After unloading a whole bunch of news this week at its re:Invent conference in Las Vegas, public cloud infrastructure provider Amazon Web Services (AWS) today announced a refresh of its Amazon AppStream service for hosting desktop applications that end users can access through a web browser.
The new version of AppStream, dubbed AppStream 2.0, lets AWS customers run the service atop a variety of AWS virtual machine instance types, whereas the original version was limited to the g2.2xlarge instance, Gene Farrell, vice president for enterprise applications and EC2 Windows at AWS, wrote in a blog post.
But also, the new version is simpler to set up and manage, and it provides a simpler user experience, too. As AWS explains on a frequently asked questions (FAQ) page for AppStream 2.0:
Amazon AppStream was an SDK-base service that customers could use to set up their own streaming service with DIY engineering. Amazon AppStream 2.0 provides a fully managed streaming service with no DIY effort. Amazon AppStream 2.0 offers a greater range of instance types, streams desktop applications to HTML5 browsers with no plugins required, simplifies application lifecycle management, and allows your apps to access services in your VPC.
The relaunch suggests that the original implementation of app streaming didn’t pick up as many customers as Amazon was hoping for. The FAQ page doesn’t say anything about when the initial version will be killed but does say that customers can keep using it “until it’s retired” and that customers can talk to AWS support about migrating to version 2.0.
AWS also offers the full desktop virtualization tool Amazon WorkSpaces. Recently the cloud provider updated it with the ability for end users to access their remote desktops over the web without downloading and installing a client.
Microsoft’s Azure, AWS’ top competitor, had offered the RemoteApp desktop virtualization software, but Microsoft has decided to use XenApp software from Citrix in its stead. That software is expected to be released for everyone in early 2017.
Customers can start using the new version of AppStream through AWS’ US East (N. Virginia), US West (Oregon), Europe (Ireland), and AP-Northeast (Tokyo) data center regions, Farrell wrote. The price of the service includes the cost of streaming instances (determined by instance type and the maximum number of people who will access a given app) and monthly fee for each user.