Amazon Workspaces – provision a desktop in cloud

As you may know by this time, Amazon last week enabled the Amazon workspaces feature for all. Once you login to your AWS console you should see now new icon for the product  – Amazon Workspaces.

In short what this Amazon Workspaces really is:

Amazon WorkSpaces is a fully managed desktop computing service in the cloud. Amazon WorkSpaces allows customers to easily provision cloud-based desktops that allow end-users to access the documents, applications and resources they need with the device of their choice, including laptops, iPad, Kindle Fire, or Android tablets. With a few clicks in the AWS Management Console, customers can provision a high-quality desktop experience for any number of users at a cost that is highly competitive with traditional desktops and half the cost of most virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions.

How do you set it up? Simple. Log on to your AWS console, Click on Amazon Workspaces and now you should see 3 options:

  • Directories – in case you are setting up this for company – you can use your current Active Directory or setup new Directory on Amazon Cloud
  • Workspaces – where you can launch and provision the desktop for your users
  • Workspaces Bundles – gives you overview on current offering of desktops and what is included in the packages

In my case, I am not setting up Active Directory, I want to just setup a desktop for myself.

  • Click Workspaces
  • Click on Launch Workspaces
  • Leave the default Amazon Directory name and click Next
  • Create the new user – complete the info Firstname, LastName, email and click NEXT
  • Now select the proper Amazon Workspaces desktop bundle and assign to the user
  • process is finished and new created user will receive shortly invite email with all instructions to access the desktop and download the proper clients.

All clients for different platform are available for download here : https://clients.amazonworkspaces.com  – suported is Android, iOS, Mac and Windows so you can access the desktop from any tablet devices or computer.

Once you get the email, you need click on the registration link and it will walk you trough few steps to download client and access for first time your Amazon Workspaces desktop. I have selected  – Standard Plus bundle that comes with full MS Office 2010 Pro and 50GB of space that you can use as you wish. Also when you connect to the Amazon desktop there are few icons on desktop screen – one of them is Amazon Desktop sync so you need to configure it and your file be synced. The desktop actually is running on MS Windows Server 2008 Datacenter edition and you have all full rights to the desktop features. I tried to connect from pc as well as from my tablets and the experience is great. It was smooth and fast and this probably will become my desktop on road 🙂

One note — By default, a single AWS account can have a maximum of 20 WorkSpaces per region. New AWS accounts may have a lower default limit. If you need to increase your limit in a region, you can request a limit increase by performing the following steps:

  • To request a limit increase
  • Go to the AWS Support Center page, sign in, if necessary, and click Open a new case.
  • Under Regarding, select Service Limit Increase.
  • Under Limit Type, select WorkSpaces.
  • Fill in all of the necessary fields in the form and click the button at the bottom of the page for your desired method of contact.

The Amazon WorkSpaces Sync application allows a maximum of 10 GB of file storage per Amazon WorkSpaces user.

Here are some screenshots:

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