Please use the menu below to navigate the article sections:
- I. AWS Workspaces Benefits
- II. AWS Workspaces Pricing Structure
- III. Hourly vs. Monthly Billing Options
- IV. Exploring Alternatives to AWS Workspaces
- V. Conclusion
- Ready to Take Your Tech Career to the Next Level?
AWS Workspaces is a DaaS (Desktop as a Service) product provided by Amazon Web Services. It offers dedicated virtual Windows or Linux desktops as a managed service, making it convenient for remote work or accessing cloud desktop environments. AWS Workspaces is hosted by AWS, providing a reliable and efficient solution for virtual desktop needs.
I. AWS Workspaces Benefits
The benefit of using this type of architecture is that you are provided with a consistent desktop that you can access from anywhere. You might start off by using it in the office, log off, and then log back on from home, and your applications and are maintained – ensuring a consistent workflow. It therefore allows you to disconnect from the virtual desktop and then log back in from a different location and experience the exact same settings, programs, and files.
Using AWS Workspaces, you can provision virtual, cloud-based Amazon Linux, Microsoft Windows, Mac, or Ubuntu Linux desktops for your users. You can access your WorkSpaces from anywhere with an internet connection, from different supported devices, including Windows, Mac, Chromebooks, iPads, Kindle Fire, and Android tablets.
Below, we’ve compiled an overview of the benefits that await you with AWS WorkSpaces:
- Cost Optimization: Reduce technology expenses while enjoying seamless access to your computer resources.
- Anytime, Anywhere Access: Work from any location with ease, leveraging the flexibility of AWS Workspaces.
- Bring Your Own Device (BYOD): Embrace the freedom of using your preferred device for enhanced productivity.
- Endpoint Security: Safeguard your sensitive data and applications with robust endpoint security measures.
- Effortless Deployment and Management: Streamline application deployment and management processes for increased efficiency.
- Seamless Active Directory Integration: Benefit from seamless integration with Active Directory, ensuring smooth user management.
- All-in-One Solution: Simplify your setup with AWS Workspaces, bundling the necessary hardware and software components.
II. AWS Workspaces Pricing Structure
When it comes to Amazon Workspaces pricing, it follows a Pay-as-you-Go model, allowing you to pay based on your specific infrastructure requirements. Several factors contribute to determining your costs:
- Billing Type: You have the option to choose between hourly or monthly billing. If your usage fluctuates or you require flexibility, hourly billing can be a suitable choice. Alternatively, you can opt for a fixed monthly amount regardless of your usage.
- Platform Type: The type of platform you choose, such as Windows or Linux, can impact the pricing. Windows-based workspaces are generally more expensive due to the inclusion of the Windows OS license.
- Geographical Region: Prices can vary across different AWS regions. The same workspace provisioned in one region may have a different cost compared to another region.
- Storage Volume Size: The size of the storage volume allocated to both root users and non-root users also influences the pricing.
A. AWS Workspaces Free Tier
If you’re new to the concept of virtual desktops or want to explore the benefits of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), AWS offers a Free Tier for Amazon WorkSpaces. This allows you to experience the power of desktop virtualization and evaluate the performance of specific applications.
In the Free Tier, you are provided with two Standard bundle virtual desktops, each equipped with an 80 GB Root volume and a 100 GB User volume. These desktops operate on an hourly billing mode, allowing you to assess their capabilities without incurring additional costs. The Free Tier provides a combined maximum usage of 40 hours per month, and you can enjoy this benefit for up to three billing cycles.
B. Available Bundles
An AWS WorkSpace bundle is a combination of storage, compute, and the operating system. When launching a WorkSpace, choose the bundle that meets your requirements. The default bundles available for WorkSpaces are known as public bundles.
Currently, AWS Workspaces offers the following bundles:
Please note that these figures are subject to change, and it’s always recommended to refer to the official AWS documentation for the most up-to-date information on AWS Workspaces options and specifications.
III. Hourly vs. Monthly Billing Options
When setting up your AWS WorkSpaces, you have the choice between two billing options: hourly and monthly. Each option has its own advantages and considerations to help you align your billing structure with your specific usage requirements.
A. Hourly Billing Structure
Hourly billing was introduced as an additional option by AWS, providing a more flexible and cost-effective pay-as-you-go model. With hourly billing, you are charged an hourly rate for the duration your WorkSpaces are active, along with a fixed monthly fee for the cloud infrastructure costs. An important feature of hourly billing is the AutoStop functionality, where idle WorkSpaces automatically stop after a specified period of inactivity, reducing costs.
Hourly billing is ideal if:
- You require part-time access to your WorkSpaces.
- You work on short-term projects or engage in corporate training and remote work management.
- You share your job with another part-timer or work as a part-time employee.
- You expect intermittent usage patterns and want to optimize costs.
- AutoStop feature saves costs by automatically stopping idle WorkSpaces after a specified period of inactivity.
- Resuming a stopped workspace is quick and seamless, with open documents and running programs intact.
- Economical for part-time usage and on-demand work scenarios.
- If daily usage exceeds 4 hours, the monthly billing option may be more cost-effective.
- Resuming a disconnected session may take 1-2 minutes.
B. Monthly Billing Structure
With monthly billing, you pay a fixed monthly fee per virtual desktop for unlimited usage throughout the month. This option is suitable if you anticipate extensive and consistent usage of your WorkSpaces, making it your primary desktop environment.
- Economical if the workspace is used extensively or as a primary desktop.
- Workspaces remain constantly active, eliminating the need for resuming and reloading suspended programs.
- Not cost-effective if usage is less than 5 hours per day.
- Full monthly fee applies even if the workspace is not used or sparingly used.
- May not be suitable for intermittent or part-time usage scenarios.
C. Choosing the Right Option
Opt for hourly billing if:
- You require a virtual cloud desktop for part-time use.
- Daily usage is expected to be less than 5 hours.
- Internet connectivity issues may result in longer periods of disconnection, benefiting from the AutoStop feature.
Choose monthly billing if:
- The workspace will be your primary desktop.
- You need an always-on virtual desktop environment.
- You plan to share the desktop with other users for full-time usage.
By understanding the benefits and considerations of each billing option, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your usage patterns and optimizes your AWS WorkSpaces costs.
IV. Exploring Alternatives to AWS Workspaces
While AWS Workspaces offers a robust virtual desktop infrastructure solution, it’s worth exploring alternative options to ensure you make the best choice for your cloud computing journey. Let’s take a closer look at some notable alternatives to AWS Workspaces.
A. Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop (formerly Windows Virtual Desktop)
Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) provides a compelling alternative to AWS Workspaces. It offers a scalable and secure virtual desktop experience, seamlessly integrating with other Microsoft services. AVD pricing varies based on factors such as usage duration, storage requirements, and licensing agreements. Comparing the pricing structures of AWS Workspaces and AVD can help you determine which option better suits your budget and requirements.
B. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops
Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops is a robust solution that enables organizations to deliver virtual desktops and applications securely. With features like high-definition user experience and advanced management capabilities, it presents a viable alternative to AWS Workspaces. The pricing for Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops varies based on factors such as deployment size, feature sets, and support levels. It’s important to assess your specific needs and evaluate the cost implications of choosing Citrix as your virtual desktop solution.
C. VMware Horizon Cloud
VMware Horizon Cloud offers a flexible virtual desktop infrastructure solution that combines on-premises and cloud deployments. It provides features like remote desktops, application delivery, and user management. Understanding the pricing models and comparing them with AWS Workspaces can help you make an informed decision.
D. Google Cloud Virtual Desktop
Google Cloud Virtual Desktop (formerly known as Cloud VDI) is a cloud-native virtual desktop solution that integrates with Google Cloud services. It offers secure access to desktop environments from various devices. Exploring the pricing structures and capabilities of Google Cloud Virtual Desktop can provide valuable insights for your decision-making process.
E. Nutanix Xi Frame
Nutanix Xi Frame is a cloud-based virtual desktop infrastructure platform that simplifies desktop management and delivers a seamless user experience. Evaluating the pricing models, scalability options, and features of Nutanix Xi Frame can help you determine if it aligns with your cloud computing goals.
AWS WorkSpaces is a powerful solution for implementing Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) within your organization. It simplifies the process of provisioning and deploying VDI infrastructure, eliminating the need for complex software installations. With Amazon WorkSpaces, you can easily add or remove users based on your organization’s evolving needs.
Users can access their virtual cloud desktops from various devices and web browsers, offering flexibility and convenience. However, it’s important to note that if you are in a location with low internet bandwidth, latency issues may arise when using WorkSpaces.
As remote work becomes increasingly prevalent in modern culture, the use of virtual desktops has gained significant traction. AWS WorkSpaces stands as one of the top options for implementing VDI, providing a robust and scalable solution.
In the subsequent sections of this guide, we have explored the pricing structure, available bundles, and billing options for AWS WorkSpaces. Armed with this knowledge, you can make informed decisions to optimize your costs and maximize the value of your AWS WorkSpaces investment.
Whether you are a business owner, IT professional, or individual user, AWS WorkSpaces offers a flexible and efficient solution for accessing virtual desktop environments. By leveraging the benefits of AWS WorkSpaces, you can enhance productivity, enable remote work, and streamline your desktop infrastructure.
We hope this comprehensive guide has provided you with valuable insights and strategies for effectively managing AWS WorkSpaces and harnessing its full potential. Get started with AWS WorkSpaces today and revolutionize your virtual desktop experience.
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Note: Last updated May 15, 2023