Amazon AWS re:Invent: VDI Workspaces, App Stream, Partner Updates

Amazon (AMZN) Web Services WorkSpaces announcement, a planned desktop-as-a-service offering offering access to Microsoft Office on iPads, has created lots of buzz among MSPs this week. Here’s a round up of the WorkSpaces announcement and other news (App streaming, partner program updates) from re:Invent.

Jessica Davis

November 14, 2013

4 Min Read
Amazon SVP Andy Jassy says virtual desktops were the most frequent request the company got from AWS customers
Amazon SVP Andy Jassy says virtual desktops were the most frequent request the company got from AWS customers.

Amazon (AMZN) Web Services WorkSpaces announcement, a planned desktop-as-a-service offering, has created lots of buzz among MSPs this week, even as many converged at ConnectWise’s IT Nation and not Amazon’s AWS re:Invent. For those who haven’t perfected cloning themselves to enable attendance at both events, here’s a round up of the WorkSpaces announcement and other news (App streaming, partner program updates) from re:Invent.

First, the virtual desktop announcement. The AWS WorkSpaces service, announced by Amazon SVP of Web Services Andy Jassy during a keynote at AWS re:Invent is described as a fully managed desktop computing service in the cloud, offered at what Amazon says is less than half the cost of most traditional virtual desktop infrastructure solutions.

WorkSpaces Pricing

Services are offered in four tiers, Standard, Standard Plus, Premium and Premium Plus. The Standard versions offer one virtual CPU with 3.75 GB of memory and 50 GB of user storage. The premium versions offer 2 vCPU, 7.5 GB memory and 100 GB of user storage. The Plus versions to Standard and Premium add Microsoft Office Pro 2010 to the included applications. All packages have Trend Micro Anti-Virus and utilities including Adobe Reader, IE 9, Firefox 7, 7-Zip, Adobe flash and JRE. Prices are as follows on a per month basis: Standard, $35; Standard Plus, $50; Premium, $60; Premium Plus $75. These prices are offered on a monthly, pay-as-you-go basis, with no upfront charges.

Here’s Amazon’s pitch: “By migrating enterprise desktops to the cloud, Amazon WorkSpaces eliminates both the up-front investment and the ongoing management of infrastructure while still offering all the security and efficiency of a centralized model. For a low monthly fee, Amazon WorkSpaces provides a complete cloud-based desktop computing service including compute, persistent storage, and software applications.”

Gene Farrell, GM of Amazon Workspaces, said in a statement that virtual cloud desktop service has been the most frequently requested new service from customers.

Amazon said that WorkSpaces can integrate with existing Active Directory implementations, letting end users access their Amazon WorkSpace with their existing credentials.

Beyond the basic suites of applications available, customers can choose to install their own applications.

Can I Edit the PowerPoint on My iPad?

But the big thing that many users will like is the ability to access their desktops via mobile devices including Apple (AAPL) iPad, or any other iOS or Android tablet or smart phone.

The Amazon WorkSpace client will be available for free download from the Amazon WorkSpaces desktop client download page, the Amazon Appstore for Android, Google Play and the iTunes App Store, Amazon said.

Amazon’s VDI implementation includes technology licensed from Teradici and uses the PCoIP (PC-over-IP) protocol for compression, encryption and encoding. Amazon said that the WorkSpaces Sync client lets users sync documents between their Amazon WorkSpace and other computers ensuring the greatest access to documents.

A limited preview is available here: And be sure to check out additional coverage of the WorkSpaces announcement over at TalkinCloud

Heavy Duty Streaming with AppStream

So what else? Amazon also announced AppStream, a new service to give developers the ability to stream resource intensive applications including 3D games or interactive HD applications from the cloud.

Amazon said content is rendered in the cloud, but the end-user is still gets a responsive, fluid and high-definition experience on their device. Amazon AppStream allows developers the flexibility to stream their entire application, or only the parts of their application that need additional cloud resources. More information about the new service is available here

AWS Partner Network Improvements: New Competencies, Lead Gen, Sales Training

Amazon also announced some updates to its AWS Partner Network, including its growth to 8,000 partners, and an AWS marketplace that now offers more than 1,100 software products for the AWS Cloud. As we’ve previously reported, AWS has just slightly under 600 partners in the Managed Services competency.

New competencies announced at AWS re:Invent this week include those for Microsoft Exchange, SAP and Oracle applications.

Other partner program updates include the following:

A new Advanced Channel Partner designation that gives access to expanded technical support and content

APN Partner Leads, a new pilot program that will provide leads and opportunities to a select number of APN’s top consulting partners.

APN Business Development Training Series provides partners with the training and Info on business development opportunities with partners.

APN Market Development Funding enables select technology and consulting partners to apply for funding to support their market development activities.

APN Partner Support Center programmatically connects partners with the AWS staff to answer questions and help them gain a better understanding of APN’s benefits and resources.

Expansion of APN Reference Implementations & Test Drives makes it easier for partners to provide test software for customers and deploy popular software into production.

That’s a lot. And a lot of questions remain for MSPs, like whether there is a play for them in the WorkSpaces business model or not. Do you think you are more likely or less likely to partner with Amazon now? (Please let us know in the comments).


Read more about:


About the Author(s)

Jessica Davis

Jessica Davis is the former Content Director for MSPmentor. She spent her career covering the intersection of business and technology.  She's also served as Editor in Chief at Channel Insider and held senior editorial roles at InfoWorld and Electronic News.

Free Newsletters for the Channel
Register for Your Free Newsletter Now

You May Also Like