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GCN : January 2014
[BrieFing] The recent announcement by Ama- zon Web Services of a new managed desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) offering called Amazon WorkSpaces may give a much-needed boost to government- wide adoption of virtual desktops. In unveiling its WorkSpaces offering, Amazon enters a market dominated by EMC's VMWare, Citrix Systems and Microsoft. WorkSpaces allows customers to provision cloud-based desktops so that they can access their documents and applications from their laptops, iPads, Kindle Fire or Android tablets. The service is priced aggressively (see box). Amazon announced its new Work- Spaces virtual desktop offering just weeks after getting the go-ahead on a $600 million cloud computing contract with the CIA that was contested by IBM. The question is whether Amazon's WorkSpaces offering will see an equally fast adoption rate by govern- ment agencies as its AWS GovCloud has experienced. Many agencies are considering virtual desktops because of the cost savings they provide. Desktop comput- ers cost twice as much as thin clients, consume 80 percent more power and require signi cantly more help desk and other support services. Amazon says its cloud-based virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) offers all the security and ef ciency of on- premises offerings while eliminating the up-front investment and ongoing management costs. To ensure data security, Amazon has licensed technology from Teradici including its PC-over-IP protocol to compress, encrypt and encode the users' desktop computing experience and transmit only pixels across a stan- dard IP network to the users' devices. The WorkSpaces Sync capabilities will allow users to sync their documents between their Amazon WorkSpaces and other computers so that they al- ways have access to their documents. Shawn McCarthy, research direc- tor for IDC Government Insights, said Amazon may need to develop new channels in the federal market to sell its WorkSpaces offering. "Most government agencies buy virtual desktops through a big systems integrator like SAIC or Lockheed,'' Mc- Carthy said. "Even if it's hosted in an Amazon data center, they're going to get the service through the integrator that's handling their overall enterprise IT environment.'' But McCarthy added that Amazon's WorkSpaces offering is worth watch- ing. "Amazon winning management of the CIA infrastructure is a big deal. It's a big feather in Amazon's cap,'' McCar- thy said. "These guys are going to be taken seriously from now on.'' • Will AWS WorkSpaces spark federal demand for DaaS? BY CAROLYN DUFFY MARSAN WorkSpaces Bundle Standard Standard Plus Performance Performance Plus Hardware Resources 1 vCPU, 3.75 GiB Memory, 50 GB User Storage 1 vCPU, 3.75 GiB Memory, 50 GB User Storage 2 vCPU, 7.5 GiB Memory, 100 GB User Storage 2 vCPU, 7.5 GiB Memory, 100 GB User Storage Applications Utilities (Adobe Reader, Internet Explorer 9, Firefox, 7-Zip, Adobe Flash, JRE) Microsoft Office Professional 2010, Trend Micro Worry- Free Business Security Services, Utilities (Adobe Reader, Internet Explorer 9, Firefox, 7-Zip, Adobe Flash, JRE) Utilities (Adobe Reader, Internet Explorer 9, Firefox, 7-Zip, Adobe Flash, JRE) Microsoft Office Professional 2010, Trend Micro Worry- Free Business Security Services, Utilities (Adobe Reader, Internet Explorer 9, Firefox, 7-Zip, Adobe Flash, JRE) Monthly Price $35 $50 $60 $75 4 GCN JANUARY 2014 • GCN.COM