Amazon Web Services (AWS) is expanding from its server-centric roots with a new desktop offering that allows companies to roll out cloud-hosted Windows 7 desktops, paid for on a per-user, per-month basis. Here's what you need to know.
WorkSpaces, which runs on Amazon EC2, was announced today, but is currently only in a limited preview ahead of an expected full rollout next year. WorkSpaces clients can be accessed on desktop machines, Android tablets and iPads, while IT pros can manage the system via a browser-based console.
All clients include Windows 7, as well as Firefox, Adobe Reader, the Java Runtime Environment and 7-Zip. Note the lack of Google Chrome, a potential annoyance given its popularity, though IT managers can apparently further customise the bundles.
The Standard Plus and Performance Plus bundles also include Microsoft Office 2010. Persistent storage is also provided on Amazon's S3 storage and mapped to Drive D: within Windows. Most bundles include just one virtual CPU, but the Performance Plus bundle includes.
Here's what you'll pay per month for the different variants:
There's no long-term contract, so this could be useful for environments where workers are frequently added and removed.
From Amazon's description, this won't suit extremely large rollouts; you can sign up any number of users, but you can only provision five users at a time. Provisioning time is said to be around 20 minutes.
Sound tempting? Tell us what appeals (or horrifies) in the comments.