AWS Workspaces – What benefits can cloud-based DaaS bring to your business?

Firstly, what is Desktop as a Service (DaaS)? Many people will be familiar with the concept of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) by which desktops are spun up on demand to meet the needs of the workforce, this is traditionally done on premises, with expensive hardware that needs refreshing every 3 years. Well, not anymore. DaaS is the same concept as VDI (virtual desktops on demand) but it is delivered as a service from AWS without the need to procure, setup, manage and refresh hardware. This type of technology looks promising for the future.

Last year CITEC ICT ran a proof of concept for AWS’ DaaS solution, Workspaces. Over the course of two weeks we stood up the required infrastructure and extensively tested the limits of the solution. The tests passed with flying colours, enabling us to move into the trial phase with 20+ users on Workspaces full time, for a period of ten weeks. This tested the long-term feasibility of using desktops hosted in the public cloud for everyday use. I’m pleased to say that the user approval rating for Workspaces was over 95%.

Through our testing, we have identified three main benefits that AWS Workspaces can bring to your organization.

Mobility
* Switch from ZeroClient to a mobile device and back in seconds
* Use the same desktop anywhere, as long as there is an internet connection
* Same experience regardless of the device being used. Workspaces has clients for Windows, MacOS, Chromebook, FireBook, Android and Web-based.
* Disaster recovery desktop solution
* Elasticises your desktop capacity (can scale out in a matter of minutes and scale back in just as quickly)

Security
* No data on B.Y.O.D devices (all stored safely in the cloud)
* Encrypted disks
* PCOIP encrypted pixel stream
* Simplified B.Y.O.D policies (any device is secure by default when using Workspaces as the data is not on the device)
* Integrates with on-premises two-factor authentication

Cost Savings
* Thin clients consume an average of 8-20 watts compared to a 150 watt PC
* Thin clients cost $100-$200 and have a lifespan of up to 10 years, PC’s cost about $700 and last 3-5 years
* Utility model billing (no capital outlay)
* No lock-in contracts

As you can see there is an extensive list of benefits for an organisation looking to gain efficiencies in its desktop deployments. I won’t go into detail here about how AWS Workspaces achieves all these benefits, but if you’d like to know more we’d be happy to share our experiences or line up a time to give you a demo. You can contact us at dlcst@dsiti.qld.gov.au.

We are also in the process of setting up our multi-tenanted deployment, complete with private fibre networks to AWS Sydney, watch this space for updates.

Until next time…

Alex Simpson