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Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2)

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a web service that provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It is designed to make web-scale cloud computing easier for developers.

Amazon EC2’s simple web service interface allows you to obtain and configure capacity with minimal friction. It provides you with complete control of your computing resources and lets you run on Amazon’s proven computing environment. Amazon EC2 reduces the time required to obtain and boot new server instances to minutes, allowing you to quickly scale capacity, both up and down, as your computing requirements change. Amazon EC2 changes the economics of computing by allowing you to pay only for capacity that you actually use. Amazon EC2 provides developers the tools to build failure resilient applications and isolate themselves from common failure scenarios.


Benefits of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2)

Elastic Web-Scale Computing

Amazon EC2 enables you to increase or decrease capacity within minutes, not hours or days. You can commission one, hundreds or even thousands of server instances simultaneously. Of course, because this is all controlled with web service APIs, your application can automatically scale itself up and down depending on its needs.

Completely Controlled

You have complete control of your instances. You have root access to each one, and you can interact with them as you would any machine. You can stop your instance while retaining the data on your boot partition and then subsequently restart the same instance using web service APIs. Instances can be rebooted remotely using web service APIs. You also have access to console output of your instances.

Flexible Cloud Hosting Services

You have the choice of multiple instance types, operating systems, and software packages. Amazon EC2 allows you to select a configuration of memory, CPU, instance storage, and the boot partition size that is optimal for your choice of operating system and application. For example, your choice of operating systems includes numerous Linux distributions, and Microsoft Windows Server.

Designed for use with other Amazon Web Services

Amazon EC2 works in conjunction with Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), Amazon SimpleDB and Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS) to provide a complete solution for computing, query processing and storage across a wide range of applications.


Amazon EC2 offers a highly reliable environment where replacement instances can be rapidly and predictably commissioned. The service runs within Amazon’s proven network infrastructure and data centers. The Amazon EC2 Service Level Agreement commitment is 99.95% availability for each Amazon EC2 Region.


Amazon EC2 works in conjunction with Amazon VPC to provide security and robust networking functionality for your compute resources.

  • Your compute instances are located in a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) with an IP range that you specify. You decide which instances are exposed to the Internet and which remain private.
  • Security Groups and networks ACLs allow you to control inbound and outbound network access to and from your instances.
  • You can connect your existing IT infrastructure to resources in your VPC using industry-standard encrypted IPsec VPN connections.
  • You can provision your EC2 resources as Dedicated Instances. Dedicated Instances are Amazon EC2 Instances that run on hardware dedicated to a single customer for additional isolation.
  • For more information on Amazon EC2 security refer to our Amazon Web Services: Overview of Security Process document.

If you do not have a default VPC you must create a VPC and launch instances into that VPC to leverage advanced networking features such as private subnets, outbound security group filtering, network ACLs, Dedicated Instances, and VPN connections.


Amazon EC2 passes on to you the financial benefits of Amazon’s scale. You pay a very low rate for the compute capacity you actually consume. See Amazon EC2 Instance Purchasing Options for a more detailed description.

  • On-Demand Instances – On-Demand Instances let you pay for compute capacity by the hour with no long-term commitments. This frees you from the costs and complexities of planning, purchasing, and maintaining hardware and transforms what are commonly large fixed costs into much smaller variable costs. On-Demand Instances also remove the need to buy “safety net” capacity to handle periodic traffic spikes.
  • Reserved Instances – Reserved Instances provide you with a significant discount (up to 75%) compared to On-Demand Instance pricing. There are three Reserved Instance payment options (No Upfront, Partial Upfront, All Upfront) that enable you to balance the amount you pay upfront with your effective hourly price. The Reserved Instance Marketplace is also available, which provides you with the opportunity to sell Reserved Instances if your needs change (i.e. want to move instances to a new AWS Region, change to a new instance type, or sell capacity for projects that end before your Reserved Instance term expires).
  • Spot Instances – Spot Instances allow customers to bid on unused Amazon EC2 capacity and run those instances for as long as their bid exceeds the current Spot Price. The Spot Price changes periodically based on supply and demand, and customers whose bids meet or exceed it gain access to the available Spot Instances. If you have flexibility in when your applications can run, Spot Instances can significantly lower your Amazon EC2 costs.

Getting Started with Amazon EC2

There are several ways to get started with Amazon EC2 – you can use the AWS Management Console, the AWS Command Line Tools (CLI), or AWS SDK’s.

AWS is free to get started. To learn more, see below for tutorials and additional resources.

Getting Started with the AWS Management Console

Let’s get started with Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) by using the AWS Management Console, a point-and-click web-based interface. Visit the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud Documentation for a step-by-step tutorial on setting up and getting started with Amazon EC2.

Log into the AWS Management Console and set up your root account.

In the Amazon EC2 Dashboard, click “Launch Instance” to create and configure your virtual machine.

Step 3: Configure your Instance

In this wizard, you have the option to configure your instance features. Below are some guidelines on setting up your first instance.

  • Choose an Amazon Machine Image (AMI): In step 1 of the wizard, we recommend the Amazon Linux AMI (free-tier eligible).
  • Choose an instance type: In step 2 of the wizard, we recommend the t2.micro (free-tier eligible).
  • Security Group: In step 6, you have the option to configure your virtual firewall.
  • Launch Instance: In step 7, review your instance configuration and click Launch.
  • Create a Key Pair: Select Create a new key pair and assign a name. The key pair file (.pem) will download automatically – save this in a safe place as we will later use this file to login to the instance. Finally, click Launch to complete the set up.

Note: It may take a few minutes to initialize your instance.

After you launch your instance, you can connect to it and use it the way that you’d use a computer sitting in front of you. To connect from the console, follow the below steps:

  • Select the EC2 instance you created and click Connect.
  • Select A Java SSH client directly from my browser. Ensure Java is installed and enabled.
  • Enter the Private key path (example: C:\KeyPairs\my-key-pair.pem)
  • Click Launch SSH Client

Note: You can also connect via SSH or PuTTY, click here to learn more.

Step 5: Terminate Instances

Amazon EC2 is free to start (learn more), but you should terminate your instances to prevent additional charges. The EC2 instance and the data associated will be deleted.

  • Select the EC2 instance, click Actions, select Instance State, and then select Terminate.

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Amazon WorkSpaces

Amazon WorkSpacesAWS WORKSPACE

Amazon WorkSpaces is a managed desktop computing service in the cloud. Amazon WorkSpaces allows customers to easily provision cloud-based desktops that allow end-users to access the documents, applications and resources they need with the device of their choice, including laptops, iPad, Kindle Fire, Android tablets, and zero clients. With a ew clicks in the AWS Management Console, customers can provision a high-quality cloud desktop experience for any number of users at a cost that is highly competitive with traditional desktops and half the cost of most virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions.
Amazon WorkSpaces offers you an easy way to provide a managed, cloud-based desktop experience to your end-users. You don’t have to worry about procuring or deploying hardware or installing complex software to deliver a desktop experience to your users. Amazon WorkSpaces takes care of all the heavy lifting of managing hardware and software, and tasks such as patching and maintenance, enabling you to deliver a high quality desktop experience to your users.
Whether you are managing traditional desktops or an on-premises solution for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) such as Windows Remote Desktop, both of these approaches require significant capital investment and are often complex and difficult to deploy and manage. Using a cloud-based desktop environment eliminates the need for up-front investment and ongoing management of infrastructure, providing you with an easy, cost-effective way to bring a secure and broadly accessible desktop experience to your users. For a low monthly fee, Amazon WorkSpaces provides a complete cloud-based desktop computing service including compute, persistent storage, and applications. Your users get a better experience than a traditional desktop with more functionality, such as the ability to access their applications and data from a device of their choice. You get a simpler way to provision desktops for users for half the cost of an on-premises VDI solution. Please see our TCO Comparison: Amazon WorkSpaces and traditional Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) blog post for more information on cost comparison.

You simply select from a choice of WorkSpaces bundles that offer different hardware and software options, and launch the number of WorkSpaces that you require. As soon as the WorkSpaces are ready, users receive an email giving them instructions on how to download the WorkSpaces client and connect to their WorkSpace. Amazon WorkSpaces provides users a persistent desktop experience that can be accessed from a variety of devices such as a laptop computer (Mac OS or Windows), iPad, Kindle Fire, or Android tablet. The user’s applications and data stay the same regardless of which device they use, so they can easily switch between devices without losing their work.

Amazon WorkSpaces provides you with the choice of creating a standalone, managed directory for users who will use WorkSpaces, or you can integrate with your on-premises Active Directory so that your users can use their existing credentials to obtain seamless access to corporate resources. This integration works via a secure hardware VPN connection to your on-premises network using Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) or with AWS Direct Connect. You can manage your Amazon WorkSpaces with the existing tools you are using for your on-premises desktops to maintain full administrative control.

WorkSpaces Bundles”

Amazon WorkSpaces offers a choice of service bundles providing different hardware and software options to meet your needs. You can choose from the Standard or Performance family of bundles that offer different CPU, memory, and storage resources, based on the requirements of your users. If you would like to launch WorkSpaces with more software already pre-installed (e.g., Microsoft Office, Trend Micro Anti-Virus, etc.), you should choose the Value Plus, Standard Plus or Performance Plus options. If you don’t need the applications offered in those bundles or you would like to use software licenses for some of the applications in the Plus options that you’ve already paid for, we recommend the Value, Standard or Performance bundles. Whichever option you choose, you can create a custom image from that WorkSpace to create your own bundle.

Hardware Options

WorkSpaces Bundle Hardware Resources
Value 1 vCPU, 2GiB Memory, 10GB Storage
Standard 2 vCPU, 4GiB Memory, 50 GB User Storage
Performance 2 vCPU, 7.5 GiB Memory, 100 GB User Storage

Application Options

WorkSpaces Bundle Applications
Utilities (Internet Explorer 11, Firefox, 7-Zip)
Value Plus,
Standard Plus,
Performance Plus
Microsoft Office Professional*, Trend Micro Worry-Free Business Security Services, Utilities (Internet Explorer 11, Firefox, WinZip)

Easy Provisioning

Provisioning desktops with Amazon WorkSpaces is easy. All you need to do is to choose the WorkSpaces bundle that best meets the needs of your users and the number of WorkSpaces that you would like to launch. Whether you choose to launch one or many WorkSpaces, it’s as simple as selecting the appropriate bundle and the user(s) that you wish to provide with a WorkSpace. Once the WorkSpaces are ready, users receive an email informing them where they can download the relevant client and connect to their WorkSpace. There is no up-front commitment with Amazon WorkSpaces; you simply pay a monthly charge for each WorkSpace that you launch. And, when you’re finished with a WorkSpace, you can easily delete it.


Amazon WorkSpaces enables you to deliver a high quality desktop experience to your end-users as well as help meet compliance and security policy requirements. When users are using Amazon WorkSpaces, your organization’s data is not sent to or stored on end-user devices. The PCoIP protocol used by WorkSpaces uses an interactive video stream to provide the desktop experience to the user while the data remains in the AWS cloud or in your on-premises environment. When you integrate WorkSpaces with your corporate Active Directory, each WorkSpace joins your Active Directory domain, and can be managed just like any other desktop in your organization. This means that you can use Active Directory Group Policies to manage your users’ WorkSpaces to specify configuration options that control the desktop, including those that restrict users’ abilities to use local storage on their devices. This means you can specify a policy to prevent your data from being copied onto local device storage. WorkSpaces also integrates with your existing RADIUS server to enable multi-factor authentication (MFA).

Active Directory Integration

Amazon WorkSpaces lets you integrate with your organization’s Active Directory so that your end users can continue to use their existing credentials to access corporate resources. Once you have configured an Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) with a hardware VPN connection to your on-premises environment, or provisioned a dedicated connection with AWS Direct Connect, Amazon WorkSpaces lets you easily integrate your Active Directory. Once you have set-up this integration, when you launch a WorkSpace, you can use the AWS Management Console to select the users in your Active Directory who will receive a WorkSpace. This integration also means that the WorkSpaces you launch will join your Active Directory so that you can manage them with the same tools that you use to manage any other desktop in your organization, with full administrative control. You can perform various tasks such as deploying software, applying Group Policies or other management tasks just as you would with any other desktop in your Active Directory domain. You can learn more about this feature in the WorkSpaces documentation.

Persistent Storage

Amazon WorkSpaces provides each user with access to varying amounts of persistent storage in the AWS cloud based on the bundle you select. In addition to being able to store user data on a ‘user’ storage volume attached to the WorkSpace, the free Amazon WorkDocs Sync client lets WorkSpaces users choose a folder to sync between their WorkSpace, Amazon WorkDocs, and other computers. This means that users always have access to their data regardless of the device that they are using. Data synced to Amazon WorkDocs is encrypted in transit and at rest. Other data that users store on the ‘user’ volume attached to the WorkSpace is automatically backed up to Amazon S3 on a regular basis. Amazon S3 is designed for 99.999999999% durability of objects, providing you with peace of mind about your users’ data.

Desktop and Mobile Clients

Amazon WorkSpaces clients are available for both Windows and Mac computers, for iPad, Kindle Fire, and Android tablets, as well as for zero clients. When WorkSpaces are provisioned for users, they will get an email containing details on how they can download the clients. The WorkSpaces PC or Mac client provides users with full access to their desktop and includes support for multiple monitors, audio, and video.

The WorkSpaces clients for iPad, Kindle Fire, and Android tablets have a number of features designed to provide users with a tablet-optimized desktop experience. Users can show or hide an on-screen keyboard by double-tapping on the screen with two fingers. The client provides a touch-based mouse interface so that interacting with desktop applications is as easy as using a traditional mouse. Single and double clicking requires a simple tap or double tap, or a two fingered tap for a right click. Users can scroll vertically using a two-fingered touch and pinch to zoom. A slide-out radial control can be accessed by a thumb swipe from the left of the screen and gives users access to a variety of commands. With a Kindle Fire, or Android tablet, users can connect a keyboard or touch pad to have a laptop experience with their tablet WorkSpace.

Amazon WorkSpaces Pricing

Asia Pacifice

Hardware Options

WorkSpaces Bundle Hardware Resources Monthly Price*
Value 1 vCPU, 2 GiB Memory, 10 GB User Storage $34
Standard 2 vCPU, 4 GiB Memory, 50 GB User Storage $49
Performance 2 vCPU, 7.5 GiB Memory, 100 GB User Storage $82

Application Options

WorkSpaces Bundle Applications Monthly Price*
Utilities (Internet Explorer 11, Firefox, 7-Zip) No additional charge
Value Plus,
Standard Plus,
Performance Plus
Microsoft Office Professional, Trend Micro Worry-Free Business Security Services, Utilities (Internet Explorer 11, Firefox, WinZip) Additional $15