Amazon Web Services has entered the virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) market with Amazon WorkSpaces.

Amazon Unveils AWS Price Cuts, Launches Desktop WorkSpaces

A demonstration was provided, which emphasized ease of use. The provisioning process takes 20 minutes to complete. The user gets an email, then downloads the client of their choice. Then they register their workspace, and login using the same username and password as the on-premise password.

The idea is to support todays mobile workforce. The “desktop” can move easily from a Mac to an iPad, for instance. Workspaces behave just like traditional desktops, no training needed.

Amazon also announced a refresh of the high storage instance family, named HS1. Storage throughput went from 2.6gps-3.6gps. The company also introduced a new memory optimized family called the R3. R3 has SSD storage, and an 8 to 1 ratio of memory to storage. It offers 1/3 better performance.

Customers, Customers, Customers

Amazon mentioned a plethora of customers, giving real world examples of how they are leveraging AWS in different ways. It really showed the maturity of the platform, and how Amazon has addressed pretty much any need under the sun.

The amount of new product announcements wasn’t huge, but that’s basically because Amazon already provides many of the features its customers need. The biggest missing ingredient has been the personal touch. Hosting providers offer consulting and high-touch services that AWS could not. Amazon has tried to address this, introducing a premium support function and professional services. It can offer a team that comes into your company to help figure out how to move workloads to the cloud. There’s also a lot of educational programs and certifications, ensuring a strong workforce.

“It’s not just the services, it’s features and capabilities in these services,” said Jassy. “We’re adding and iterating features at a fast clip.”

One example given was with RedShift, which launched February of 2013. Amazon has added a staggering 56 new features since then to RedShift alone. The company emphasized that these enhancements all happen behind the scenes, seamlessly.

The pace of innovation was highlighted. In 2007 Amazon Web Services offered there were 82 new services and products. In 2012 there were 159 new services and products added.  In 2013 the company added 280 features and services. 2014 is on pace to beat 2013.

AWS touted Kinesis, its fully managed service for real-time processing of streaming data at massive scale. AppStream, which solves a major problem compute intensive applications and game face. With the explosion of mobile devices and mobile usage, developers are faced with a problem. Water down the graphically intense experience for the device, or stream it. AppStream allows you to stream. The company built their own network protocol that identifies network and device.

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About the Author

Jason Verge is an Editor/Industry Analyst on the Data Center Knowledge team with a strong background in the data center and Web hosting industries. In the past he’s covered all things Internet Infrastructure, including cloud (IaaS, PaaS and SaaS), mass market hosting, managed hosting, enterprise IT spending trends and M&A. He writes about a range of topics at DCK, with an emphasis on cloud hosting.

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  1. Price cuts are great to spark adoption, but I think the real game will be played in operational efficiency and who delivers better service, with better margins, and can pinpoint and play on strengths to preserve margins long term. Both Google and Amazon have solid operations, so this will be fun to watch to see who drives differentiation first.