back to article Rent a virtual desktop from Amazon: 35 bucks a month (PC not included)

Amazon is bringing its margin-destroying, no-fun business model to the thrilling world of virtual desktop infrastructure – and could upset the balance sheets of traditional VDI providers along the way. The Amazon Workspaces technology was announced today during the inaugural keynote speech for the web bazaar's second-ever re: …


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  1. Fuzz


    No mention of how they are dealing with the Windows licenses. A quote from the Microsoft VDI and VDA FAQ

    "Currently, there is no SPLA model for Windows VDA. Hence, customers who subscribe to desktops from a third-party hoster will need to pay Microsoft for a Windows VDA license for each device accessing Windows client virtual machines in the datacenter. Additionally, hosters need to ensure they isolate the hardware and other resources for each company. Any hardware running an instance of Microsoft software (OS or application) must be dedicated to a single customer. For example, a SAN device that is not running any Microsoft software may be shared by more than one customer; whereas, a server or SAN device that runs Microsoft software may only be used by one customer."

    So unless Amazon have some kind of special deal with Microsoft, there is no way that this can work running Windows 7.

    1. Really Anonymous Coward

      Re: Licensing

      The cost analysis on the links claims $0 for CALs (vs not-$0 for on-premise solution) - did The Reg ask the PR rep from Amazon to comment on this?

      1. Fuzz

        Re: Licensing

        After a further reading of the Amazon literature my guess is that they are not offering Windows 7. They advertise it as a "Windows 7 Experience". The assumption therefore is that they are using Server 2008R2 with desktop experience enabled so that it behaves like Windows 7. That way Amazon can purchase per user RDS CALs together with processor licensing for 2008R2 and they don't have to worry about the stupid way Microsoft have licensed desktop VDI

    2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: Licensing

      I think the licencing discussion here is very relevant to this thread...

  2. Nate Amsden

    i'm sure

    all 17 organizations out there that use VDI will be impressed.

  3. Adze

    Total cost of operation for three years...

    $2, 700 for a dual core win7 msoffice box with some Adobe and Oracle feeeware on it... plus the cost of whatever you use it from. Hmmm... tempting?

  4. Cloud=Complete Lack Of Understanding Datacenter

    VDI sucks at the best if times

    This trend for virtual desktops, please let it stop. What is wrong with server based computing?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: VDI sucks at the best if times

      What do you think a VDI is if it not "server based"?

  5. Tank boy

    For the cost of the monthly payments, a company could build their own in-house 'cloud', bought and paid for within a year or two. Piss on this, Amazon is trying to sell snake oil.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This isn't designed for mass deployment in a large environment. Its targeted at SMB and consumers who want a desktop on the go.

  6. ElNumbre
    Thumb Up

    Home Users

    I wonder if I can convince my family to move 'to the cloud'? ~£22 for fully managed, 'unbreakable' desktops is an interesting, if slightly high price point. If it were around the £15 mark, or £20 with the office bundle, it would be a godsend, especially as to them its Windows. I'm guessing that the price is made up of something like 20% compute resource, 60% licencing costs and the rest left as take home.

    Looking at the summary page, PCoIP so I'm guessing VMView clients may be the way this goes. But I think that a proper understanding of the access methodology is required - the big bugbear with VDI is you can end up paying twice, once for a local licence and once for the remote desktop. I see no mention of a Linux client at this time, and Id like to understand which browsers are supported.

    I can see lots of use cases for this technology, and for small workgroups, its a damn sight easier on the CAPEX than Citrix or VMWare environments.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Home Users

      If you want to have a solid cheap home version, just get a normal desktop and bang Drive Vaccine* on it, with a unprotected space for documents etc.

      Pretty much bomb proof desktop.

      *Others are available. In the old days, you just used Microsoft's Steady State, which is not available for 7 / Vista / 8

  7. Stilted Banter

    Living the dream

    "You get to live that dream of centrally managing your desktops"

    Strangely enough, when I consider the dreams I would like to live, that isn't one of them.


    Fine, until...

    ... a slack jawed contractor digs through your cable. "We'll fix it when we get 'round to it". What , you forgot to factor in the cost of broadband 3g failover? Oh dear.

    1. Sirius Lee

      Re: Fine, until...

      Or you go to the local library and use their wifi connection from your phone or tablet, or spend an an afternoon in a coffee shop or local pub (because they all offer free wifi). The days of worrying about the unlikely event of the water company digging through your telephone line are, fortunately, in the past.

      However, the cost of this service is unlikely to be appealing to home users. To include Office its $50/month or $600/year but you can rent Office for 5 devices for $100/year. That makes the cost of the desktop $500/year or the cost of a laptop or iPhone each year. Maybe AWS think those economics work for business but it's not going to appeal outside the work environment.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just one question

    What are you going to use to connect to this virtual PC, er a PC ?

    If you IT manager has set up a situation where this is required, then I'm afraid they really need firing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just one question

      Looks like they are using RDP so you can connect from pretty much any device, mac, linux, iOS, android. take you pick.

      Remote video playback might be a bit c**p through.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just one question

        Oh what fun then trying to control a mouse/keyboard OS through a touch device - it's torture. It's 2013 not 1999, there's probably an app for that.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm really coming round to the idea of Chrome OS

    Which, would surely run out far cheaper for your average home or SMB (or even large, enterprise) user who isn't too demanding of document and spreadsheet apps? I reckon it is simply good enough for most users. Anything demanding specialist PC applications is surely better off under the full control of the user.

    Also, is there really much of a cost saving when you still need hardware to stream the virtual PC to?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm really coming round to the idea of Chrome OS

      Point being they have their local hardware already but they occasionally need access to Windows or need to access a desktop while on the move.

      I don't think the plan is that this will replace your desktop PC.

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