Windows 365 Heralds the Arrival of Hybrid Work!…Now What?
Technology Equals Time Back
Microsoft has now become one of the first major players, and first public cloud, to ‘shift’ their strategy officially towards hybrid work. Our own Simon Townsend put together this excellent blog covering this, and with this blog I’d like to dig a little deeper.
Unafraid to buck any former statements on Windows 10 being the “Last version of Windows” (Jerry Nixon, anyone?), Microsoft deserves credit on their scientific approach towards adapting to a changing market. Jerry, or anyone else, never saw COVID-19 coming in 2015. The future has been defined by those who pivot, not those who idly stand by, and Microsoft is forging ahead with that in mind.
As Windows Virtual Desktop (now Azure Virtual Desktop) ushered in new life to Windows in the public cloud, Microsoft’s Windows 365 Cloud PC is the embodiment of a new workforce enablement solution driven by a pandemic. Even now, thousands of people in highly technical, secure jobs are resigning for one simple reason: Time is now a quantifiable asset. As Tsedal Neeley stated in the linked article above from Harvard Business Review:
“We have changed. Work has changed. The way we think about time and space has changed…[and] workers now crave the flexibility given to them in the pandemic — which had previously been unattainable”
IGEL is also giving back to users by helping them focus on work, when needed, then play, when wanted, all on the same device.
IGEL has Launch-Day Support for Windows 365 Cloud PC
We are happy to announce launch-day support to Windows 365 Cloud PC using IGEL OS on August 2nd, 2021, along with other IGEL Ready partners like Nerdio. IGEL’s edge OS solution, combined with IGEL’s universal management suite, ensure just-in-time secure access to Windows 365 without the management and security overhead of running Windows twice (on your local device and in the Cloud), by using a small, simple, and secure OS on a USB key (UD Pocket).
IGEL OS (built on Linux and optimized for Azure Virtual Desktops, AVD) gives you the choice on how to connect to Windows 365 Cloud PC using:
- a web browser, or
- a configurable client which is able to scale to 10’s of thousands of devices.
An IGEL Technology Evangelist and Microsoft MVP, Fredrik Brattstig, has provided a powerful video showing IGEL’s ability to leverage Windows 365 Cloud PC, today:
Plug in, get to work, unplug, then play, with one device on IGEL. Powerful.
So, what is Windows 365? What’s the difference between AVD and Cloud PC? What is Cloud PC vs Windows 365? What’s the meaning to life? (The answer is 42, but more on that in another blog).
Let’s find out!
Windows 365 Cloud PC: It Takes a Village
Remember the old idiom “It takes a village to raise a child?” Me too. This becomes even more applicable for technology. Windows 365 Cloud PC will be a great solution. No doubt. But is it wholistic enough to solve all your remote needs? Maybe! Or maybe not.
IGEL, Nerdio, and others help complete the last-mile of Windows 365 Cloud PC deployment and enablement with a focus on security, management, and ease-of-use. Let’s look at how.
First, let’s get you caught up on the vernacular of the Windows cloud ecosystem as it stands today:
|Windows 365 Cloud PC||Securely stream your Windows experience—including your personalized apps, content, and settings—from the Microsoft cloud to any device.|
|Windows 365||Short for ‘Windows 365 Cloud PC’|
|Cloud PC||Short for ‘Windows 365 Cloud PC’|
|AVD||Azure Virtual Desktop (formerly Microsoft Virtual Desktop)|
|Windows 11||The next version of Windows|
|IGEL OS||An edge device operating and management system for cloud workspaces like Cloud PC|
|Nerdio||Nerdio is the definitive Azure deployment, pricing, packaging, management, and optimization solution for MSPs and Enterprise IT Professionals.|
Now, let’s dive deeper from an end-user’s perspective.
|PHYSICAL DEVICE + MANAGEMENT
(PC, TABLET, ETC.)
|MICROSOFT AZURE EUC
(WINDOWS 365 CLOUD PC; AVD)
These options really can be boiled down to a business focus into two buckets with IGEL focusing on enterprise:
- SMB/MSP (small business, mid-market, managed service provider): Windows 365 Cloud PC focus
- Enterprise: Azure Virtual Desktop focus
Meet the Village
PHYSICAL DEVICE + MANAGEMENT
Windows 365 Cloud PC allows you to grab virtually any device with a web browser and connect to your Cloud PC instance in Microsoft Azure. Have an old laptop? It may work! (More on this later)
Let’s scale this idea to the enterprise and see how things change.
Imagine having 100, or 10,000 users all with their own device connecting to their Cloud PC. It’s possible. But is it practical? When you begin to think about the context of enabling security, support, and management across these devices, while supporting applications and data, things begin to skew.
Ask yourself some of these questions to see how your business could align today, and tomorrow:
- Is there a mandate for a security posture on your edge devices?
- What’s your plan if there is a ransomware event?
- Do your applications all live in the cloud, or do you have some still in datacenters? Or on devices?
- Are you governing your data to ensure your compliant to government/industry standards?
- Do you have full visibility into all your data? (Metadata, or data about data)
- What peripherals are required for you different departments and teams?
- How are you remotely collaborating today?
Scale matters; data and applications matter; business continuity matters.
IGEL is built to help keep your devices agnostic while being super secure with a great user experience:
|Minimal Attack Surface||
|Manage, Support, and Update Anywhere||
As we learned with devices, cloud management is also critical to consider for an SMB, MSP, or enterprise offering.
Our friends at Nerdio, who deploy, manage, and optimize virtual desktops in Microsoft Azure, have Day 1 support for Windows 365 Cloud PC and created an enhanced infosheet and blog post to explain its impact and differences versus AVD. As with any enterprise offering, more choice is available with an enterprise focus:
(Credit to Brady Rudolph at Microsoft for initially driving this: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/brady-randolph-b22b303_avd-w365-activity-6821437687141068800-ldQo )
As with any enterprise offering, more options are available with an enterprise focus
Nerdio also dives deep into the architectural differences between Windows 365 Cloud PC and AVD.
MICROSOFT AZURE EUC
What hasn’t been said about Microsoft Windows 365 Cloud PC or AVD (Azure Virtual Desktop/WVD)? Let’s quickly breakdown some key differences on market focus, licensing, and alignment:
Windows 11 is the Las….No it’s Not, and that’s OK, with IGEL
Microsoft’s Windows 365 Cloud PC (geez, I’ve typed that a lot) is an offering for a new age; a time where work or play, is blurred:
“My conclusion is that the decision for a business to define themselves as enterprise or small business is as critical as it is irrelevant… It is not enough to define yourself based on the number of employees you have. A focus must be placed on apps, data, workforce distribution, and business continuity, among others. And that’s OK!”
Hybrid work now becomes more granular. Today, many teams in the enterprise share responsibilities without sharing ownership. Contractors and full-time employees can be working towards the same goal, collaborating on the same platforms, but deployed, managed, governed, and even licensed completely differently.
The extension of solutions like Windows 365 Cloud PC from AVD shows this shift. IGEL, Nerdio and others are now more important than ever to help extend strategy now and in the future without ripping and replacing.
Try IGEL, and find out how the next-generation edge OS for cloud workspaces can leverage Windows 365 Cloud PC on August 2nd, and whatever comes next!