Article on AWS WorkSpaces

Amazon WorkSpaces

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Amazon WorkSpaces is a managed desktop computing service in the cloud. Using Amazon WorkSpaces allows you to easily provision cloud-based desktops and provide users access to the documents, applications, and resources they need from any supported device including Windows and Mac computers, Chromebooks, iPads, Kindle Fire tablets, and Android tablets.


Use Cases 

Mobile Device Access:

For users who wish to access their desktops from mobile devices such as an iPad, Kindle Fire, or Android tablet, Amazon WorkSpaces provides them with access to their desktop when they need it, on the device of their choice.

Secure Workspaces:

Amazon WorkSpaces can help you meet stringent compliance requirements and deliver a managed desktop to users in scenarios where you cannot control physical access to desktops.

Remote Employees:

For employees working at off-site locations, such as home-based employees, Amazon WorkSpaces enables you to provide access to the applications users need by delivering a cloud desktop. By not storing the data locally, the security of your corporate data is improved.

Seasonal Workers:

If you have seasonal workers in your organization, you can provision WorkSpaces for them with all the applications they need, and then terminate the WorkSpaces when they leave.


You can provision WorkSpaces for developers and install the tools they need to build applications for your business. Your source code is not stored on developers’ devices helping you keep your intellectual property safe.


Simple to use :

No up-front investments and avoiding the complexity of maintaining, patching, and managing a large physical desktop environment or a complex Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solution.

Keep your data secure:

A remote display protocol is used to compress, encrypt, and encode data so that only images are transmitted.

Deploy manage application:

A fast, flexible, and secure way for you to package, deploy, and update your organization’s desktop applications

Choose hardware software you need:

A choice of bundles providing different amounts of CPU, memory, and storage to match your requirements. Also AWS offers pre installed OS and applications (including Microsoft Office), or you can bring your own Windows desktop licenses or other licensed software.

Support multiple devices:

Any supported device including Windows and Mac computers, Chromebooks, iPads, Kindle Fire tablets, and Android tablets.

Integrate your corporate directory:

Securely integrates with your corporate Active Directory.

Amazon WorkSpaces Pricing

With Amazon WorkSpaces, you pay only for the WorkSpaces you launch. There is no up-front commitment and you can delete WorkSpaces at any time. WorkSpaces are billed on a monthly basis.

If you would like to launch WorkSpaces with more software already pre-installed (e.g., Microsoft Office, Trend Micro Anti-Virus, etc.), you should choose the Value Plus, Standard Plus or Performance Plus options. If you don’t need the applications offered in those bundles or you would like to use software licenses for some of the applications Plus options that you’ve already paid for, we recommend the Value, Standard or Performance bundles. Whichever option you choose, you can always add your own software whenever you like.


Amazon WorkSpaces Pricing by AWS Region

US East (N.Virginia)

Hardware Options

WorkSpaces Bundle Hardware Resources

Monthly Price*

BYOL Monthly Price*


1 vCPU, 2 GiB Memory, 10 GB User Storage




2 vCPU, 4 GiB Memory, 50 GB User Storage




2 vCPU, 7.5 GiB Memory, 100 GB User Storage



Application Options

WorkSpaces Bundle Applications Additional Monthly Price*



Utilities (Internet Explorer 11, Firefox, 7-Zip) No additional charge
Value Plus,

Standard Plus,

Performance Plus

Microsoft Office Professional, Trend Micro Worry-Free Business Security Services, Utilities (Internet Explorer 11, Firefox, WinZip) Additional $15

* Each WorkSpace is billed on a monthly subscription. .

Charges are prorated for the remainder of the first month, and subsequent months are billed for the entire month. BYOL (Bring Your Own License) pricing is available to eligible organizations that bring their Windows 7 Desktop Licenses to Amazon WorkSpaces. Amazon WorkSpaces is not eligible for the AWS Free Usage Tier.

To add software to your WorkSpaces in addition to the bundles, create a custom image or use Amazon WorkSpaces Application Manager (Amazon WAM). You can deploy a custom image to as many users as you like, at no charge. Amazon WAM enables you to deploy and manage applications quickly and securely across your users’ WorkSpaces. Amazon WAM is available as a lite or standard subscription. The lite subscription is available at no charge; the standard subscription is currently available at no charge, but will cost $5/user/month starting July 1, 2015.

mazon WorkSaces Application Manager(WAM)

Amazon WorkSpaces Application Manager (Amazon WAM) offers a fast, flexible, and secure way for you to deploy and manage applications for Amazon WorkSpaces.

Amazon WAM allows you to build and curate a selection of desktop applications for your users and control access to those applications. You can build an application catalog of third party applications that you already own the license for, internally-developed custom applications, and applications purchased through the AWS Marketplace for Desktop Apps. Simple, pay as you go, user-based pricing ensures that you only pay for the applications that people use.

Pricing and Plans

Amazon WAM Lite is available at no charge, and Amazon WAM Standard is priced on a monthly, per user, subscription basis. Applications purchased from the AWS Marketplace for Desktop Apps are priced individually, and prices are shown in the AWS Marketplace shopping and buying screens on the WorkSpaces console.

Amazon WAM subscriptions are available in either Lite or Standard plans, pricing as follows.






What Operating System does a WorkSpace run?

WorkSpaces provide users with the Windows 7 Experience, provided by Windows Server 2008 R2.

Can users install applications on their WorkSpace?


By default, users are configured as local administrators of their WorkSpaces. Administrators can change this setting and can restrict users’ ability to install applications with a technology such as Group Policy.

Is a user’s data backed up and how?


The user volume (D:) on the WorkSpace is backed up every 12 hours. In the case of a WorkSpace failure, AWS can restore this volume from the backup. If Amazon WorkDocs Sync is enabled on a WorkSpace, the folder a user chooses to sync will be continuously backed up and stored in Amazon WorkDocs.

Applications and Bundles




Can I create custom bundles for WorkSpaces?


as an administrator you can create a custom image from a running WorkSpace. Once you have customized a WorkSpace with your applications and settings, you can select the WorkSpace in the WorkSpaces console and select “Create Image.” This will create an image with your applications and settings. Most WorkSpace images are available within 45 minutes.
Can I update the image in an existing bundle?


You can update an existing bundle with a new image that contains the same tier of software (for example containing the Plus software) as the original image.





How will a user’s WorkSpace be patched with software updates? You have the ability to control how patching is configured for a user’s WorkSpace. By default, Windows Update is turned on, but you have the ability to customize these settings, or use an alternative patch management approach if you desire. Third party software will be updated according to the settings of the third party software’s update mechanism that you can control.
What is Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)? Multi-Factor Authentication adds an additional layer of security during the authentication process. Users must validate their identity by providing something they know (e.g. password), as well as something they have (e.g. hardware or software generated one-time password (OTP)).

Amazon WorkSpaces Application Manager




How do I upload my applications to Amazon WAM? You can package your applications using the Amazon WAM Studio, validate using the Amazon WAM Player, and then upload your applications to Amazon WAM
What type of applications can be delivered using Amazon WAM? Any application compatible with Microsoft Windows 7, Microsoft Windows 8, Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2, and Microsoft Windows Server 2012 can be delivered to WorkSpaces using Amazon WAM. Both 32-bit and 64-bit applications are supported.
Can I track application use with Amazon WAM?


You can track usage for any applications assigned to users.
How do end users access applications that are assigned using Amazon WAM? Users can open the Amazon WAM desktop app and see all the applications available to them. You can set up applications to be required or optional. Required applications are automatically installed on user’s WorkSpace, and optional applications can be installed via the Amazon WAM desktop app

Clients and User Experience




Can I use any other client (e.g., an RDP client) with Amazon WorkSpaces


The only supported clients for WorkSpaces are the free clients provided by AWS.
Which operating systems are supported by the Amazon WorkSpaces client applications? Amazon WorkSpaces clients are available for the following operating systems:

  • Microsoft Windows 7 and Microsoft Windows 8
  • Apple Mac OS X (10.8.1 and above)
  • Google Chrome OS (45 and above)
Which tablet devices are supported by the Amazon WorkSpaces client application? Amazon WorkSpaces clients are available for the following devices:

  • Apple iPad 2 (iOS 7.0 and above)
  • Apple iPad Retina (iOS 7.0 and above)
  • Kindle Fire HDX and Kindle HD 7
  • Samsung and Nexus tablets (Android version 4.2 and above).
What is a PCoIP zero client A PCoIP zero client is a single-purpose hardware device that can enable access to Amazon WorkSpaces. Zero clients include hardware optimization specifically for the PCoIP protocol, and are designed to require very little administration.





Do I need to set-up a directory to use the WorkSpaces service? Each user you provision a WorkSpace for needs to exist in a directory, but you do not have to provision a directory yourself. You can either have the WorkSpaces service create and manage a directory for you and have users in that directory created when you provision a WorkSpace.
If I use a directory that the WorkSpaces service creates for me, can I configure or customize it?


What happens to my Simple AD or AD Connector when I remove all of my WorkSpaces You may keep your Simple AD or AD Connector and use it to domain join EC2 instances or provide directory users access to the AWS Management console. You may also delete your Simple AD or AD Connector.





How do I pay for WorkSpaces? WorkSpaces are priced on a monthly subscription basis. You pay a monthly fee for each WorkSpace you launch. The monthly fee for Workspaces includes use of both the infrastructure (compute, storage, and bandwidth for streaming the desktop experience to the user) and the software applications listed in the bundle. In the first month a WorkSpace is active, the charges for the WorkSpace are prorated to the remainder of the month. For example, if a WorkSpace is started on the 10th of January, you will only be charged for the remaining 21 days in the month (31 – 10 = 21).
Does WorkSpaces pricing include bandwidth costs?


The monthly subscription includes the streaming bandwidth between the user’s client and a WorkSpace. Web traffic from the user’s WorkSpaces (accessing public Internet, downloading files etc.) will be charged separately as AWS outbound bandwidth on your bill.
How will I be charged for WorkSpaces that I launch that are based on a custom image? There is no additional charge for WorkSpaces created from custom images. You will be charged the same as the underlying bundles on which the customized images are based.
Do I have to pay to use the Amazon WAM Studio or Amazon WAM Player?


There is no additional charge for using the Studio or Player. You will be charged for AWS resources such as the Amazon EC2 instance hours, EBS storage, and bandwidth when using the Studio to package your applications for Amazon WAM.
What will the PCoIP Connection Manager cost? There is no additional charge for the PCoIP Connection Manager. You only pay for the AWS resources actually used to run the software appliance.

Setup and Maintenance




Does the WorkSpaces service have maintenance windows


The current maintenance window is a four hour period from 0000 – 0400 (this time window will be based on the time zone of the AWS region where your WorkSpaces are located) each Sunday morning. During this time your WorkSpaces may not be available. The maintenance window is currently not configurable.
Will my Amazon WorkSpaces require software updates? Your Amazon WorkSpaces provide users with the Windows 7 experience, provided by Windows Server 2008 R2. The underlying OS, and any applications installed in the WorkSpace may need updates.
Can I turn off the software updates for the WorkSpaces service?


The WorkSpaces service requires these updates to be provided to ensure normal operation of your users’ WorkSpaces.

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