Microsoft announces Windows 365

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A new member of the 365 family has joined us – alongside Office 365, Microsoft 365, and Dynamics 365 – we now have Windows 365.

Formerly known as Cloud PC, this latest offering enables you to stream an entire PC – including the OS, apps, and settings – from the cloud to any device. This means Windows 10 and 11 will be easily available on any device – including MacOS and Linux.

Although clearly driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and the rapid, global shift to hybrid working, something like this has been a long time coming in many regards. It’s also driven by the changing security landscape…Microsoft also see this as a way to help organisations combat the rise of security threats – let Microsoft take care of securing your desktops so you don’t have to.

Although specific pricing information hasn’t been released yet, it’s expected there will be a range of pre-set options, making it more of an “off the shelf” SaaS offering than the current Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD). Different SKUs and plans will offer different amounts of storage, processing power, memory etc. for organisations to choose from, with Satya Nadella stating this offering would be applicable to businesses of any size.

Options available

Get started with Windows 365 – Microsoft Tech Community

Licensing requirements

Users with Windows Pro endpoints require:

  • Windows 10 Enterprise E3 + EMS E3

while users with non-Windows Pro endpoints require:

  • Windows VDA E3 + EMS E3

Alternatively, both scenarios can be covered by licenses for:

  • Microsoft 365 F3/E3/E5/Business Premium

Technical requirements

It’s not quite as straightforward as just having those licenses, you will also need:

  • Azure subscription
  • Azure Virtual Network
  • Azure Active Directory sync
  • Certain ports open

to ensure that everything works optimally.

More information on the requirements and how to provision can be found here.

Finally…

Not surprisingly, there will be 2 flavours available:

  • Windows 365 Business
  • Windows 365 Enterprise

and it is set to launch on August 2, 2021. I look forward to seeing more information as it becomes available…and hopefully trying it out myself!

Update

While Microsoft are yet to announce official pricing, pricing for 1 SKU has been revealed. For a desktop with 2vCPU/4GB RAM/128GB storage it will $31 per user per month ($372 per year) – which strikes me as quite expensive…

Further Reading

Microsoft announcement

Windows 365 page

Technical requirements

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