In my last blog, I described the six-Rs of cloud migration. Most of these frameworks require time-consuming redesign and development to make applications more cloud-friendly. This blog highlights an interim step that can be used to move your legacy Windows desktop application to a scalable, high-availability, reasonably priced cloud deployment model where users can access the application using only an HTML5 browser.

Some advantages of streaming the application rather than installing it on the local workstations include security, easier distribution, and version control. Applications installed on local workstations, especially if they access back-end databases, can be hacked by someone who understands application construction. It is far easier to distribute a URL and a username/password combination, than to have users download, install, and configure software locally. Finally, desktop applications can be updated in one place and automatically distributed to anyone using the streaming service the next time they logon.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers AppStream 2.0, a fully managed application streaming service that lets you centrally manage and stream your desktop applications to a number of workers or students around the globe without acquiring, provisioning, and operating hardware or infrastructure. Simply put – it helps complete your cloud migration. AppStream runs the application on AWS compute resources and streams the “image” of the application to the browser.  Since the background equipment is pulled from AWS best in class resources, the speed and performance of a streamed application are more consistent.

Users can access desktop applications delivered using AppStream from HTML5 browsers on Windows, macOS, and Chrome PCs. Windows users can also download a small local client that provides access to USB devices, local drives, and printers if they need this access. The application is running on the remote server and delivered as an image in the browser, minimizing the issues encountered when configuring local workstations.

Companies use AppStream’s built-in identity management to centrally control access to the applications. AppStream can be connected to the company’s Active Directory, network, cloud storage, and file shares as needed to deploy the solution, making it easy to work with your existing infrastructure.  AppStream is fully managed on AWS and globally available with pay-as-you-go pricing. 

If you would like to learn more about leveraging your existing technology investment, see my colleague Uma Palepu’s insightful video here.

AppStream is easy as 1,2,3

  1. Create an image with your application pre-installed. This is comparable to creating an AWS AMI
  2. Create a fleet to enable autoscaling.  This drives costs and availability
  3. Create a stack and assign it to your approved users. This gives permissions to use the application

Follow along as I install, configure, and demonstrate a common windows desktop application using AppStream. This video shows how to set up the image, the fleet, the stack, then launch and use the legacy Windows desktop application as a consumer.