It’s good to finally see Windows 365 Cloud PC arrive. I’ve been talking about Microsoft’s Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) for years. (Yes, I know all about Windows 11, which I think is just a huge security patch for Windows 10. Windows 11 was never, as some people think, the future of Windows. )
The office of tomorrow, as far as Microsoft is concerned, will be Windows running on its Azure cloud.
When I say “Windows running on the Azure cloud” I mean running on the cloud. There must be some kind of operating system on your PC, but frankly Microsoft doesn’t care what you use. As Wangui McKelvey, Managing Director of Microsoft 365, said: “Windows 365 brings the operating system to the Microsoft cloud, securely delivering the full Windows experience – including all your apps, data, and settings – on your personal or corporate devices. This approach creates a whole new category of personal computing, specifically for the hybrid world: the Cloud PC. “
Microsoft explicitly states that you will be able to stream all of your custom apps, tools, data, and settings from the cloud to any device. And that means any, including Macs, iPads, Linux PCs, and Android devices. No matter what you are running, you will get the same Windows experience. It also means “You can pick up where you left off, because the state of your Cloud PC remains the same, even when you change devices.”
What about internal applications? While Microsoft can’t promise that you’ll be able to run a custom program that you set up in the 1990s, Windows 365 supports all of its business apps – Microsoft 365, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Microsoft Power Platform – line-of-business apps, and more. . The company also promises to keep its promise of application compatibility with Microsoft’s Fastrack App Assure. This is a service designed to help businesses with 150 or more users troubleshoot application issues at no additional cost.
Microsoft has also worked with its independent software vendor (ISV) partners. The four biggest turning their efforts to Windows 365 are Nerdio, NetApp, ServiceNow and UKG.
Microsoft is not reinventing the wheel here. As I have pointed out ad nauseam, Microsoft has switched to Windows DaaS for years now. Specifically, Windows 365 is built on Azure Virtual Desktop. Unlike Azure Virtual Desktop, which requires an expert to configure properly, Microsoft configures Windows 365 for you. You control the scaling of your Windows 365 instances and monitor Cloud PC performance, and you don’t need to be an Azure Solutions Architect expert to build and manage your new virtual Cloud PCs.
By the way, Azure Virtual Desktop isn’t going anywhere. He will always be there. The main difference between Azure Virtual Desktop and Windows 365 is that the former is optimized for flexibility, while the latter is configured for simplicity.
So, does all of this sound interesting? If so, you won’t have to wait long to try it out. Windows 365 will be available on August 2.
If this all sounds familiar to you, it should. Microsoft has always said DaaS is the plan – if you listen to it enough. And Google has been offering a similar universal DaaS plan with its Chromebooks for over a decade.
I recently noted that we will soon have two “office” choices. One will be cloud-based with Windows 365 Cloud PC and Chrome OS. The other will be the older PC-centric operating systems: Linux and macOS. This day is coming faster than ever.
Say hello to the real future of Windows. Like everything else in IT, it floats in the cloud.
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