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AWS Previews Amazon WorkSpaces Core Cloud Desktop, Partners with Zoom

Amazon’s WorkSpaces Core APIs are designed to bridge on-premises VDI infrastructure to the cloud.

Jeffrey Schwartz

September 30, 2022

3 Min Read
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AWS is looking to expand its Amazon WorkSpaces desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) portfolio with a new managed infrastructure-only cloud VDI offering. The company previewed Amazon WorkSpaces Core on Thursday during its AWS End-User Computing Innovation Day.

Amazon WorkSpaces Core consists of APIs designed to bridge on-premises VDI infrastructure to the AWS cloud as a managed service. The WorkSpaces Core APIs enable integration with the AWS cloud to scale existing software. Notably, VDI software providers can integrate their offerings with Workspaces Core to extend their desktop images to the AWS cloud.

According to AWS, organizations can scale their existing VDI infrastructure to supported AWS regions to reduce latency and boost performance. Customers can opt for various hardware configurations, from basic CPU instances to GPU-based workstation environments.

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AWS’ Muneer Mirza

Muneer Mirza, general manager of AWS’ end-user computing business, described Amazon WorkSpaces Core during Thursday’s virtual event. Mirza explained that organizations could extend their existing VDI management consoles to expand their workspaces with Amazon WorkSpaces. “You get that benefit of continuity of what you’ve been doing on-prem with the cloud-based economics and security and productivity that comes with it,” Mirza said.

Integration with VMware Horizon

Longtime partner VMware is among those that plan to use the Amazon WorkSpaces Core APIs. VMware said it would use the Amazon WorkSpaces Core APIs to provide more extensive integration with VMware Horizon. At the recent VMware Explore conference in San Francisco, VMware demonstrated how to deploy desktop applications. Using the Amazon Workspace Core APIs, VMware claims it will be able to integrate Horizon and Amazon WorkSpaces more extensively.

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VMware’s Shawn Bass

Shawn Bass, vice president and CTO of VMware’s end-user computing business, said that despite the two companies’ collaboration, they did little on the virtual desktop side. “But as we look towards this continued hybrid workforce of the future, we see that customers have to do more with less,” Bass said during Thursday’s event. “We need to do is meet customers where they are; we need to offer them choice and flexibility.”

Integrating the APIs will let VMware extend the Horizon experience and its Blast display protocol to Amazon WorkSpaces. “The best part is that customers can manage their virtual desktops and apps on-premises and or in the cloud in an easily easy and seamless manner,” Bass said.

Zoom Partnership

AWS also announced a partnership with Zoom to improve to provide enhanced Zoom meeting performance. The two companies are working together to address the difficulty in rerouting videoconferencing traffic to endpoints more directly.

A new Amazon WorkSpaces Extension SDK bypasses virtual desktops to reduce latency and provide higher quality sessions. The package includes a VDI client, host installer and Zoom Media Plugin. AWS claims it securely offloads video encoding/decoding, bypassing the VDI infrastructure, and communicates directly to Zoom.

According to AWS, the Zoom desktop renders the same functionality but less latency. “We’re going to provide that very, very high-fidelity audio video experience seamlessly as part of our workspace,” Mirza said. AWS said partners looking to evaluate the beta must reach out to their AWS or Zoom account teams.

Ubuntu Desktop on Amazon WorkSpaces

AWS also announced the release of the first Ubuntu Desktop for Amazon Workspaces. Ubuntu is a popular desktop option for developers, data scientists and engineers. Until now, AWS only offered virtual Windows or Amazon Linux desktops with Amazon WorkSpaces.

 

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Jeffrey Schwartz or connect with him on LinkedIn.

 

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About the Author(s)

Jeffrey Schwartz

Jeffrey Schwartz has covered the IT industry for nearly three decades, most recently as editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine and executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner. Prior to that, he held various editing and writing roles at CommunicationsWeek, InternetWeek and VARBusiness (now CRN) magazines, among other publications.

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