Amazon WorkSpaces Desktop Service Offers New High-Powered Option

The Amazon WorkSpaces virtual cloud desktop service running on the Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS) cloud now comes in a new high-powered option for beefier computing jobs required by users such as developers and data analysts.

Amazon WorkSpaces lets organizations provision virtualized Microsoft Windows desktops to users, who can access documents, applications and other resources from anywhere, at any time, with any supported device. It competes with Google's G Suite and many other Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) offerings from virtualization specialists.

In response to customer demand for more high-powered WorkSpaces infrastructure, a new service option provides more virtual CPUs (vCPUs), memory and storage.

"Today we are extending the current set of WorkSpaces bundles with a new Power bundle," AWS spokesperson Jeff Barr said in a recent blog post. "With four vCPUs, 16 GiB of memory, and 275 GB of storage (175 GB on the system volume and another 100 GB on the user volume), this bundle is designed to make developers, analysts, (and me) smile."

The reference to developers and analysts concerns the user types who were asking AWS for a beefier WorkSpaces setup. Barr said they wanted a workstation-class machine for their high-powered computing tasks.

"Developers want to run Visual Studio, IntelliJ, Eclipse, and other IDEs," Barr said. "Analysts want to run complex simulations and statistical analysis using MatLab, GNU Octave, R and Stata."

The different WorkSpaces bundles now available include: Value, Standard, Performance, Power and Graphics, the latter of which has more vCPUs than the Power bundle, along with one vGPU and the addition of video memory -- but less regular memory and a smaller SSD root volume than the Power bundle. Here are the current bundles:

  Value Standard Performance Power  Graphics
vCPUs 1 2 2 4 8
Memory GiB 2 4 7.5 16 15
vGPUs         1
Video Memory GiB         4
SSD Root Volume GB 80 80 80 175 100
SSD User Storage GB 10 50 100 100 100
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Barr said the new Power bundle was especially suited to stats-oriented data analysts. "One really interesting benefit to using a cloud-based virtual desktop for simulations and statistical analysis is the ease of access to data that’s already stored in the cloud," Barr said. "Analysts can mine and analyze petabytes of data stored in S3 that is effectively local (with respect to access time) to the WorkSpace. This low-latency access will boost productivity and also simplifies the use of other AWS data analysis tools such as Amazon Redshift, Amazon Redshift Spectrum, Amazon QuickSight and Amazon Athena."

All bundles come with a Microsoft Windows 7 or Windows 10 desktop and applications including Internet Explorer 11, Firefox and 7-Zip. Users can specify other options, such as different versions of Microsoft Office Professional.

WorkSpaces bundle pricing information is available here.

About the Author

David Ramel is editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine and Application Development Trends Magazine.