On July 14 and 15, Microsoft organized their second virtual Inspire. Inspire is Microsoft’s annual event for Microsoft partners. This year’s conference illustrated ways Microsoft collaborates with partners like you to provide a best-in-class experience for your customers. The Microsoft Inspire story gives Microsoft partners insights in upcoming products, solutions, tools, and changes in the CSP landscape. All with the goal to give you opportunities to build differentiated solutions and grow your business.
In this blog article, I want to introduce you to one of the newest announcements that will be available as of August 2, 2021: Windows 365.
What is Windows 365?
Windows 365 is the world’s first Cloud PC. Windows 365 securely streams your personalized Windows desktop, apps, settings, and content from the cloud to any device.
A Cloud PC provides customers a virtualized computing experience where they can stream their Windows experience from the Microsoft cloud to any device, which gives them a hybrid personalized computing experience in the context of the Cloud PC refers to the Windows client operating system.
With Windows 365, Windows becomes a “hybrid” local OS and cloud OS. Organizations can choose whether a PC, with its locally installed operating system or a Cloud PC, with its cloud-based operating system, is the best fit for a given user or role in the organization. In some cases, a given user may benefit from having both, using the best tool for the job(s) at hand at the moment. Either way, the evolution of Windows into a hybrid local/cloud OS brings new possibilities to organizations of all sizes.
Most modern devices with an internet connection will work with Windows 365 including devices supported by Windows 10 and, when available, Windows 11, as well as Mac OS / iOS / Android. Certain features may require specific hardware.
Summary of the benefits
Streamed across devices: You’ll be able to boot instantly to your Cloud PC, streaming your Windows experience to any of your devices.
- Always ready and updated: Streamed from the cloud and traveling with you, Windows 365 is always ready and always updated, wherever you are, on whatever device that you want to work on. It’s a simple and versatile Windows experience delivered by the Microsoft cloud.
- Personal and familiar: Windows 365 is personalized and familiar with all your settings and content, so when you go back into your Cloud PC, it’s right where you left it.
- Scalable and resilient: Windows 365 is secure by design, using the power of the cloud and the principles of Zero Trust. Information is secured and stored in the cloud, and not on the device.
- Predictable costs: Windows 365 makes purchasing Cloud PCs predictable with per user per month pricing.
- Simple to buy, deploy, and manage: Windows 365 simplifies procurement, deployment, management, and updates because, unlike other solutions, it uses virtualization behind the scenes.
Who is the Windows 365 customer?
Windows 365 is suited for any organization of any size that needs secure and agile hybrid work solutions for elastic workforces, distributed employees or specialized workloads with versatile compute and storage capabilities, accessible on any device.
Now you might be wondering “Is Windows 365 just a new name for Azure Virtual Desktop?”. But the answer is no, Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop are two distinct solutions that Microsoft now offers:
Windows 365 is designed for simplicity, allowing customers to get the benefits of personalized Cloud PCs without requiring VDI or Azure expertise. It also provides predictable per user/per month pricing to simplify managing costs. Windows 365 is for those customers who are not already widely invested in VDI or virtualization expertise/resources or those who wish to move to a fixed cost per-user, as-a-service model.
Azure Virtual Desktop is designed for maximum flexibility. It provides organizations that have virtualization experience with a flexible, highly customizable option. Its consumption-based pricing makes it appropriate for any scenario, including low-usage use cases. It also supports non-persistent desktops, remote app streaming, multi-session virtual machines, and deep customization.
And as simple as Windows 365 is to manage, there will always be a group of customers that still wants to use the existing virtualization solutions Citrix or VMware. But because Windows 365 is easier and fast to deploy, you as a partner can manage a large customer base, quicker. Microsoft’s idea of Windows 365 is all about giving customers a choice.
Have your customers try it free of charge for two months
Windows 365 is available in two editions: Windows 365 Enterprise and Windows 365 Business. They each include a complete cloud-based offering with multiple Cloud PC configurations based on performance needs. Customers can purchase Windows 365 as a separate license per user for a fixed monthly fee to access and use the Cloud PC(s). Additional costs may apply based on network usage.
Windows 365 is meant to support a wide range of individual productivity scenarios including document and content creation, sharing, meetings, and collaboration. The intended use does not include server-like usage such as website hosting and content streaming.
Windows 365 Enterprise
All network traffic goes through the Azure virtual network used to set up the on-premises network connection. Azure bandwidth pricing will apply for network usage.
Windows 365 Enterprise is for organizations that want to manage their Cloud PCs with Microsoft Endpoint Manager and take advantage of integrations with other Microsoft services, including Azure Active Directory and Microsoft Defender for Endpoint. Windows 365 Enterprise requires that each user be licensed with a Windows 10 Pro subscription, Microsoft Endpoint Manager, and Azure Active Directory P1, which is included in Microsoft 365 F3, Microsoft 365 E3, Microsoft 365 E5, Microsoft 365 A3, Microsoft 365 A5, Microsoft 365 Business Premium, and Microsoft 365 Education Student Use Benefit subscriptions.
Windows 365 Business
Windows 365 Business is for smaller organizations that want a simple way to buy, deploy, and manage Cloud PCs.
Outbound data volume limits apply. Typical outbound data activities include saving a file from the Cloud PC to an external location and data transfer outside of Microsoft cloud services. The outbound data levels included with Windows 365 Business are intended to cover these typical user activities. Beyond these levels, Microsoft may restrict bandwidth and outbound data volume on a case-by-case basis to protect the quality of service for all Windows 365 users and customers.
Trials are available for the three signature Windows 365 configurations: Basic, Standard, and Premium. A trial includes one user license and is available for two months. Customers who qualify should select the trial offer that includes Windows Hybrid Benefit.
For existing Microsoft 365 customers, the trial is available through the Microsoft 365 admin center. Contact your global administrator or billing administrator to sign up for the Windows 365 trial via the Microsoft 365 Admin portal.
- Windows 365 Business free trial (available August 2, 2021)
- Windows 365 Enterprise free trial (available August 2, 2021)
Starting August 2nd, Windows 365 provides your organization with great new opportunities. This new cloud service lets you and your customers a whole new way to experience Windows 10 and Windows 11 by streaming the personalized apps, settings, and content from the Microsoft cloud to any device. It’s easy to deploy and to use and it can save you and your customer’s costs. On August 18 Microsoft will give a go-to-market webinar for partners. We would advise you to register and attend the webinar. Great pages to also check after August 2nd are: