As well as being the world’s biggest online retailer, Amazon is also one of the main providers of cloud based computing services. They offer a dizzying array of different services and platforms, enabling anyone with a credit card to get access to serious computing power.
One of their newer offerings is WorkSpaces. These provide access to a desktop computing experience via the cloud. What this means in practice is that you can use one device – whether a laptop, desktop, tablet or smartphone – to access another computer which is hosted on Amazon’s cloud, including an operating system, applications and storage.
Here’s a video that probably explains it a lot better than I can.
How I’m using WorkSpaces
I’m a Mac user, and sometimes, annoyingly, other people assume you are using a Windows PC. Recently as part of one of my volunteering roles, I was asked to complete some e-learning. Only, on visiting the required web page, I was informed that the e-learning would only work with Internet Explorer, which isn’t available for the Mac.
To get round this, I just needed to load up my Amazon WorkSpace client, and log in to my WorkSpace running Windows 7, which of course has Internet Explorer available. Job done.
Another area I am thinking of using WorkSpace is to keep some of my bits of work separate. I’ve more email accounts with different organisations I work with than I can count, with associated document stores and so on. One way around this might be to use my laptop just for my own personal stuff, and then have WorkSpaces for my other identities, meaning I don’t get things jumbled up but can always access what I need.
The obvious downside is that you can only access your workspaces when you have a decent internet connection. The other is that at the moment the only choice of operating system is Windows 7. It would be nice to have a Linux option, for instance.