Windows 365 on a colorful background

What is Windows 365?

Microsoft has Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) and one of the most advanced infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) clouds.  At the same time small and medium business are looking for a way to normalize hybrid work. This is especially true for hybrid workers that may not have their hands on the best device or access to fast internet connections. Windows 365 was Microsoft's solution to fulfill this need.

In Microsoft's own words:

Windows 365:

For small to midsized businesses (SMBs), Microsoft has done a great job with helping to create virtual infrastructures both for users and IT managers. Microsoft has also shown that Cloud PC performance can be even greater than your physical device. Because your Windows 365 instance is hosted in their high-performance data center, you can benefit from the Internet connection speeds in that data center rather than those of your on-site broadband connection. Internet up to 10Gbps for downloads and 4Gbps for uploads can be seen on Windows 365 machines. If you think of it this number is amazing!

For users, a Cloud PC will work exactly as their own physical PC would. The virtual Windows 365 PC is theirs and can customize it just as they could a physical PC. Wallpapers, application pre-sets, and default font sizes, are available and persistent. Windows 365 can also be used any device — a PC, a native Apple app for iPad users, and even their smartphones using an internet browser.

You have the option to choose an Enterprise or a Business version. You want Enterprise if you're a Microsoft shop with an IT department that uses Microsoft Endpoint Manager to watch over a big pool of Windows 10 PCs. Microsoft also adds a bunch of Azure tools here because Windows 365 machines are built on top of AVD technology. To fully take advantage of Enterprise, however, you will need Endpoint Manager, and an Intune license which comes with the license we recommend at Netlogic Computer Consulting: Microsoft 365 Business Premium.

The Business version is meant for small businesses or individual users. If you're usually ordering your PCs from Amazon or Best Buy, configuring them yourself, and plugging them into a small business network, this will be the best Windows 365 solution. No Azure or Intune license is required, you will just need to purchase a Microsoft 365 license through your Cloud Solution Provider (CSP), go through the guided setup process, and you've got a new virtual PC. This version is designed for o more than 300 users similar to Microsoft's licensing.

We recommend businesses choose Enterprise not based on user count but because they need their clients to connect not just to the cloud, but to some on-premises resources, too, such as app and file servers or even local printers. You will need an Azure Active Directory account with Azure AD Hybrid Join. This lets you keep your on-prem domain controller while sharing information with your cloud-based Azure AD service. Netlogic Computer Consulting can help out with these steps for full implementation.

Once your virtual PC images are built, we can assign them to your various user groups. Security is also important especially with storage data and files on these devices. The good news is that security baselines can be added as well as managed through Intune to ensure your cloud virtual environment is secure and compliant.

Windows 365 Pricing:

Similar to selecting your own device in a big box retailer, Microsoft has published multiple configurations and specification. These range from a lower-end configuration with one virtual CPU, 2GB RAM, and 64GB storage which will cost around $20 per user per month. On the top end high end you can get up to of eight vCPUs, with 32GB RAM and 512GB storage. The price for these top tier configurations will run around $158 per user per month. These prices are the same for both the Business and Enterprise versions.

Trials are also available through Microsoft if you would like to set up Windows 365 to demo.

Windows 365 Is A Compelling Alternative:

For companies needing remote access for their hybrid work employees, Windows 365 can be a real winner. If you're already a Microsoft shop, the ability to leverage your existing infrastructure investments is really attractive. The additional monthly cost is something to consider however the fact that they're all rolled into one per-user per-month subscription number will make that easier for your finance team to budget and ensure everyone can do their job.

The best part is the flexibility Windows 365 gives to users. Accessing a full Windows PC virtually, with lightning fast internet as well as having the ability to secure it using Intune makes implementation and management much easier. No more VPNs, limitations based on home internet speed, and one portal to manage the entire ecosystem really shows how well this product can fit into your organization.

Keep in mind that Windows 365 is very new to the world and to Microsoft's infrastructure offerings. More features will be available as time goes on. Reach out to us today to see if Windows 365 can be a good solution for your business and we would be happy to walk you through the options!