A new Windows 365 platform was announced at Microsoft’s Inspire conference. Streaming a version of Windows 10 or Windows 11 in a web browser, Windows 365 will provide access to cloud-based PCs from virtually anywhere. This new Microsoft service turns the concept of a cloud PC into a reality during a time when the pandemic is forcing businesses to integrate office and remote work. Windows 365 will let people access their favourite applications, tools, and data from anywhere via a web browser or Microsoft’s Remote Desktop mobile app. Consequently, users have the option of selecting a different device to pick up their work at a different place. Let us take a look at the Windows 365 features, pricing and all the details.
Windows 365 Features
- “Windows 365 provides an instant-on boot experience,” says Wangui McKelvey, a general manager for Microsoft 365. Workforces can access Windows and all their apps, tools, data, and settings on Macs, iPads, Linux machines, and Android devices with this instant-access technology. McKelvey explains that the state of your Cloud PC remains the same on every device, so transferring access is effortless.
- Using Cloud PCs, businesses can easily create desktop computers for employees in minutes without having to purchase dedicated hardware. Having secure access to a corporate network may be appealing to many businesses hiring contractors and remote workers.
- Windows 346 will support a range of business apps, including Microsoft 365, Microsoft Dynamics 365, and Microsoft Power Platform. In addition to managing cloud PCs, Microsoft Endpoint Manager can apply security and management policies remotely from devices using Windows 365.
- By leveraging a Zero Trust architecture, Microsoft claims the cloud PC is designed to address some of today’s most critical security challenges. Using Microsoft Azure Active Directory, the service allows for multi factor authentication to verify a user’s login or access attempt.
Windows 365 Requirements
A blog posting on Microsoft Tech Community outlines the requirements for using Windows 365:
- Licenses needed in order to use Cloud PC/Windows 365:
- Users with Windows Pro endpoints: Windows 10 Enterprise E3 + EMS E3 or Microsoft 365 F3/E3/E5/BP
- Users w/non-Windows Pro endpoints: Windows VDA E3 + EMS E3 or Microsoft 365 F3/E3/F5/BP
- Azure subscription
- Subscription Owner (setup network connection)
- Virtual Network (vNET) in Azure subscription
- Azure vNET virtual Network must route to a DNS server that can resolve Active Directory records either on-premises or on Azure.
- This AD must be in sync with Azure AD to provide a hybrid identity in Azure AD.
- Microsoft Intune supported licenses (e.g. Microsoft 365 E3)
- Intune Service Admin
“When we built this team, we brought in a couple of leaders who had experience with virtualization, but for the most part we brought in people who had experience with Windows and experience with consumer experiences because that was the bar we wanted to set,” Scott Manchester, director of program management for Windows 365 said.
Microsoft will begin offering Windows 365 to organizations of all sizes on August 2, 2021. Apparently, Microsoft will offer two versions of Windows 365 — Windows 365 Business and Windows 365 Enterprise. The company has not disclosed prices for the subscription options but has unintentionally shared one of the pricing options, $31 per user per month. As part of the aforementioned subscription, Microsoft will provide two CPUs, which has 4GB of memory and 128GB of storage.
As a virtualization platform, Windows 365 doesn’t differ from those offered by Citrix or VMware such as Microsoft’s Azure Virtual Desktop or Citrix’s vCloud Air, but Microsoft could gain users based on its brand identity.