Amazon WorkSpaces VS Azure Virtual Desktop: What is Best for Your Business?
Let’s look at some desktop virtualization statistics before getting into the meat of our discussion.
The market for desktop virtualization is projected to grow from 12.3 billion dollars in 2022 to 20.1 billion dollars by 2027, as stated by MarketsandMarkets. This expansion will occur at a CAGR of 10.3% during the next several years. Another estimate by Spiceworks predicts that by the end of 2022, the use of desktop virtualization will have increased by double-digits.
A virtual desktop is a type of desktop virtualization service that eliminates the need for a user to run a system directly on the endpoint hardware. It is like an all-encompassing software package that virtually encapsulates an operating system and other apps.
When users connect to a virtual desktop, they can operate it normally as though they have the hardware on-premise. Indeed, the virtual desktop service allows business teams to equip themselves with a mobile workspace. Secure remote access paves the way for employees to use the right applications they need whenever they want remotely.
This eliminates the need to buy expensive laptops or other electronic devices, as workers can virtually access the tools anytime. Additionally, a virtual desktop creates a very secure digital workspace for users for accessing sensitive data and work from anywhere in the world .
Meanwhile, we will compare two popular virtual desktop software providers, Amazon WorkSpaces and Azure Virtual Desktop. This will help you find the product that meets your business objectives. We will emphasize the differences between the two solutions through different dimensions. So, let’s get the ball rolling.
What is Amazon WorkSpaces?
Amazon WorkSpaces is a cloud remote virtual desktop solution, which is also a secure Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) solution.
It allows customers to choose to implement Linux or Windows desktop. Later on, users can set up a new virtual desktop instance using either operating system within a few minutes. It promotes enhanced productivity by giving customers persistent desktops.
Moreover, the solution paves the way for scaling it to offer thousands of desktops to workers worldwide. In contrast to traditional desktop solutions, it saves a large chunk of money by allowing its customers to pay hourly or monthly based on their needs.
Amazon or AWS WorkSpaces also extends improved security through multi-factor authentication (MFA) and control over which IP address can access a virtual workspace.
What is Azure Virtual Desktop?
Azure Virtual Desktop is a remote work solution launched by Microsoft. It is easily scalable and highly secure. Its in-built intelligent security incorporated ensures compliance and safeguards computing resources.
Similar to Amazon WorkSpaces, users can also set it up swiftly, providing virtual desktops to any number of workers. Delightfully, it allows its customers to optimize it for a multi-session Windows 10 and Office ProPlus experience.
However, you need Windows virtualization rights to access Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop Windows 10 multi-session. The good news is that you would have to invest a limited amount in licensing costs, provided your business already uses Microsoft 365.
You can use the Azure portal to control Virtual Desktop every step of the way. You can also tap into its potential to scale Virtual Desktop Infrastructure deployment to address evolving business objectives.
Comparing Azure Virtual Desktop VS Amazon WorkSpaces
A company that wants to implement remote desktops for its workers can seek either Amazon WorkSpaces or Azure Virtual Desktop.
These employees, in turn, can access the applications and desktops at any time of the day. The two solutions are not identical and exhibit differences in certain areas. Here, we see their specific features and how these two services differ.
Amazon WorkSpaces provides one-to-one resources It is a viable option for cases when one requires reliable and dedicated computing resources. It costs around $21-140 per month.
Meanwhile, Azure Virtual Desktop provides one-to-one, along with one-to-many resources. That means it provides a host that could have many users accessing it simultaneously. It is a good option when dedicated computing power is not an essential requirement.
What is incredible about Azure Virtual desktop is that the cost per user reaches down hugely as the environment scales up. The amount could go down as little as $4pppm (per participant per month) for the Windows Virtual Desktop infrastructure, given that 500 users are accessing the same host. Conversely, if there is just one user on the platform, it might cost more (up to $162 per month) than Amazon WorkSpaces.
When a person has access to one-to-one resources, they are completely isolated from any other users. Thus, it is the preferable choice for those who need more resources. On the other hand, in a situation where one person has access to many, resource contention among the neighbors is possible.
While Azure Virtual Desktop and Amazon WorkSpaces are scalable, the latter is a comparatively more scalable virtual desktop solution. It allows its customers to choose the number of seats, coupled with the customization of each seat, to suit the ultimate objectives of end-users. One can customize it individually and in a standardized fashion across the company.
For instance, your human resource and finance departments have different needs and functions. Amazon WorkSpaces can achieve the task conveniently since it boasts a long cherished history of scalability that delivers in real-world scenarios. Regarding databases, both Amazon WorkSpaces and AzureVirtual Desktop provide relationship databases.
From a security standpoint, both Amazon WorkSpaces and Azure Virtual Desktop solutions provide highly robust security. There is layer after layer of security for both cases. Given that those layers fail, Amazon WorkSpaces and Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop include all-encompassing backup solutions. Azure provides free security updates for some of its products.
We can safely say that both are more or less equal regarding security. But if your business counts on Microsoft software, the remote desktop service offered by Microsoft has a slight edge.
Amazon WorkSpaces and Azure Virtual Desktop will also allow you to integrate with other software products and applications. Azure Virtual Desktops integrate with the following:
Automatic Robotic Process Automation
Azure Security Center
On the other hand, Amazon WorkSpaces integrate with the following:
AWS Directory Service
Amazon Web Services (AWS)
TeamViewer Remote Management
Undoubtedly, the comparison between Amazon WorkSpaces and Azure Virtual Desktop would remain incomplete without looking at the respective pricing schemes. Generally speaking, customers may pay less by choosing AWS unless they rely heavily on Microsoft software licenses. Yet, Azure Virtual Desktop is economically beneficial for Microsoft-centric companies.
Amazon WorkSpaces Pricing
The good thing about Amazon WorkSpaces is that companies don’t have to invest large sums of money at the outset. According to the needed active WorkSpaces and specific software bundles, they pay bills hourly or monthly, encompassing infrastructure and storage resources. However, you should remember that hourly quickly becomes more expensive than monthly if you use the system for 40 hours/week.
However, billing occurs on an hourly basis and is determined by the continued usage of WorkSpaces. It is an option worth choosing when dealing with part-time employees or limited-term usage scenarios.
The monthly billing option is better when a primary desktop is Amazon WorkSpaces. It charges a fixed monthly rate with no restriction on the usage of WorkSpaces, and the rates vary from $21 to $140 per month based on the kind of resources that come into use.
Azure Virtual Desktop Pricing
When it comes to Azure Virtual Desktop, companies need to pay attention to two different factors. These are the costs associated with access privileges and Azure’s infrastructure. User access rights include those expenses containing licensing entitlement, which can be eliminated if users own eligible products made by Microsoft. If users do not own eligible Microsoft products, user access rights will remain unchanged. However, there is a charge incurred on a per-user basis to use Azure Virtual Desktop.
Azure infrastructure costs fluctuate based on the selected infrastructure components. Some specific infrastructure elements include virtual machines, networking capabilities, and storage.
The Maturity of Service
Azure Virtual Desktop hit the market in September 2018, while Amazon WorkSpaces was rolled out in March 2014. It demonstrates a straight four-year experienced edge over Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop. Although Amazon WorkSpaces has been around us more than Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop, both solution providers sustain excellent cloud infrastructure and proactively develop new functionalities for a smooth experience.
However, suppose the primary priority for your organization is the proven stability of the service. Then it is beyond doubt that Amazon WorkSpaces is better for Desktop as a Service (DaaS). Sensitive information may be accessed securely from any location since it is not kept on the local device. All of it passes through enterprise-level encryption regardless of whether it is passing via a wired or wireless network access point.
Performance and Reliability
It is vital to determine performance and reliability when choosing a virtual desktop solution. Amazon WorkSpaces and Azure Virtual Desktop are susceptible to slight lag once someone launches apps. Still, when using programs by Azure, the delay is relatively less intrusive.
Amazon WorkSpaces is a good option when businesses want a firm SLA (server-level agreement) that signifies the minimum uptime. On the other hand, while Azure makes sure of 99.99% availability, it does not offer SLA. Amazon boasts a 99.99% uptime SLA and is thus liable to a financial penalty, given that it fails to meet its stated availability.
As far as deployment is concerned, both solution providers use different methodologies. Businesses choose Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop to get virtual Windows machines integrated with Microsoft software. Hence, organizations that already bank on Microsoft products should go with Azure virtual desktop infrastructures (VDIs).
On the other hand, Amazon WorkSpaces is a SaaS solution developed around virtual desktops. It allows its customers not only to choose any among several integrations to augment their system, but it also permits its clients to use Linux or Windows operating systems. With Amazon WorkSpaces, users are also free to use their software applications and tools.
Desktop as a Service (DaaS)
When it comes to developing cloud solutions like DaaS, IaaS, and PaaS, Amazon Web Services is undoubtedly at the top of the list. It has been in the market since 2006. The other major player Microsoft Azure has gained some ground since it came on the scene, but AWS leads the market. Virtual desktop customers choose AWS because of the range of services that come with it. For instance, it offers different GPU, CPU, memory, and storage resources (SSD volumes) options.
What AWS has in its toolkit is worth seeing for businesses that want flexibility in their Desktop as a Service (DaaS) solutions. On the flip side, Azure proves a better transition to the world of virtual desktops for companies that essentially rely on Microsoft products. That said, Microsoft Azure is not a complete DaaS solution, even though it serves desktop apps from the cloud.
Support for Different Operating Systems
Another difference between Amazon WorkSpaces and AzureVirtual Desktop is the operating systems available for the virtual environment. While Amazon WorkSpaces supports Linux and Windows, Azure Virtual Desktop can only run Windows. It is a significant factor in determining which type of solution is the best in any given situation.
|Feature||AWS WorkSpaces||Azure Virtual Desktop|
|Operating System Support||Windows and Linux||Windows|
|Third-Party Integrations||A variety of solutions||Mostly Microsoft-focused|
|Security||Encryption and multi-factor authentication (MFA)||Encryption and multi-factor authentication (MFA)|
|Backup and Recovery||Data is synced every 24 hours||Default policy backs up data once per day|
|Remote Access||Desktop as a service (DaaS)||Desktop as a service (DaaS)|
|User Management||Single sign-on, user provisioning, policy management||Single sign-on, user provisioning, policy management|
So Which One, Amazon WorkSpaces or Azure Virtual Desktop?
Virtual desktops are a critical element of any strategy that a company employs to deal with its information technology, making it vital for enterprises to move their operations virtually in the modern day. The challenge here is to identify the best course of action, which might be difficult.
While a company with workloads already running in AWS should opt for Amazon WorkSpaces, Azure Virtual Desktop is ideal for businesses that have yet to go cloud. Azure Virtual desktop is also suitable for an organization that relies on Microsoft Windows or Microsoft 365 licenses.
Since every business has its distinctive IT infrastructure and requirements, it is more complex to suggest one offering straightforwardly. It’s true that Azure Virtual Desktop is cost-effective while supporting multi-session connections since many people share the same virtual machine. On the other hand, AWS WorkSpaces is more scalable.
However, Amazon WorkSpaces has the least operational burden and is thus suitable for those who want a manageable operational burden. The bottom line is that a careful examination of the different factors of both offerings will ultimately help the business decide which solution is suitable to meet unique business needs.
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