Amazon Workspaces in a managed web based Virtual Desktops Infrastructure solutions in the cloud.  Rather than procure, design and build your own virtual desktop infrastructure, you can start using Amazon Workspaces in a very short space of time to provision necessary virtual desktops in the cloud with the required amount of compute, storage and memory resources.  In addition, Amazon Workspaces come at various price points and depending on your price point, provides additional software applications.  You have full administrative control from the OS layer up on a workstation and this means you can deploy your own set of applications as required.  This article, Amazon WorkSpaces Exam Tips gives you a high-level overview of the core concepts you need to learn for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect Aossicate Exam.

Access to Amazon Workspaces is via standard desktops, laptops, mobiles and tablets.  You access your Amazon Workspace workstation using an Amazon WorkSpaces client application or using Chrome and Firefox web browsers.

Furthermore, access is granted using credentials setup by your AWS Account Administrator or can be integrated with your existing Active Directory domain.  Hence users do not need an IAM account to access their WorkSpaces workstations.

Underlying Infrastructure

  • Amazon WorkSpaces offers bundles that come with a Windows 7 or Windows 10 desktop experience, powered by Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2016 respectively. Companies that have the necessary Microsoft Licenses can also run Windows 7 or Windows 10 Enterprise edition on Amazon WorkSpaces.
  • Various bundle and image types are available to cater to various requirements including
    • Amazon WorkSpaces Graphics Bundle
    • Amazon WorkSpaces Power Bundle
    • Bring Your Own Windows 7 & 10 Desktop Licenses

Security

Amazon WorkSpaces is virtual desktop service in the cloud and you can access your workspaces as well as data via a desktop, laptop or thick-client.  Note that data stored on the workspaces are not sent or stored on end user devices.  Amazon uses PC-over-IP (PCoIP) which enables you to stream the users’ desktop computing experience and transmit as pixels across the network.  In addition, PCoIP compresses, encrypts and encodes the data.

Exam Tips

  • You cannot migrate from Amazon WorkSpaces Windows 7 to 10 bundles. you need to delete their existing Amazon WorkSpace and create a new one using a Windows 10 WorkSpaces bundle.  You can migrate your data using the sync features available with Amazon WorkDocs. Note that Amazon WorkDocs comes with 50GB of free storage for every Amazon WorkSpace.
  • As well as using a supported client device and an Internet Connection, you need to ensure that you have TCP ports 443 & 4172 as well as UDP port 4172 open
  • WorkSpaces run on an individual instance for the user it is assigned to. Thus the environment, applications, documents and settings are persistent.
  • You get a user volume which is the ‘D’ drive on the WorkSpace and this is backed up every 12 hours. In the case of a WorkSpace failure, AWS can restore this volume from the backup
  • You can create a custom image from a running Amazon WorkSpace, configure with the necessary apps and settings and then provision your workspaces from that image.
  • Amazon WorkSpaces supports root volume (C: drive) and user volume (D: drive) encryption. Amazon. Amazon WorkSpaces integrates with the AWS KMS service to allow you to specify the keys you want to use to encrypt the volumes.
  • Amazon WorkSpaces supports local printers, network printers, and cloud printing services

 

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