Linux: AWS now offers Ubuntu virtual desktops for developers and engineers

Amazon Web Services now offers Ubuntu virtual desktops from $23 a month.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer
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Amazon Web Services has added an Ubuntu option for customers that use Amazon Workspaces to distribute virtual desktops. 

Ubuntu joins AWS' Microsoft Windows and AWS' own Amazon Linux options on Amazon Workspaces. The Ubuntu desktop is aimed squarely at developers and data-scientists.

As AWS points out, a 2020 HackerEarth developer survey found it was preferred by 66% of professional developers, making it more widely used than Windows (61%).   

"Starting today, you can also provision Ubuntu desktops for your developers, engineers, or data scientists. This allows virtual desktop users to have more choices and to embrace new categories of workloads. It also gives virtual desktop administrators a consistent experience whether you are managing Windows or Linux-based desktops for your workforce. You can now have one process and set of tools to manage the majority of your desktop operating systems," AWS' Sébastien Stormacq said in a blog post Sept. 29.

Workspace pricing is either per month, for users who primarily use Workspaces as their main desktop, or per hour for those in your workforce making occasional use of the workspace. Ubuntu Workspace prices start at $23 per month and per desktop or 19 cents per hour.

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The Ubuntu bundle on via Amazon WorkSpaces is available from $23 a month with one CPU, 2GB memory, and an 80GB root volume/10GB user volume. Options go all the way up to eight CPUs with 32GB memory, starting at $125 a month. The Windows Workspaces start at $25 a month.

"Many developers or DevOps engineers have a battery of scripts, tools, or libraries well tested on their Ubuntu desktops or laptops. Providing Ubuntu desktop on Workspaces gives developers and engineers a familiar and compatible environment allowing them to work from anywhere, with access to a wealth of open-source tools and libraries in cutting-edge fields like data science, AI/ML, cloud, and IoT," said Stormacq.

AWS' Ubuntu offering uses version 22.04 LTS (aka Jammy Jellyfish). All Ubuntu WorkSpaces get Ubuntu Pro, which includes support and security patching for 10 years. 

Ubuntu 22.04 for the desktop, released earlier this year, has standard support for five years, meaning it's good until April 2027. Canonical provides essential support, such as security fixes, for 10 years. The Ubuntu Workspaces offer comes preinstalled with AWS command line interface (CLI) and SDK.

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At the moment, users can only connect using the Windows or web-based Workspaces clients. AWS plans to enable connections from Linux and MacOS clients soon. 

AWS will also adding the GPU-based Graphics.g4dn and GraphicsPro.g4dn bundles in the coming weeks. These instances feature NVIDIA GPUs and custom Intel Cascade Lake CPUs. The two GPU bundles will cost $537 and $959 a month, respectively.  

Ubuntu Workspaces are available in all AWS Regions where Workspaces is available, except the China Ningxia region. Amazon WorkSpaces is available some of the Availability Zones for each supported Region.  

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