote side of the application in a single, well-understood, cloud-based environment can dramatically shrink the size of the test matrix. The client application is relatively simple, with responsibility limited to authenticating users, decoding video streams, and relaying local events to AppStream. Because the run-time environment is well-understood and under your control, issues related to libraries, DLLs, and video drivers are no longer an issue," Barr notes.

The one catch is that AppStream is only available in the US East (Northern Virginia) and Asia Pacific (Tokyo) regions. Pricing for the service is based on total "streamed hours" per month, which costs $0.83 an hour. 

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