Cloud PC works by streaming Windows from a data centre somewhere remotely to a device anywhere with an internet connection. That means all sorts of devices – including tablets or Apple Macs – can stream a full Windows desktop PC.
It is being sold to businesses to begin with, as many firms move to a mix of office and remote working. Microsoft is marketing the new way of using a PC as “hybrid Windows for a hybrid world”. Microsoft says that every user’s apps and settings will boot instantly from any device – allowing personalised Windows PCs to be accessed from anywhere. The Windows experience is consistent, no matter the device.
“You can get the same work done on a laptop in a hotel room, a tablet from the car between appointments, or your desktop while you’re in the office.”
Launched in August 2021 for business customers “of all sizes”. To begin with, it will stream a version of Windows 10 – but the successor, Windows 11, will also be available once it launches.
The backbone of the service already existed, using Microsoft’s widely used Azure platform and existing virtualisation technology.
The benefits of Cloud PC
Many organisations are undergoing a digital transformation, and modernising the workplace is often a stream within the wider strategy. In order to manage remote and multi-device workforces you should think about the following benefits and how this will change, and hopefully improve, your currently way of working using Hybrid Windows.
Why Should You Care?
Desktop virtualization delivers on-demand desktops to users for anytime, anywhere, any device access. This provides employees with full access to their complete business desktop from multiple devices, such as their home PC, a smart phone or an iPad. Easy access to a virtualized desktop can help people to be more productive, because all they need to work is an Internet connection from any device, anywhere.
From an IT perspective, virtual desktops help reduce the time it takes to provision new desktops, and they also help to decrease desktop management and support costs. Experts estimate that maintaining and managing PC hardware and software accounts for 50 to 70 percent of the total cost of ownership (TCO) of a typical PC. Companies often turn to virtual desktops to cut these IT labour costs.
Since everything is centrally managed, stored and secured, Cloud PC eliminate the need to consider patching, backups and security scanning. Cloud PC is a managed service where Microsoft takes care of all of this for you.
Cloud PC also provides greater security to the organization, since employees aren’t “carrying around” confidential company data on a personal device that could easily be lost, stolen or tampered with. For instance, in industries such as healthcare, where adherence to privacy regulations is of paramount importance, virtual desktops give medical personnel access to patient records without concerns about confidential information being downloaded. Since user data is backed up centrally and regularly, desktop virtualization also provides data integrity benefits.
Companies can also help extend the life of older client devices with desktop virtualization or use it to support thin clients. A thin client is a computing device that’s connected to a network. Unlike a typical PC or “fat client,” that has the memory, storage and computing power to run applications and perform tasks on its own, a thin client functions only as a virtual desktop, using the computing power residing on networked servers.
Because thin clients lack hard drives, CD-ROM drives, fans and other moving parts, they’re smaller, cheaper and simpler for manufacturers to build, they are cheaper to buy and maintain, and require less energy than traditional PCs or notebooks.