Workspaces : Hourly or Monthly - What's the right one?


AWS Offers a really great Virtual Desktop solution, AWS Workspaces, which offloads a large majority of the effort of implementing VDIs into your organization. Like many different things in AWS, there are different pricing options available. Our goal today is to help you understand the differences between Hourly and Monthly pricing options and help you decide which one works best for you.

What’s the difference between hourly and monthly pricing?

AWS Workspaces have two different pricing options available, monthly pricing allows you to ensure that the cost will never exceed a certain amount over the course of the month, but what if your users are going to use this sparingly? That’s where hourly pricing comes into play. Users pay a monthly price for the provisioning of the workspace and hourly utilization costs.

When should I use Hourly or Monthly?

It's pretty simple, if the user averages greater than a certain amount of hours, you should opt for monthly instances. If the utilization is lower, utilize hourly instances with the auto-suspend feature


On average, Linux Workspaces have a breakeven between 77 and 125 hours per month - instances with a larger amount of storage have a longer breakeven period


On average, Windows Workspaces have a breakeven between 78 and 130 hours per month - instances with a larger amount of storage have a longer breakeven period

The above charts will help you easily identify the breakeven point for each of the instance types available for AWS Workspaces.

Why not just use local?

You may be asking, why should we even use AWS for this? We've done virtual desktops at our organization before.

  • Scalability: Organizations frequently build clusters for their virtual desktop systems, over the years they become woefully over provisioned leading to poor performance. Each of these resources are dedicated to your user, so you know they'll get the full performance
  • Management: AWS Provides a great interface for managing virtual desktops, and offloads a majority of the hard work to themselves.
  • Compliance/Security: Instead of managing your own cluster in a datacenter, AWS takes that burden off of you - and with that, they take a majority of the burden of securing it off you as well. You'll still need to use the shared security model, but you're responsible for less
  • Client: Surprisingly, the AWS Workspaces client is pretty great now - and the majority of platforms support the client

What next?

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