Amazon announces Desktop-as-a-Service offering

Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced at their 2013 re:Invent  summit the company will start a Desktop-as-a-Service (Daas) offering. Amazon WorkSpaces as the service is called is a fully managed Windows 7 experience which will  be available in four different bundles named Standard, Standard Plus, Performance and Performance Plus.

The Standard bundle offers 1 vCPU, 3.75 GiB of memory, and 50 GB of persistent user storage. All of the bundles include Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash, Firefox, Internet Explorer 9, and 7-Zip, among other utilities. The Plus bundles also offer Microsoft Office.

Pricing starts at $ 35 per month for Standard to $ 75 per month for the Performance Plus bundle. The service is currently available as a Limited Preview. Amazon did not provide information on a general availability date.

Many large US IT-companies are offering or preparing to offer a DaaS service. In October VMware announced it has acquired DaaS provider Desktone. Pricing is $35-40 per user per month. Microsoft is rumoured to be working on a DaaS platform named Mohoro running on their public cloud platform Windows Azure.

WorkSpaces offers a full virtual desktop with a Windows 7 user interface. Under the hood Windows Server 2008 is  running. This because Microsoft licensing forbides to use Windows desktop operating systems in a multi-tenant hosting configuration. The desktop can be used with various devices including laptops, Kindles, iPads and Android tablets.

Amazon claims that WorkSpaces is about half of the cost of VDI.

Active Directory integration is possible so users can authenticate on Amazon WorkSpaces uses their corporate useraccount.

Amazon uses Teradici PCoIP display protocol to connect WorkSpaces to end user devices.