Written by: Daniel Haurey on 03/17/21

Windows Virtual Desktop

Here’s the short answer:

Windows 365 Cloud PCs are a set of technologies that enables desktop and application virtualization service in the cloud.

For additional details, read on.

What’s the backstory on Windows 365 Cloud PCs?

Windows 365 Cloud PCs enable users to access a Windows desktop from anywhere. In the wake of COVID-19, as working from home has become the “new normal,” this functionality has proven to be incredibly helpful in creating secure and standardized remote work experiences.

The solution has been an evolving one, and, truthfully, Microsoft is somewhat fortunate that they developed the technology when they did. The public version of Windows 365 Cloud PC was released in 2019, and a year after launch, of course, the need for remote work became ubiquitous.

But the product was the culmination of about two decades of product development, from Windows Terminal Server to Azure to Remote Desktop Modern Infrastructure to Windows 365 Cloud PC as we know it today.

In summary, Windows 365 Cloud PCs are a great way for businesses to make remote work seamless.

How do Windows 365 Cloud PCs work?

To understand how Windows 365 Cloud PCs work, it’s important to understand the phrase “virtualization service” (as given in our definition above).

Essentially, a virtualization service moves computing off a local device, like a PC or a Mac, and into the cloud (a network of servers located off-premise). Azure is Microsoft’s cloud. So, Windows 365 Cloud PCs work by allowing users to access a fully functioning Windows operating system in Azure.

Importantly, Windows 365 Cloud PCs can be delivered as a multi-user service, meaning that multiple users can access designated remote desktops. The takeaway is that Windows 365 Cloud PCs can standardize your workforce, giving everyone access to the same applications with a uniformed look and feel, without requiring that everyone buy new computers.

For a full understanding of how the service works, it’s worth watching the video below. In it, Microsoft explains how virtual desktops work in general, and showcases some of the main features of the Microsoft platform in particular.

Are there other virtual desktop solutions?

While we’re fans of Windows 365 Cloud PCs as a solution, it’s not the only solution. There are other virtual desktop offerings on the market that aren’t delivered via Azure.

For instance, Amazon WorkSpaces is a desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) solution that uses the Amazon cloud offering (AWS) to provide managed cloud desktops. While users can potentially run the Windows operating system (or Linux) on Amazon WorkSpaces, this isn’t a Windows 365 Cloud PC solution, because it’s not built on Azure.

Citrix also offers managed desktops that can run Windows, Linux, or web applications. However, it may not work for small businesses; a deployment requires a minimum of 25 users, and there isn’t autoscaling of resources, which means it takes a bit more management.

And there are a variety of other, up-and-coming providers, too.

But, even given the alternatives on the market, Microsoft’s solution – Windows 365 Cloud PC – is often, in our view, the best bet for organizations, for three reasons:

  1. Many organizations are running on PCs already, and it makes sense to use a Microsoft solution (Azure) to run the Windows OS.
  2. Windows 365 Cloud PCs may represent cost savings, because in many cases the Microsoft 365 licenses that you already own may entitle you to use the solution.
  3. Azure is a highly secure and dependable cloud platform. You can read more about the security and infrastructure undergirding Azure here.

What is the future roadmap for Windows 365 Cloud PCs?

Another benefit of opting for Windows 365 Cloud PCs as a remote work solution is that Microsoft has been focused on continually improving the offering.

While there isn’t too much of a publicly announced roadmap, Microsoft has a forum for collecting user feedback that will shape updates going forward. Additionally, you can get a sense for where the product is going based on the work that’s been on it recently.

In early 2021, much of the focus has revolved around Azure portal experience improvements. A lot of the updates are technical in nature (such as adding bulk drain mode on hosts in the session host grid tab), but the upshot of it all is that the performance of the solution is continually improving.

Microsoft has also focused on improving the Teams experience on Windows 365 Cloud PC, with updates to the plugin to increase video quality and performance.

All-in-all, Microsoft seems focused on ensuring that Windows 365 Cloud PC is a fully viable remote work solution.

Are Windows 365 Cloud PCs right for my business?

If your business needs to standardize and secure the remote work experience, then Windows 365 Cloud PCs could be a good fit for your needs.

If you have specific questions about how Windows 365 Cloud PCs could serve your company – or if you want to discuss implementing this solution – get in touch with us.

Ready to work with Microsoft Experts?

At Exigent, we’ve been helping businesses to meet the demands of their fussiest Microsoft Windows power users since 1997 – even before Windows NT 4.0 Terminal Server was released. Cumulatively, our staff has over 200 years of experience implementing and supporting Microsoft technologies.

In other words, we know Windows inside and out, and we can help to answer any questions you have.

If you are ready for implementation, we can provide white-glove support to make the process quick and seamless. Schedule a free consult today.

No matter what, our hope is that the information presented here has been helpful as you learn about Windows 365 Cloud PCsand consider this solution for your own needs. Good luck!