AWS upgrades cloud desktops to near workstation state • The Register

Amazon Web Services has made an interesting change to its “Workspaces” desktop-as-a-service offering: temporary local storage.

The cloud pioneer’s previous Workspaces had to make do with 100 GB for a root volume and the same amount of storage space for user data.

The new Graphics.g4dn and GraphicsPro.g4dn Workspaces add temporary local storage using an AWS offering called “instance store” that the cloud giant currently recommends as “ideal for temporary storage of information that changes often, such as buffers, caches, scratch data , and other temporary content, or for data replicated across a range of instances, such as a load-balanced pool of web servers.”

The Graphics.g4dn Workspaces bundle includes 100 GB of instance storage, along with 4vCPUs, 16 GB of RAM and 16 GB of video memory. AWS suggests it can handle mainstream graphics-intensive applications, such as engineering, design, and architectural applications.

The GraphicsPro.g4dn bundle offers 6vCPUs, 64 GB RAM and 16 GB video memory and is said to be ready for “media production, seismic visualization, GIS data processing, data intelligence, small-scale ML model training and ML inference.”

Workstation workloads, piece by piece. And not the workloads that AWS previously promoted as ideal for Workspaces.

It helps that both new instances run on second-generation Xeon Scalable CPUs (Cascade Lake) tuned to AWS specs, plus NVIDIA T4 Tensor Core GPUs.

The new ones aren’t cheap — $537 and $959 a month, respectively — but you can also pay monthly reservation fees and hourly rent. Bringing your own Windows license will save you a few dollars on the monthly cost and a few cents on the hourly rate.

AWS last launched GPU-enabled Workspaces in 2018, so these new bundles may be a little late.

Cloud workstations have been in high demand lately because physical workstations don’t thrive in home work environments where they typically need to be without the high-speed networks needed to move data to and from demanding applications.

Amazon’s cloud network makes that issue out of the question, and adding the local instance store means fewer demands to move data to the new bundles. Users still need clients running Windows and MacOS, or streaming technology like PCoIP, leaving a lot of potential for those using consumer-grade broadband connections to experience frustration.

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