Microsoft has introduced a new way to deploy Windows Virtual Desktops (WVD), Windows 365 Cloud PC. The new service promises to remove the complexity associated with deploying traditional WVD or Virtual Desktop Interface across an organization. Microsoft is pricing this offering in much the same way as their other products, using an as-a-Service model of monthly billing per user.
Windows 365 Benefits
Windows 365 is easier to setup than a traditional VDI. Gone are the complex sizing and load balancing of a VDI infrastructure, and resources can still be scaled up or scaled down as needed. A Windows 365 virtual machine can run on almost any device. The service has native applications for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android, or can run on any modern browser (basically anything that can run Remote Desktop Service).
Hardware can be an expensive purchase and is now subject to ongoing supply chain issues. Since a Virtual Machine runs completely in the cloud, Windows 365 looks to extend the life of existing hardware that a company has already purchased. For new hardware, companies can select lower cost machines and terminals, or allow employees to bring their own devices without compromising security.
Security is built into the design of Windows 365. All storage and processing is done on the trusted Azure cloud and no data is stored on the local machine. Established Microsoft security roles can be used, making it easy to manage and an extension of the security framework a company has already established for employees.
As already mentioned, Windows 365 is offered using an as-a-Service pricing model. What this provides is a predictable monthly cost to an organization. For companies that scale employees or use temporary workers, an as-a-Service model for computing can be much more cost effective than providing new computers and easier to deploy.
Windows 365 Catagories
Windows 365 offers two tiers in addition to the different sizes for machines. Those tiers are similar to their Office licenses, Business and Enterprise.
Windows 365 for Business is limited to 300 users or less, like the Microsoft and Office 365 Business licenses. Management is made simple through the use of a web portal or through your Cloud Solutions Partner (CSP). There are no additional Microsoft licenses that are required and Cloud PCs are joined to your domain using Azure AD Join without Azure Virtual Network (VNet) support. Images and policies are standardized to make deployments and management simple.
The Enterprise tier has no restrictions on user count. Each user must be licensed for Windows 10 or 11, Endpoint Manager, and Azure AD P1. Management can be done using Microsoft Endpoint Manager and an organization has the ability to create custom PC images in addition to the templates provided by Microsoft. Provisioning is customizable, Microsoft Administrators can configure user permissions and assign the policy to an Azure AD Group. Policies can be managed using Group Policy Objects or Intune MDM.
Device management and Security is more robust at the Enterprise Tier and Microsoft support tickets can be opened through Endpoint Manager or the Admin Center.
Pricing for both Tiers is included in the tables at the end of this post.
How it works
Windows 365 virtual machines are sized using three categories; Processor (cpu), RAM, and Hard Drive. Once this is selected, an image is assigned to the machine. The image can be either a template or a custom image. Lastly, a user is assigned to the new machine. Users will have a 1:1 dedicated cloud PC, so they can save files to the machine and pick up exactly where they left off when they log into their device.
Windows 365 leverages Microsoft Intune to deploy apps to individual machines or across an entire organization. And the service is completely integrated with Microsoft Endpoint Manager and Azure AD (for Enterprise only).
Is Windows 365 Worth it?
Like other as-a-Service offerings, the cost is a trade-off between CapEx and OpEx. Buying a tradition workstation provides a lower total cost over the useful life of a device, but must be purchased upfront and replaced periodically. Going with a Cloud PC offers low or no upfront cost but may cost more over time. The factor that should be considered is any costs associated with managing and backing up a physical device.
In addition, an organization should evaluate the benefit of the additional flexibility offered by a Windows 365 Cloud PC. Employees can work from anywhere and on virtually any device. Computing resources can scale on a short term basis as needed. And temporary employees can be resourced much easier and with less expense.
Another note to consider, Windows 365 can be used as a supplement to your existing hardware inventory. It may not make sense for all your employees, but it can be used strategically for a subset of your team.
What to do next?
If Windows 365 Cloud PC sounds like it could fit into your ongoing IT strategy, more details on the offering are available through this Microsoft page. For help developing a deployment strategy, evaluating the offering, and managing the Windows 365 infrastructure going forward, it's best to reach out to a trusted Microsoft CSP partner like Beringer Technology Group.
|1 vCPU||2 GB RAM||64 GB Storage||$20.00 user/month|
|2 vCPU||4 GB RAM||64 GB Storage||$28.00 user/month|
|2 vCPU||4 GB RAM||128 GB Storage||$31.00 user/month|
|2 vCPU||4 GB RAM||256 GB Storage||$40.00 user/month|
|2 vCPU||8 GB RAM||128 GB Storage||$41.00 user/month|
|2 vCPU||8 GB RAM||256 GB Storage||$50.00 user/month|
|4 vCPU||16 GB RAM||128 GB Storage||$66.00 user/month|
|4 vCPU||16 GB RAM||256 GB Storage||$75.00 user/month|
|4 vCPU||16 GB RAM||512 GB Storage||$101.00 user/month|
|8 vCPU||32 GB RAM||128 GB Storage||$123.00 user/month|
|8 vCPU||32 GB RAM||256 GB Storage||$132.00 user/month|
|8 vCPU||32 GB RAM||512 GB Storage||$158.00 user/month|
|Processor||RAM||Storage||Monthly subscription||Monthly subscription w/ Windows Hybrid Benefit|
|1 vCPU||2 GB RAM||64 GB Storage||$24.00 user/month||$20.00 user/month|
|2 vCPU||4 GB RAM||64 GB Storage||$32.00 user/month||$28.00 user/month|
|2 vCPU||4 GB RAM||128 GB Storage||$35.00 user/month||$31.00 user/month|
|2 vCPU||4 GB RAM||256 GB Storage||$44.00 user/month||$40.00 user/month|
|2 vCPU||8 GB RAM||128 GB Storage||$45.00 user/month||$41.00 user/month|
|2 vCPU||8 GB RAM||256 GB Storage||$54.00 user/month||$50.00 user/month|
|4 vCPU||16 GB RAM||128 GB Storage||$70.00 user/month||$66.00 user/month|
|4 vCPU||16 GB RAM||256 GB Storage||$79.00 user/month||$75.00 user/month|
|4 vCPU||16 GB RAM||512 GB Storage||$105.00 user/month||$101.00 user/month|
|8 vCPU||32 GB RAM||128 GB Storage||$127.00 user/month||$123.00 user/month|
|8 vCPU||32 GB RAM||256 GB Storage||$136.00 user/month||$132.00 user/month|
|8 vCPU||32 GB RAM||512 GB Storage||$162.00 user/month||$158.00 user/month|
Virtual PCs are one of the many Microsoft innovations that the Beringer team can help your business to implement. Give us a call - we're happy to help!
Beringer Technology Group, a leading Microsoft Gold Certified Partner specializing in Microsoft Dynamics 365 and CRM for Distribution also provides expert Managed IT Services, Backup and Disaster Recovery, Cloud Based Computing, Email Security Implementation and Training, Unified Communication Solutions, and Cybersecurity Risk Assessment.