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Desktop Apps Get AWS Makeover

Among numerous announcements at its recent summit, Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS) beefed up its desktop app services by providing a new marketplace to find apps and a tool to manage them.

The moves enhance the company's Amazon WorkSpaces managed desktop computing service, unveiled last year. Described as "a cloud-based replacement for a traditional desktop," it virtually provides desktop services to work with documents, applications and other computing resources from multiple devices.

Now, to more easily find desktop apps to run on WorkSpaces, AWS has added a new selection to its Marketplace. The AWS Marketplace for Desktop Apps features more than 100 programs in 11 common business categories, such as security, productivity and collaboration, business intelligence (BI), and illustration and design.

"Until now, Amazon WorkSpaces customers did not have an easy way to search for and buy applications for their Amazon WorkSpaces," the company said in a statement. "Additionally, customers have only been able to buy desktop software on an annual or perpetual license basis. With AWS Marketplace for Desktop Apps, these customers can now easily find and purchase monthly subscriptions to popular desktop applications."

Organizations can also provide their own line-of-business apps to the AWS Marketplace and dictate their access by employees.

A new tool to manage these apps and ease the deployment process -- the Amazon WorkSpaces Application Manager (Amazon WAM) -- was announced in conjunction with the marketplace.

Amazon WAM "packages and delivers applications to Amazon WorkSpaces so that they run as if they are natively installed, but are centrally controlled by IT administrators for simplified maintenance and auditability," the company said.

AWS said enterprises today often need to manage more than 200 desktop software programs, with accompanying management, deployment and retirement headaches.

"With just a few clicks in the AWS Management Console, Amazon WorkSpaces customers are able to provision a high-quality, cloud-based desktop experience for their end users at half the cost of other virtual desktop infrastructure solutions," said exec Gene Farrell in a statement. "By introducing the AWS Marketplace for Desktop Apps and Amazon WAM, AWS is adding even more value to the Amazon WorkSpaces experience by helping organizations reduce the complexity of selecting, provisioning, and deploying applications. With pay-as-you-go monthly pricing and end-user self-provisioning of applications, customers will lower the costs associated with provisioning and maintaining applications for their workforce."

Some of the new desktop app offerings include Microsoft Visual Studio and Python for app development; Microsoft Office and other office suites for productivity and collaboration; security tools from Zscaler Inc. and IDM Security Solutions; numerous other programs for playing media, design and illustration; and utilities for screen capture, archiving files and more.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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