Microsoft's Windows 365 aims to bring cloud computing to the masses

Windows 365 promises to make deployments of visual desktops easier than ever before.


Earlier today, Microsoft officially announced Windows 365, a service aimed at business and enterprise customers that allows for easy access to cloud-based virtual PCs. The service will allow customers to instantly access virtual Windows 10 or 11 desktops through a web browser or other devices like tablets and smartphones. Windows 365 is expected to launch on August 2, with pricing and other details to be announced at that time.

While remote desktop access and virtual machines have been a common thing for many years now, Microsoft is betting that many businesses and workplaces will find lots of value in its subscription-based cloud PC service. Windows 365 promises to offer easy access to virtual desktops that can be pre-loaded with a user’s personal apps, data, and settings. A consistent experience across any type of device is one of the project’s goals, according to Microsoft. Having cloud-hosted PCs also allow remote employees to get to work without the need for configuring VPNs and other hassles related to ensuring workplace security.

Windows 365 is designed to be flexible, offering the flexibility to quickly scale up on the number of virtual desktops during busy periods. Bypassing the time and effort needed to set up multiple physical machines could be a big benefit in certain situations. Even if your company’s IT department is a single person, Windows 365 virtual desktops can be easily integrated into an existing fleet of managed PCs with ease. Virtual desktops will show up in line with physical machines in Microsoft Endpoint Manager.

The new service will come in two flavors: Business and Enterprise. Both will run on Azure Virtual Desktop and be available in a wide range of configurations to suit the needs of the user. On the lower end, the virtual desktops can be configured to use a single CPU core, 2GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage space. The configuration possibilities scale all the way up to 8 CPU cores with 32GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage.

We’ll know more about Windows 365, including details on pricing, when it launches next month.

Contributing Tech Editor

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin' tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don't @ him.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    July 14, 2021 11:35 AM

    Chris Jarrard posted a new article, Microsoft's Windows 365 aims to bring cloud computing to the masses

    • reply
      July 14, 2021 10:38 AM


      • reply
        July 14, 2021 10:40 AM

        Nice. I can see many orgs going this route, especially ones invested in O365 and Azure already.

      • reply
        July 14, 2021 11:54 AM

        I thought this was already a thing, but it looks like they broke up Windows Virtual Desktop into two distinct offerings for consumer and enterprise now (Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop)

        • reply
          July 14, 2021 12:30 PM

          That marketing copy doesn't seem to be targeted at consumers.

      • reply
        July 14, 2021 12:03 PM

        This makes sense considering the license fuckery they have been doing lately with o365 and VDI providers. Evil evil.

      • reply
        July 14, 2021 12:28 PM

        Lol the person's expression in the middle "I wish I'd just bought a Mac"

      • reply
        July 14, 2021 1:45 PM

        The cycle continues. A return to dumb terminals. Cool I guess?

        As great as this technology is, it will never replace the cohesiveness and responsiveness of working directly on the computer.

        I say this as someone who uses Parsec daily in a LAN environment which is about as minimal latency as we'll ever get. It's still just not the same. It's close, and it's probably good enough for a majority of people. Still not the same as local.

        • reply
          July 14, 2021 2:10 PM

          For a ton of people local compute power is largely wasted, even on something like an iPad.

          For a lot of businesses this is an attractive option. Lease cloud compute desktops and buy $150 terminals, or just institute a BYOD policy.

          Your infrastructure will be more secure and easier to manage.

          Obviously for some jobs and functions it's not good enough.

          • reply
            July 14, 2021 2:12 PM

            Yeah absolutely. I'm struggling a little bit to see how this is much different than VDI or whatever that they already had. Is it because there's a browser component for logging in and it doesn't require Remote Desktop or whatever? I guess that's cool.

            Either way, it definitely makes sense in a lot of situations.

          • reply
            July 14, 2021 2:58 PM


            • reply
              July 14, 2021 5:21 PM

              My last job did that and our average cost was $170/instance, I put together a report showing how much we would save by buying everyone an equivalent specced laptop and it was like $10 the first year and $2000/year for the following 3 years assuming EOL of 4 years. When you’re dealing with hundreds of developers the numbers add up real fast.

              Of course IT pushed back because they didn’t want to buy and provision that much hardware, then covid hit and that was the end of that.

          • reply
            July 15, 2021 7:11 AM

            Low end compute power is cheap though.

        • reply
          July 14, 2021 5:34 PM

          The hospital co I work for is going back to thin clients for all its facilities, its alot more efficient for nurses when your desktop follows you to the patient room/nurse station/etc with a badge tap instead of having to login each place

      • reply
        July 14, 2021 5:02 PM

        I thought the whole point of it from inception was that it was in the cloud. I thought it always had been.

      • reply
        July 14, 2021 5:42 PM

        Is this 100% online? If you lose internet, can you do anything at all?

    • reply
      July 14, 2021 11:56 AM

      It really is just someone else's computer …

    • reply
      July 14, 2021 1:15 PM

      They took number skipping to a whole new level.

Hello, Meet Lola