ESG's Mark Bowker interviews Nathan Thomas, GM, Amazon WorkSpaces.
Announcer: The following is an ESG On Location video.
Mark: Hey, Nathan. Thanks for joining us at our re:Invent this year and it's a great event, as always.
I come here and learn a lot so I appreciate you taking the time and spend some time with us as well. So we recently did some research. We found that 76% of people are either interested or are already doing hosted desktops. What kind of drivers are you seeing out there that's really driving some of that option?
So we see people looking for WorkSpaces or cloud desktops when they've got cases where that traditional laptop or traditional desktop maybe isn't the right solution for them. So they have a case where they need to have burst up or burst down. Many people are rapidly on-board, rapidly off-board. Or they've got remote employees. They've got contractors. They've got consultants and they need to be able to give them laptops. Instead, they're just going to give them a WorkSpace, right, so they can stand that up, they pay for what they use.
When they get done, they turn it off. So there's this huge array of things we kind of call edge of enterprise, all these different cases where it's just not necessarily everything under the sun, but you find these places where you just need desktops from time to time, in bits and pieces.
Mark: Are you seeing people that had looked at VDI now upgrade to WorkSpaces? Are you seeing people step away from it? I'm curious to see what you're seeing there.
Nathan: Yeah, so VDI or virtual desktop infrastructure definitely has had a huge play in these customers, and we see customers do both. So it's not necessarily that you go turn off a whole cluster of VDI on premises. We do see people use WorkSpaces as an addition to that as well. But at the same time, they're really going to recognize, it's a lot of cost, a lot of complexity.
Mark: Infrastructure, yeah.
Nathan: A lot of management, yeah, when they run their own virtual desktop infrastructure.
Mark: The other thing we saw in the research we did together, we saw 77% of people said that it was DAS or hosted desktops was more secure.
Nathan: Yeah, well, the fundamental thing is that you don't have your data going onto a laptop and leaving your office, as it were.
Nathan: Right? I think that's kind of crazy when you think about that. And so WorkSpaces, as in any kind of DAS solution, is going to have that same property. The data's not outside of the cloud. Now, that being said, there's a lot that we do inside of that environment to make sure that your data stays encrypted at rest, encrypted in transit. There's all sorts of encryption that happens on the actual streaming of the video content going out. There's authentication.
There's some encrypted protocols. We do a lot to protect that WorkSpace, but at the same time, fundamentally, it's just your data staying in the cloud. That's where you want it to be.
Mark: Are you seeing the conversation change with your customer? Meaning are they bringing security teams into that conversation now?
Nathan: Oh, yeah, definitely. Yeah, it's seen as a core part of the process for anybody looking to adopt to DAS is that they need to understand what's the security model. And people get scared that, "Hey, well, I've got my desktop and somebody could get into it from the internet."
Nathan: Right? So for example, in the WorkSpaces' case, what we do is make sure that every WorkSpace doesn't have publicly accessible network interfaces, all of the connections happen through secure protocols and gateways so they have to have that assurance. So we have that conversation.
Mark: Yeah, and it's almost like this idea of trust nothing, right?
Mark: You know, let an employee or a contractor bring a device in, you don't have to trust it but can still deliver that experience to them, right?
Nathan: Exactly. So that WorkSpace becomes a trusted environment and really, that becomes your corporate network in a lot of ways. So the place that you're connecting from, it might as well be a Starbucks, don't have any of this kind of secure network or trusted network inside of your building. It's all entrusted, right, it's only the cloud that your core environment is trusting.
Mark: Makes sense. Do you see any triggers with customers, meaning I look at things like Windows 10, for example, certainly the security solution? Are there other, let's say, leading triggers where you see customers get started with it?
Nathan: Yeah. So Windows 10 is one of the ones, where some people say I'm going to have a migration, plan out the replan. A lot of times though, it's more of a business event for them.
Nathan: Right. So I've got a division I need to stand up, an office I need to stand up, some people I'm hiring from a consulting force or outside labor. Those type of events are frequently the case where they say, in the past, you know, I can go buy a whole bunch of VDI infrastructure but that would take months to get set up.
Mark: And it maybe still not work.
Nathan: That's right. And so they just end up buying laptops. But this gives them the option to do something which is cloud-based and a little bit more transient and temporary and solve that need immediately.