Amazon Web Services Inc. today updated Amazon Workspaces, its desktop virtualization suite, with new features that will enable customers to use the offering in more ways.

Workspaces enables companies to create cloud-based virtual desktops that their workers can access via a browser. Companies use virtual desktops because they’re easier to manage than on-premises workstations in certain respects. The technology also simplifies certain cybersecurity tasks.

AWS’ Workspaces desktop virtualization suite includes three services. The first provides the ability to create and manage cloud-based virtual desktops through a management interface provided by AWS. The second service, Amazon Workspaces Web, allows workers to access virtual desktops via a browser.

The third service in the Workspaces suite debuted as part of today’s update. It’s known as Amazon Workspaces Core and enables companies to run virtual desktops on AWS infrastructure using third-party desktop virtualization tools.

AWS says the service will simplify technology operations for customers with hybrid cloud environments. Many companies run virtual desktops in on-premises data centers. With Workspaces Core, a company can use the same software with which it manages its on-premises virtual desktops to manage machines running in AWS.

Workspace Core will also simplify infrastructure modernization initiatives, according to AWS. The service removes the need to switch to a new virtual desktop management tool when a company moves its on-premises virtual desktops to AWS. As a result, the process of moving workloads to the cloud could become simpler in certain respects.

AWS rolled out Workspaces Core alongside an update that will make it possible to run virtual desktops powered by the Ubuntu operating system on its cloud platform. Ubuntu is a popular Linux distribution created by Canonical Ltd. It’s widely used in the developer ecosystem. 

Linux distributions are popular among software professionals partly because they provide features that simplify certain coding tasks. They can also ease the process of deploying code from developers’ desktops to their company’s cloud-based application environment. 

The newly added support for Ubuntu “gives virtual desktop administrators a consistent experience whether you are managing Windows or Linux-based desktops for your workforce,” AWS principal developer advocate Sébastien Stormacq detailed in a blog post today. “You can now have one process and set of tools to manage the majority of your desktop operating systems.”

Ubuntu is one of two Linux distributions that Workspaces supports. The service also enables companies to equip their virtual desktops with Amazon Linux, a version of the operating system developed by AWS. The platform includes cybersecurity optimizations and features that promise to improve cloud application performance.

Image: AWS

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