Windows 365 is a new Microsoft cloud service that securely streams the complete Windows 10 or Windows 11 experience including all apps, data, and settings on personal or corporate devices – to the Microsoft Cloud.
Cloud PC is the next step in Microsoft’s cloud-first strategy, which began with Windows Server on Azure and continues with the Office suite as part of Microsoft 365. Windows 365, in conjunction with Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365, will enable the post-pandemic digital workplace of the future, allowing businesses to respond to changing work demands in a hybrid work environment.
This new paradigm, according to Microsoft, isn’t only about permitting and safeguarding remote access but also about increasing user experience and productivity. Windows 365 is based on Azure Virtual Desktop, which streamlines the virtualization process and eliminates the complexity of traditional VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) installations.
Virtualization may be challenging to set up and manage, especially for companies without dedicated IT staff. On the other hand, large companies can continue to use Azure Virtual Desktop to update their VDI in the cloud if they want more customization and flexibility.
Benefits of Windows 365
Regardless of the device or operating system – Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, or Android – Windows 365 provides a consistent Windows experience. It supports Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365, Power Platform, line of business applications, other third-party apps, and line of business apps and other third-party apps. In addition, customers with 150 or more users will be eligible for Microsoft’s free App Assure service, which helps address app compatibility concerns.
It offers an instant-on boot experience that allows users to stream all of their personalized apps, tools, data, and settings from the cloud to any device, allowing them to pick up just where they left off on their preferred device. Even when a user switches devices, the status of their Cloud PC remains the same.
IT teams may use Windows 365 to buy quickly, provision, and deploy Cloud PCs, with optional automatic OS updates. The administrator can improve Windows endpoint experiences, while the company may adopt computing and settings for an agile workforce and expand with a user’s changing compute requirements.
It also enables companies to grow during busy periods without the logistical hurdles of releasing new hardware by letting them ramp on and off according to business demands. With a per user per month pricing model, businesses will select the size of Cloud PC that best suits their needs.
Technical Requirements for Using Microsoft 365
Microsoft 365 and Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS) subscriptions and Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) plans include Windows 365. According to an article on the Microsoft Tech Community site, you must meet the following criteria to utilize Windows 365:
- Licenses needed 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 to resolve Active Directory records 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
There are also a bunch of other Azure configuration requirements that you can check out here.
While small companies may buy Cloud PCs for their enterprises using a simple self-service approach, enterprise IT can utilize Microsoft Endpoint Manager to procure, install, and manage Cloud PCs for their organizations.
Windows 365 is in line with how IT already maintains physical devices. In Microsoft Endpoint Manager, the Cloud PCs will appear alongside real instruments, and the IT staff can apply management and security rules to them just like any other device. In addition, IT administrators may install apps, software updates, and operating systems and monitor compliance and query and act on clients in real-time, using Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager.
IT can also scale processing power and monitor the Cloud PC’s performance to ensure users get the best possible experience. There is also built-in analytics to look at network connection health to ensure Cloud PC users have access to everything they need and quickly detect Cloud PC settings that aren’t meeting their performance requirements.
The Microsoft 365 admin area at admin.microsoft.com is where you may buy and assign Windows 365 licenses. The IT administrator can provide a Cloud PC from the admin center after purchasing and giving a Windows 365 license to an active user.
Windows 365 Cloud PC
Microsoft built the Information Worker Portal – cloudpc.microsoft.com – to allow end-users to select between accessing their Cloud PC via the web, macOS, Android, or the Remote Desktop (MSRDC) client it easier for them. In addition, if the user has self-service upgrade access, they will also see the Restart workspace option, which they may utilize in an emergency or to address performance issues that necessitate a reboot of the system.
Windows 365 offers a wide range of endpoints, each with varying levels of capability. Of course, a Windows desktop is the most excellent way to enjoy Windows 365, but various situations may have distinct demands that one or more endpoints may meet.
The user and admin experiences in Windows 365 have been developed on the idea of least privileged access, emphasizing a Zero Trust architecture. It saves data in the cloud rather than on the device, and it employs encryption throughout. All managed disks that operate Cloud PCs are encrypted, as are all stored data at rest and all network traffic to and from the Cloud PCs.
When enabled by the IT administrator, Windows 365 supports multi-factor authentication (MFA) and passwordless authentication. Through interaction with Microsoft Azure Active Directory, MFA explicitly validates each login or access attempt to a Cloud PC (Azure AD).
If the company utilizes Microsoft Defender for Endpoint to secure its devices, Cloud PCs will be protected. It not only secures their Cloud PCs but also provides security advice to reduce risks and assist in the rapid detection and investigation of any security issues.
Unlike other virtualization services, Windows 365 is characterized by a per-user-assigned license, which administrators may assign to users using the Microsoft 365 admin center interface in the same way they would other permits, such as a Microsoft 365 E3/E5 license.
Business and Enterprise editions of Windows 365 will be available. In addition, individual Cloud PCs may be set with a single CPU, 2GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage at the low end, all the way up to eight CPUs, 32GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage at the high end, according to Microsoft.
Microsoft has guidance on example scenarios ranging from a 1vCPU / 2GB / 64GB option that works for frontline workers, call centers, education/training/CRM access. In addition, it can handle web-based Office apps, Microsoft Edge, OneDrive, and lightweight line-of-business apps to the top-of-the-line 8vCPU / 32GB / 512GB option that works for software developers engineers, and others as well as design and engineering.
When You Will Be Able to Use Microsoft 365?
On August 2, 2021, companies of all sizes will be able to use Windows 365. At the same time, Microsoft will disclose the price on that day. It accidentally released the approximate cost of one of the versions during a Microsoft Inspire session, picked up by Tom Warren of The Verge and then verified by Microsoft. A Windows 365 Cloud PC with 2vCPU, 4GB, and 128GB appears to cost $31 a month per user. Citrix’s Desktop-as-a-Service costs $25 per month per user for a similar arrangement, whereas Amazon’s desktop virtualization costs $33 per month per user.
Technically, Windows 365 is identical to the plethora of virtualization alternatives available on the market for years, including Microsoft’s Azure Virtual Desktop and similar products from Citrix and VMware.
Windows 365, on the other hand, is intended for today’s mobile and elastic workforces and promises to outperform them in terms of simplicity of use and administration. It will also appeal to companies that have wanted to investigate virtualized infrastructure but have been concerned about prices or difficulties due to a lack of in-house knowledge.