A look at Windows 365
Did you ever dream about a virtual cloud-based Windows experience, where you just have your known Windows PC in the cloud, without physical hardware? Well here it is with Windows 365.
Windows 365 was introduced by Microsoft, to securely stream your pesonalized experience of Windows from just a browser or a native app. In the background it uses Azure virtual desktop (AVD) and Endpoint manager, which we know from Intune. I think this is wonderful to unite physical Windows management and VDI from both a single portal.
Windows 365 is a user-based license, which means every user that wants to use this product needs a license. Currently we estimate around 35$ per user per month. This constitutes of the resources, the PC has available. What you get is a user-specific virtual machine with Windows, always accessible.
Well let's start a demo from https://aka.ms/w365demo to follow a provisioning/configuration process for Windows 365.
Step 1: assign license
First, we assign a license to a user.
Step 2: create a on-premises network connection
As an Intune admin, login to Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center. Go to devices› Provisioning› Windows365 and create a new connection.
Enter the details required. Please note that an Azure subscription with a virtual network is needed.
Then, some AD informations are requested, because the cloud PCs are going to perform a domain join and use other services.
Finish the steps and a few moments later, the watchdog will check the status of your connection and give you a feedback.
Step 3: provisioning policy
Next, we are going to create a provisioning policy and assign it to a selected group. Go to devices› Provisioning› Windows365 and create a new provisioning polcy.
Enter a name and select the on-premises network connection we created before.
When it comes to the images, which the future PCs are cloned from, we have two options: Gallery image houses some generalized Windows images. Of course you can also upload your own custom image. This feature is especially required if you plan to do a lot of customizations. Then it will be useful, but you will need to update the image.
Select a group that is eligible (licensed) and can use Windows 365. Review and create your solution.
The end-user navigates to https://windows365.microsoft.com, logs in with his credentials and gets an overview of his cloud PC's.
Here, he can connect and start the stream of the Windows cloud PC. There will be a prompt to allow some local resources to access.
The connection will be established and the user needs to log in to the PC.
There you go! Here is your cloud PC, running Windows 10 from just a browser.
I really think that Windows 365 is a great opportunity to simplify Windows management in every shape. I mean you only need a virtual network which shouldn't generate to high costs and the rest runs through the subscription. Each user has his own machine 24/7 and from every device or location available. This solution has major benefits compared to other VDI products, because you can use the configured backend from Intune's Endpoint Manager admin center, which provides an even better single-pane of glass experience. Setting up Windows 365 is quite easy and the lifecycle looks pretty good. I just ask myself why the machines need to (commonly) domain join on-premises. Azure AD would have been the better option, nevertheless you can use Azure virtual desktop for this usecase and hopefully it will be also available for W365 in the future.