The Stack Archive

Amazon launches Marketplace for desktop apps in the cloud

Fri 10 Apr 2015

Amazon has today launched a public cloud Marketplace for desktop apps. The e-retail and cloud services giant will now sell subscriptions to software such as Office and Visual Studio on a pay-monthly basis.

The new desktop software offered across the Marketplace will run on Amazon’s virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) service, AWS WorkSpaces which launched in 2013. The monthly subscriptions will start at approx. £17 for a virtual Windows 7 desktop, with additions such as Office 2013 Professional Plus for another £10.

Senior VP Andy Jassy explained at yesterday’s AWS Summit that the idea is to offer “popular desktop apps that companies are used to using”, while simplifying issues related to software licensing by allowing its customers to pay monthly rather than upfront.

Alongside the launch of the new Marketplace, Amazon has also unveiled WorkSpaces Application Manager (WAM) – a tool through which administrators can subscribe to applications on behalf of their users, manage updates and auditing, and flag specific software as ‘required’ to enable automatic deployment. The programme will also allow administrators to mark non-compulsory apps as ‘optional’ so that users can decide independently whether to subscribe or not. The WAM software can be used for application management across the Marketplace, as well as for in-house apps.

To ease maintenance processes including updates and patch rollouts the applications themselves are virtualised, disconnected from both the operating system and from each other.

The new AWS Marketplace for Desktop Apps is a significant development for desktop application management in the cloud. Formerly paid apps deployed by organisations had to be managed, monitored and billed separately. Now any add-on applications purchased across the Marketplace are paid for monthly with the total AWS order.

Amazon pushes the security benefits of the VDI extension of AWS, claiming that if PCs and laptops are solely used to connect to VDI resources they should not need to contain any sensitive data and risk theft or loss.


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