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Andy Jassy, senior vice president of AWS (Photo: GeekWire)
Andy Jassy, senior vice president of AWS (Photo: GeekWire)

SAN FRANCISCO–Amazon made it easier for customers to use its WorkSpaces cloud-based virtual desktop service with the launch of two new features focused on deploying apps to a large number of employees.

The AWS Marketplace for Desktop Apps, announced at the AWS Summit in San Francisco today, allows systems administrators to select applications and deploy them to WorkSpaces from a centralized console. The Marketplace has more than 100 desktop apps at launch today, across 11 different categories. They include popular tools like Microsoft Office, Visual Studio and CorelDraw.

All of those apps can be easily deployed across WorkSpaces, and can be licensed on a monthly subscription basis. That’s a marked difference from the current enterprise software landscape, which can focus on multi-year commitments for software.

In addition to the marketplace, Amazon also announced the WorkSpaces Application Manager, which makes it possible for companies to more easily manage applications deployed at scale on WorkSpaces. The “lite” version of the service is free, and only supports AWS Marketplace apps. The “standard” tier, which costs $5 per user, allows IT administrators to upload their own apps, offers fine-grained provisioning controls and lets administrators set policies for groups of users. In addition, administrators can also use the application manager to audit usage of applications.

WorkSpaces was first launched in 2013, and has lined up some important customers, including Johnson & Johnson. AWS chief Andy Jassy told an audience here that J&J has called 2015 the “year of WorkSpaces” and plans to roll out the service across the company.

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