A recent change to Microsoft’s Product Terms, now allows you to run your Microsoft 365 applications on Amazon WorkSpaces, offering more choice for where and how you use your Microsoft Office applications.
Previously there were only two compliant cloud VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) offerings that supported Bring Your Own License (BYOL) for M365 applications: Microsoft Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD). However, following these changes your organisation has an additional third option of Amazon WorkSpaces when hosting a desktop environment.
A quick recap on Amazon WorkSpaces?
Amazon WorkSpaces is Amazon’s Virtual Desktop offering which enables users to provision virtual, cloud-based Microsoft Windows, Amazon Linux, or Ubuntu Linux desktops for their users, known as WorkSpaces. This technology eliminates the need to procure and deploy hardware or install complex software. Users can access their virtual desktops from a range of different devices and web browsers.
A smart move from Microsoft
This change is a big advantage for organisations who currently use both Amazon WorkSpaces and Microsoft 365. It is a significant reversal on the licensing limitation set out in 2019 by Microsoft to restrict where and how Office applications can be hosted.
As we have seen over the last 12 months, Microsoft has extended their services to multiple competitors within the VDI space, whether that be Citrix, VMware or Amazon WorkSpaces. This is a move that will significantly extend Microsoft’s footprint within the Virtual Desktop space and means that organisations will be considering which Microsoft features they would like to add, even when deploying competitor offerings. This is a smart move from Microsoft to say the least.
How do I know if my organisation is eligible?
Thankfully, it’s simple: if your organisation currently holds a Microsoft 365 E3/E5/A3/A3 or Business Premium license then via VDI, you will be able to run these applications in Amazon WorkSpaces at no extra licensing cost.
How does it work?
Each M365 Licensed user of an eligible product may install and use a single active instance (including failover instances) of the M365 Apps for Enterprise in Amazon WorkSpaces. These instances will need to be running on the Enterprise Monthly Channel. Current Channel Customers that opt to use M365 Office Apps for Enterprise in Amazon WorkSpaces also have the option to deploy their Project and Visio applications if needed. Multi-region resilience will also allow Microsoft 365 apps to be installed and used on primary workspaces and failover workspaces. This change is now available in all AWS Regions where Amazon WorkSpaces is available.
If you’d like to find out more, or find out how this would benefit your organisation, please reach out to our dedicated AWS team.