Amazon brings desktop-as-a-service to Europe – Windows 7, of course, not Windows 8

By Graeme Burton
07 May 2014 View Comments
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Amazon Web Services is bringing its desktop-as-a-service offering to Europe with the technology now installed in its Dublin data centre.

The service will enable organisations to deploy Windows 7 virtual images to PCs and tablets, removing the need to directly manage desktops. Alternatively, organisations may roll-out cheaper thin-clients instead. However, the bandwidth required to support such a desktop arrangement may prove more challenging.

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The Dublin and, hence, European roll-out follows the deployment of WorkSpaces in two US regions in March, and VMware's own desktop-as-a-service offering, VMware Horizon DaaS, earlier this year. VMware, however, also offers Windows XP and Windows 8 desktops in addition to Windows 7. It charges $35 per month per user for a full Windows client.

Amazon's service varies according to the desktop compute power purchased. A standard configuration, though, will include one virtual CPU, just under 4GB of memory and 50GB of storage. A 'performance' configuration will offer two virtual CPUs, just under 8GB of memory and 100GB of persistent storage.

Amazon's WorkSpaces desktops will also include a range of software as standard, including Adobe Acrobat Reader, Adobe Flash, a choice of web browser (Firefox or Internet Explorer), and Java Runtime Environment. Microsoft Office is available under the 'plus' packages, which cost extra.

Like VMware, Amazon WorkSpaces might not appeal to the cost conscious: per-user pricing will weigh in at the equivilant of $35 for the standard desktop, $50 for 'standard plus', $60 for the performance desktop and $75 for 'performance plus' - monthly charges, not annual.

According to Amazon, WorkSpaces can also be integrated into organisations' Active Directory software so that users do not need to sign-in separately to the service.

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