Amazon AppStream is a cloud-based service to centrally manage and stream your desktop applications securely to the end-users via a web browser or even embedded into an existing web interface.
To start streaming the application an image with preinstalled software needs to be created. The image is then used to configure the fleet of instances and finally define a stack - the combination of the fleet, users’ policies and storage options.
1. Create an image with your application
- With an existing AWS account in place, navigate to the console https://console.aws.amazon.com/appstream2 and select the preferred region from the navigation panel in the top right corner.
- To launch a graphical image builder either:
- Select Images on the lest and in Image Builder tab click Launch Image Builder;
- or shall the console welcome you with Get Started, chose it and proceed with Custom Setup
- Configure the image builder as guided by the wizard, such as:
- Select the base image with the desired Windows version and instance family;
- Next, give it a name and chose a matching instance type;
- Select the network where to start an image builder instance. If the instance is placed in the public subnet and requires internet select Default Internet Access. Please note, this network configuration is for image builder only, the production configuration will be set up separately in the next section for the production use.
- Image Builder instance will shortly be available and the status changes to Running. Click Connect to log into the instance. Proceed with a local Administrator or personal user credentials if the Active Directory has been configured on the previous steps. It’s now time to install your application or applications together with all 3rd party dependencies if applicable.
- Launch Instance Assistant from the desktop to configure the Application Catalog, the collection of applications that the user will see. Add your application(s) and proceed to the next step.
- Chose Switch User to log in to the Template User account without administrative rights to create the default configuration for the application. Once logged in start application via Image Assistant, configure default settings, switch the user back to the Administrator.
- Image Assistant should be already open, click Save Settings.
- If using Active Directory, you will need to select the user you used in the previous step.
- To verify the default configuration is properly persisted and the application behaves as expected switch to yet another user, a Test User if not using Active Directory, or another user otherwise. Start Image Assistant and select your application to perform the testing. Once done, switch back to the Administrator using the Switch User button in Image Assistant.
- Next step is to optimize the application startup, this is done automatically by Image Assistant all you need to do is to proceed with Launch on the 4 Optimize step and follow the instruction to hit Continue after application properly started.
- Finally, define the user-friend name for your image and allow the assistant to create an image. This will disconnect from the instance and it’s a time to get back to AppStream console. Select Images - Image Registry, type the name of your image to check it’s status and wait until it is reported as Available. Congratulations!
2. Configure a Fleet of instances and define a Stack
- On the left navigation panel select Fleets, chose Create Fleet, provide the fleet details and proceed to the next step.
- To quickly find the image previously created using a filter to show only Private images or filter by keywords.
- The next steps provide the selection of the right instance type for your specific applications. The instances could be Always-On possibly resulting in higher charges or launched On-Demand reducing the bill if not in use, but the trade-off is a startup time of about a minute or two. When ready chose Next.
- On this step, it’s time to define the network. Similar to Section 1.3, but for the production configuration where your fleet will be placed.
- Review the configuration and create a fleet that will host your application.
- On the left navigation panel select Stacks and chose Create Stack. Provide the name and select the fleet that has just been created. Explore the optional parameters, such as Redirect URL to provide a seamless integration at the end of the session.
- The next two steps allow you to configure home directory persistence in S3, Google Drive and OneDrive integration, and user settings, such as printing, clipboard and file transfer. Finally, after reviewing the settings acknowledge the creation of the stack with Create button.
3. Invite users
- Simplest and the fastest way to test the application or provide trial access is using a temporary streaming URL.
- Navigate to the stacks on the left panel and find your stack. Among actions chose Create Streaming URL and select the desired duration.
- Open the URL in a browser or send it to your trial customers. Chose the application to stream and start using it.
- To invite users for prolonged access to the application navigate to the User Pool.
- Create a user with email and name. Once created, the user will receive a welcoming email with necessary instructions to create a password;
- Provide the user with the access to the application by assigning the stack, select Actions-Assign stack from the dropdown menu.
- The user will receive an email with a link to login and is ready to start using the application via AppStream 2.0.
- Follow the login link and select the application from Application Catalogue