Amazon bashes private clouds, launches virtual desktops

The head of Amazon Web Services bashes IBM and launches a VDI service at this year's AWS Reinvent conference

By , IDG News Service |  Cloud Computing

"I think a lot of old-guard technology companies aren't so thrilled about how fast things are moving to cloud," Jassy said. He showed a slide of one of a number of advertisements that IBM has placed on buses this week in Las Vegas that claim that the IBM Cloud service hosts "30 percent more top websites" than any other cloud provider.

"It's creative, I'll say that," Jassy said. "I don't think anybody who knows anything about cloud computing would argue [IBM] has a larger cloud business than AWS."

In June, IBM purchased SoftLayer to boost its public cloud offerings.

Jassy also took time to announce some new services.

Perhaps the most notable launch for the company is a new VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) service, called Amazon Workspaces.

Workspaces provides a virtual desktop for an organization's employees that can be accessed from Apple Macs, Microsoft Windows computers or Android devices. It provides a "persistent state," Jessy said, meaning that the desktop's contents will remain the same no matter what device the desktop is accessed from.

Despite the advantages it offers administrators in managing their users' computers, VDI thus far has not made major inroads into the enterprise IT market, though Amazon is hoping Workspaces will prove cost-effective and easy enough to manage that it will be appealing.

Workspaces will cost about half of the expense of the current average VDI implementation, he said. The service, which is now offered in a limited preview, can be paid for on a month-by-month basis. A Workspaces desktop with one virtual CPU and 50GB of storage space will cost US$35 a month, and the "performance" desktop with 2 virtual CPUs and 100GB of storage will cost $60 per month.

With Workspaces, an organization can bring its own licenses for Microsoft Office and security software, or Amazon will offer these applications for an additional $15 a month.

AWS also launched a security service that can provide customers with detailed log reports of who is accessing their APIs (application programming interfaces) and what services they consume, as well as a streaming service for apps.

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