Why Choose itopia CAS + Google Cloud over AWS WorkSpaces?

Written by Karin Kelley on Nov 19, 2018

When Amazon released AWS WorkSpaces in 2013, many argued that it truly validated the desktop as a service (DaaS) market that had been struggling to take off for years. And, hats off to them – the company has gained a lot of traction since then. It makes sense in many ways as AWS practically invented commodity hyperscale cloud computing and already has a massive footprint. In the meantime, however, the other major cloud vendors – like Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud – have really upped their game, now offering cloud services that are highly competitive with AWS. This opens a whole new market opportunity for software vendors to provide an alternative to AWS WorkSpaces. Enter itopia Cloud Automation Stack (CAS), purpose built for Google Cloud.

High-level comparison of itopia CAS + Google Cloud and AWS WorkSpaces

At a very high level, AWS WorkSpaces (as the name suggests), is just that. The service is strictly limited to deploying and managing virtual desktops and applications. It’s also worth noting that the application component is another product all together – AWS AppStream – that you must manage and pay for separately. In addition, the products are both offered in pre-configured bundles that are not easily customizable. Let’s look at one specific example. If you want to custom configure storage volumes in WorkSpaces: 1) you must already have solid state drives deployed (SSD); 2) if you don’t, to switch from magnetic storage volumes to SSD, you must rebuild each WorkSpace from scratch. That’s a lot of work. Further, VMs are deployed on a 1:1 basis, meaning that they need to be managed individually. That’s pretty hard to do in a large-scale environment.

itopia CAS, on the other hand, is an end-to-end IT and cloud infrastructure management solution for GCP. With CAS, IT administrators can manage every level of the IT stack required to run RDS environments, server-only deployments and GPU-accelerated virtual graphics workstations – all through a single and intuitive dashboard. From that same interface, IT pros can automate the extension of Active Directory (AD) domains to multiple sites in Google Cloud for disaster recovery. itopia’s one-to-many approach also makes it much simpler to manage cloud environments at scale, while still enabling granular customization. In other words, itopia CAS + Google Cloud is much more than a cloud-based virtual desktop and app offering, but a complete cloud management solution that’s super easy to administer.

Digging into more detail: itopia CAS + Google Cloud Features vs AWS WorkSpaces

Simpler management and lower TCO are at top of mind for anyone running a business. While the two solutions share many of the same automation and orchestration capabilities, itopia CAS + Google Cloud offers a better management and value for several reasons. Let’s start with the lowest hanging fruit is in regards to basic infrastructure costs. AWS charges per hour or month for WorkSpaces, whereas Google Cloud offers per-second billing for infrastructure resource usage. Considering how unused cloud resources can add up really fast, this alone makes a huge difference. In addition, Google Cloud far outperforms AWS on network performance and value, as we detailed here. Google Cloud also offers the most competitive pricing in the market.

Let’s also look at some of the unique features itopia + Google Cloud have that AWS WorkSpaces lack.

  • GCP Custom Machine Types – As we mentioned before, a serious limitation of AWS WorkSpaces is the inability to customize infrastructure resources for each VM. GCP offers “custom machine types”, which enable IT pros to create VMs with a customizable combination of RAM and CPU. These are easily configurable through the itopia CAS dashboard and give organizations a great way to cut costs.
  • On-premises discovery and catalog – itopia CAS enables the automated discovery on on-prem IT components through the network or on end users’ PCs. Once all elements of the environment are discovered, CAS lists them in the management portal. This gives IT admins simple, and clear visibility into the existing environment, and a way to control it in a secure and centralized way.
  • User/app/file activity monitoring – One of the newest capabilities of CAS, you can  now automatically tracks resource utilization at the: infrastructure, user, application and file level, to give you detailed insight into your implementation. Through integration with Google Cloud BigQuery, IT pros can also view and optimize their cloud environments according to specific business and operational requirements.
  • Server uptime scheduling – itopia CAS enables IT admins to schedule when servers spin up or down based on business demand. This feature alone makes it possible to cut GCP infrastructure costs by up to 50 percent. How? If your company only needs to be on five days a week and eight hours a day – rather than 24×7 – servers can be scheduled to automatically turn on or off. You even have the flexibility leave just a couple of servers on for power users.
  • Third-party integration – AWS does provide API integration with limited and not necessarily widely used set third-party apps. itopia CAS, on the other hand, enables seamless integration modern SaaS apps like Slack, ConnectWise and Zendesk. This enables your workforce to be more collaborative and productive, and can be enabled through single-click deployments on the CAS portal.

Arguably, Amazon put the wind behind the DaaS market sails with AWS WorkSpaces. We can only thank them for that. However, while WorkSpaces may perform just fine for very basic cloud desktop deployments, at itopia we’ve doubled down on a true enterprise-grade solution. Plus, there’s no need to get under the hood of GCP infrastructure – ever.  We chose to differentiate on Google Cloud because of the company’s superior network, intuitive APIs, world-class security and the lowest IaaS costs available. We developed CAS to not only take advantage of those things, but to enable easier IT infrastructure management at the lowest cost possible. Unlike AWS, costs are crazy transparent and easily manageable.

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