Amazon Workspaces

Amazon Workspaces for an always FAST Internet connection

If you aren’t familiar, Amazon Workspaces provides a good Windows PC “in the cloud” (desktop as a service), accessible from your laptop or even iPad, for as little $10 per month (plus an hourly charge).

As I live the life of my dreams … working remotely, traveling and still am able to earn a decent income – my biggest problem is that I must have a fast internet connection, especially now that I am beginning to create videos.

The key is that the Amazon Workspaces PC lives in the cloud, and has access to the full bandwidth of Amazon Web Services – but all I need to be able to do is interact with the virtual screen, requiring far less bandwidth than downloading a large video (for example).
This means that once uploaded, passing files around … even large ones … is amazingly fast and doesn’t require much bandwidth from my local setup, i.e., when I’m using my cellular connection (even in my iPad).

Here’s what I do after setting up the Amazon WorkSpaces machine:

  • Install the Chrome Browser – I use Chrome for all my development, and connect it to my Google account. My plugins, bookmarks and saved passwords are then automagically synched with the workstation.
  • Install Dropbox, allowing me to have access to all my working files
  • Other tools I find useful include the Adobe Creative Suite

That’s pretty much it!

Amazon Workspaces Workflow

Here’s an example workflow: using Vidnami, I create a video. Downloading the video to the Amazon Workspaces machine takes seconds. At that point, I can upload it to S3, Youtube, Wistia, my website, Vimeo, Facebook – wherever it needs to be – and the transfer is blazingly fast. Even video editing on the remote machine can work.

This works for all kinds of files and is lightning fast because the files, once on the Amazon Workspaces machine, never needs to leave the cloud. All transfers are lightning fast!

For example, downloading a 58MB (relatively small) video edit was taking 20 minutes over the Internet at one of the AirBnB’s I was in. However, it took seconds to download to the Amazon Workspaces machine, which I was able to access from my iPad (no laptop required!).

Bonus Workspaces Features

As a bonus, the rare software package that only works on Windows (I’m a Mac user) now lives on my Amazon Workspaces account, freeing up the bloat having to run Windows on my Mac (either as a dual boot or virtual machine). I’ve been able to build complete mobile apps using Embarcadero (previously Borland) Delphi and C++ builder, without springing for a PC.

And it gives me the full power of a desktop machine from my iPad, which is super cool.

One downside: while I’ve been able to play video from the Amazon Workspaces machine, most video games don’t work very well (or at all) due to the lack of a high-end graphics card and slow framerate. That said, for work related activities done as a digital nomad … it’s an amazing setup.