Put Your PCs in the Cloud with Windows 365
In the conventional desktop computing environment, everyone in the company has a PC or laptop loaded with applications and data. However, these devices are costly to own, complex and time-consuming to manage, and nearly impossible to secure. According to industry estimates, managing a typical end-user desktop can cost more than$5,000 a year, including hardware maintenance, patching, software updates and security.
Microsoft is simplifying desktop management with Windows 365, the desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) solution the company launched in July. It allows you to deliver an entire Windows desktop environment from the cloud, including the operating system, applications, tools, data and settings.
With this service, there’s no need to install any software on your Windows desktops — everything is streamed from Microsoft servers. It makes managing the desktop environment much easier because there’s no need to continually upgrade hardware or software. All you need is a lightweight piece of hardware capable of running an HTML 5-compatiblebrowser.
The service effectively creates a Cloud PC that can be accessed by any client device. It doesn’t even have to be a Windows device — you can stream your entire Windows desktop environment to a Mac, iPad, Linux PC, Chromebook or Android device.
Months before launch, there were persistent rumors that Microsoft was planning to create a cloud-hosted version of the Windows 10 operating system in response to increasingly decentralized computing environments. The transition to remote and hybrid workforces requires giving employees access to corporate resources across locations and devices.
Windows 365 not only delivers that access — it makes working with a virtual desktop simple and intuitive for remote users who typically lack the technical wherewithal to troubleshoot problems. With instant-on boot to a personalized Cloud PC, users can access all their applications, tools, data and settings without any special processes. Because the desktop isn’t linked to any particular device, users can switch devices without losing any updates or changes to the cloud desktop.
Windows 365 is based on Microsoft’s existing remote desktop solution, Azure Virtual Desktop. Although both leverage similar cloud technologies, there are significant differences. For example, Windows 365 is fully managed by Microsoft and offered as a fixed-rate subscription. Azure Virtual Desktop offers more flexible pricing but is entirely managed by the customer.
Managing Azure Virtual Desktop requires organizations to have a solid understanding of virtualization and the Azure portal. Administrators must manage a technology stack that typically includes storage, compute, a hypervisor, the virtualized operating system, virtualized applications, a personalization layer and remote access protocols.
When these elements don’t work together smoothly, it can result in application crashes, WAN connectivity issues, file access problems and more. In addition, serving up desktop environments from the data center requires significant server, storage and networking resources.
Another difference is that Windows365 is a dedicated, one-to-one desktop service in which users have dedicated resources. In Azure Virtual Desktop environments, resources are often pooled in one or more virtual machines and shared by multiple users. When accessing a pooled desktop, users are assigned to whichever session host is available. Because users don’t always return to the same session host, they have limited ability to customize their desktop environment.
Supporting remote and hybrid workforces has become a significant challenge for organizations operating under conventional hardware-centric computing models. Windows 365 removes many of those challenges by allowing workers to access an entirely personalized Windows desktop environment across the cloud with just about any device. Contact us to learn more about using virtual desktops to support your remote and mobile users.