Microsoft unveils Windows 365 ‘Cloud PC’ service

This is a new cloud service that streams the ‘Windows experience’ to any device on the Microsoft Cloud

Microsoft today unveiled Windows 365, a Windows 10 or Windows 11 as a cloud service that streams the “full Windows experience”, such as apps, data, and settings, to any device on the Microsoft Cloud.

The company declared that Windows 365, which will be generally available on 2 August to organisations of all sizes, has created “a new hybrid personal computing category” called the Cloud PC, which uses the cloud to provide a “personalised Windows experience”.

“The Windows experience is consistent, no matter the device. You can pick up right where you left off, because the state of your Cloud PC remains the same, even when you switch devices,” said Wangui McKelvey, general manager of Microsoft 365.

Users will be able to turn on their device, launch a native app or modern web browser and log on to their Windows 365 account. 

“From there, their Cloud PC appears with their background, their apps, their settings and their content just as they left it when they last were last there [sic]–in the office, at home or a coffee shop,” she said.

Microsoft 365 running on a device on the cloud

McKelvey added that seasonal workers can ramp on and off according to the needs of the business, allowing organisations to scale for busy periods without the “complicated logistical and security challenges of issuing new hardware”.

Furthermore, she underlined that all data is stored in the cloud, so “you won’t have any issues around security because you’re not saving anything on your device”.

All managed disks running Cloud PCs are encrypted, all stored data is encrypted at rest, and all network traffic to and from Cloud PCs is also encrypted.

Users will be able to choose the size of the Cloud PC that best meets their needs, with per user, per month pricing. Users select Windows 10 or Windows 11 along with a configuration of processing power, storage, and memory. They can then access their Cloud PC on this new platform, as long as they have an internet connection. 

Organisations will also be able to choose between two edition options that include a cloud-based offering with multiple Cloud PC configurations based on performance needs: Windows 365 Business and Windows 365 Enterprise.

Moreover, enterprise IT can use Microsoft Endpoint Manager to procure, deploy, and manage Cloud PCs for their organisation. The tech giant said that small businesses can use a self-service model to procure Cloud PCs for their organisations without a need for IT experience.

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“Windows 365 is really going to make a huge difference for organisations that wanted to try virtualisation for various reasons but could not – maybe it was too costly, too complex or they didn’t have the expertise in house to do it,” McKelvey added.

The new platform is built on the Azure Virtual Desktop but simplifies virtualisation, according to the tech giant. Organisations can scale processing power and monitor the performance of the Cloud PC to make sure users are getting the best experience.

Microsoft has also built-in analytics to analyse connection health across the network and, from the Endpoint Analytics dashboard, the company said it is easy to identify the Cloud PC environments that are not delivering the performance needs of a given user.

McKelvey also said that the ability to log into a Cloud PC from anywhere on any device is part of the tech giant’s larger strategy around tailoring products, like Teams and Microsoft 365, for the post-pandemic hybrid workforce of the future. 

“It enables employees accustomed to working from home to continue working from home; it enables companies to hire interns from halfway around the world; it allows startups to scale without requiring IT expertise,” she said.

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