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Windows 365 streams a full PC experience to any device

by Mark Tyson on 15 July 2021, 10:11

Tags: Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Windows 10

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Microsoft has announced Windows 365, a new service which puts Windows into the cloud and lets IT managers allocate/deploy 'Cloud PCs' very much like they would other networked PCs using tools like Microsoft Endpoint Manager (MEM). Yes, this service is debuting for business only, and will become generally available from 2nd August this year. It will start as a service based upon a personalised cloud hosted Windows 10 machine, but the service will be upgraded to Windows 11 in due course.

In brief, Windows 365 allows users to access a consistent personalised PC in the cloud with all the apps that IT management have OKed/licensed, as well as providing storage for your work files. As it is a hybrid environment, wherever you go you will still have safe/secure access to resources at the office like file servers and so on. In addition, you will enjoy pick-up and continue where you left off across any device with a browser or native support for Microsoft's 365 apps.

"With Windows 365, we're creating a new category: the Cloud PC," said Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO, Microsoft. "Just like applications were brought to the cloud with SaaS, we are now bringing the operating system to the cloud, providing organizations with greater flexibility and a secure way to empower their workforce to be more productive and connected, regardless of location."

In the video above you can get an overview of the new streaming Cloud PC service from Microsoft and some interesting background information about deployment, configuration, capabilities - as well as a demo of Windows 365 working across a laptop and iPad. Whichever device you move to, and log into your Windows 365 account with, your personalised Windows experience including your desktop, apps, content - are persistent. It is pointed out that, once logged in and working in a Cloud PC, the internal operations are on Microsoft's servers so are extremely fast (see pic at bottom of this article).

Microsoft says that it had Windows 365 in development before the pandemic, but the virus and WFH movement "really put the firecracker behind". It reckons Windows 365 addresses the problem of feeling connected to the office, while being away, better than ever before. Will it be popular on Chromebooks?



HEXUS Forums :: 12 Comments

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I'd be interested in testing this and seeing what they're providing as the connection method because RDP really isn't sufficient for a lot of designers, CAD-ers and visual needs. Something like Parsec, Shadows tech or at least a competitor to how Citrix does things.

If things like GPU/DL stuff can be bolted onto these, I could actually see a great scalable use case to get rid of the 20 or so ad-hoc desktops in our development office. Well, i'll have to calculate operational costs to compare and depending on the hourly cost of these desktops!
Tabbykatze
I'd be interested in testing this and seeing what they're providing as the connection method because RDP really isn't sufficient for a lot of designers, CAD-ers and visual needs. Something like Parsec, Shadows tech or at least a competitor to how Citrix does things.

If things like GPU/DL stuff can be bolted onto these, I could actually see a great scalable use case to get rid of the 20 or so ad-hoc desktops in our development office. Well, i'll have to calculate operational costs to compare and depending on the hourly cost of these desktops!

Might well be a suitable option for a business that needs a large number of new workhorse machines which mostly run webapps. Thinking the NHS where a huge number of computers are running on 2GB of RAM and it's full / into virtual memory as soon as you have booted. Obviously replacing a few thousand machines is expensive and they still work so they don't calculate the massive cost in wasted time and frustration as staff fight to get anything done. Something like this might be doable on the existing machines, offloading the compute and memory stuff elsewhere.
Tabbykatze
I'd be interested in testing this and seeing what they're providing as the connection method because RDP really isn't sufficient for a lot of designers, CAD-ers and visual needs. Something like Parsec, Shadows tech or at least a competitor to how Citrix does things.

If things like GPU/DL stuff can be bolted onto these, I could actually see a great scalable use case to get rid of the 20 or so ad-hoc desktops in our development office. Well, i'll have to calculate operational costs to compare and depending on the hourly cost of these desktops!

Cost would definitely be key. As a software dev I've been deliberately turning down a swap from desktop to laptop due to the performance drop. With something like this where I could do my work on any basic laptop (+ monitor/KB/Mouse ). I guess said laptop wouldn't even need managing by corporate that much which would also reduce costs.
It has some potentially interesting possibilities, if the minimum period is short enough, but personally I loathe the trend to subscription models. I'm not saying they don't have their place, especially for business users but they aren't for me. I moved my workflow (of about 20 years or more) away from Photoshop and Lightroom (albeit more latterly than 20 years) to ACDSee and Affinity Photo and this was a major part of why. If I won't use it for Adobe, I won't use it for MS.

But I do remember the jeers and catcalls during the W8 farce when I said MS's “direction of travel” was to subscription models and, well, nobody likes to say “I told you so” but …. nah, who I kidding, I love saying it. :D
This could be handy if it lets you have in effect a couple of VMs where you can install all those expensive 1-user licences that people can then log into as they need to. I imagine that will be frowned upon as MS will want you to buy lots of those licences (MS Project, Visual Studio etc) and more other software companies are demanding user accounts and online log-in via their portals now even for licenced software. It's rather invasive IMO but they have you over a barrel when it's the industry defacto and you don;t really have a choice.