Don’t Bring Technical Debt to Windows 365 

Microsoft Continues to Invest in Cloud PCs

Microsoft Windows 365 became generally available on August 2021. Over the course of three years there have been several enhancements to the product, including the Windows 365 app – which gave Windows 365 its own dedicated client-side application, Windows 365 Frontline. This differs from Azure Virtual Desktop, which is still accessed via the existing Remote Desktop client or web portal. Windows 365 Frontline is tailored toward organizations with shift workers, providing flexibility to consolidate licenses by sharing them between employees working on different shifts to help reduce costs. Windows 365 Boot was also released, allowing customers using a PC or Thin Client to launch directly into their Windows 365 Cloud PC session on startup.

Microsoft is Offering Free Windows 10 ESUs to New Windows 365 Subscribers

Recently, Microsoft announced pricing for Windows 10 Extended Security Updates. The base price starts at $61 per device in year 1, with the price doubling each year for the three-year duration of the program. Customers who opt to use a Microsoft cloud management product such as Autopatch or Intune will receive a discount on their ESUs. Those who subscribe to Windows 365 with a one-year commitment will receive FREE ESUs. Which could be an attractive option for organizations to make the jump to the service as they only get the value of PCs in the cloud but also the assurance of ongoing support for any Windows 10 desktops used as client devices to connect to Cloud PCs going forward.

Not only has the service seen several enhancements over the past three years, with significant promotion via the Windows 10 ESU incentives, it has also been positioned favorably by Microsoft at events such as Microsoft Ignite, with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella mentioning the product in his keynote address.

“Avoid bringing forward old problems to new solutions”

There seems to be great excitement in the Intune and Configuration Manager communities in particular. One of the original pitches from Microsoft was Windows 365 would provide organizations with virtual desktops in the cloud that could be managed like traditional physical PCs, avoiding the complexity of VDI. While it makes sense that those with experience of traditional deployment solutions are enthusiastically embracing a virtual desktop solution that they can manage without learning new solutions, there is a danger of bringing forward suboptimal practices and processes to their modern Cloud PCs.

Keep Traditional Deployment Solutions Away from Windows 365

Cloud PCs can be managed using traditional deployment solutions because they are always on – meaning they are persistent and assigned 1:1, unlike many widely used virtual desktop infrastructure implementations. Every day an employee logs into their Cloud PC they get the same PC. This could mean less need for a profile management solution to roam user data, reprovisioning desktops for updates, and other IT related tasks. However, it leaves the door open for bringing forward dated practices like deploying applications targeted to machines outside working hours with slow monolithic deployment tools and dated package formats that are prone to failure. A goal when modernizing your Windows desktops should be to improve the employee experience, not just bring forward old problems to new solutions.

Those who managed physical endpoints and are moving to Windows 365 Cloud PCs will likely face challenges deploying applications due to a lack of visibility and slowness, exacerbated by changes to how they support users on their PCs. In the past, if administrators faced persistent issues with an application for a single user they may have spent 15 to 20 minutes troubleshooting the problem before deciding to simply reimage the desktop due to time constraints. With Windows 365 Cloud PCs there is a restore option but you must be aware that if you use security product to routinely change service account and elevated account passwords, reverting your Cloud PC to a restore point can be disruptive. This is due to accounts attempting to authenticate with cached credentials that are no longer valid at point of restoration, leading to account lockouts and frustrated end users.

Dated Application Formats Could Ruin the Cloud PC Experience

Dated package formats like EXEs and MSIs are fraught with problems like application conflicts, corruption, and unclean uninstalls. These package formats frequently lead to installation failures. MSIs were developed almost 30 years ago! They are simply not fit for the modern workplace. Most deployment and provisioning solutions are too slow for application deployments. When faced with failed or corrupted application updates, they require a lot of manual remediation effort, which can mean hours or days to push uninstalls and re-installs. This is simply not good enough.

Windows 365 is Your Chance to Overcome Problems from the Past

Many organizations have already made the leap to virtual desktops, albeit those that are non-persistent in nature. These implementations are also not without their faults. Administrators commonly installed applications directly into the virtual desktop image which meant application updates required an update of the image and re-provisioning of the desktops. This was still an improvement on traditional application deployments, as virtual desktops are centralized and reprovisioning could be done out of hours to avoid disruption, but this approach still leads to application conflicts, disruption when needing to roll-back or address an issue during working hours, inflated infrastructure costs, and more. Due to the major disruption in the virtual desktop space, many customers are now looking at making the move from their traditional VDI to an alternative, such as Azure Virtual Desktop or Windows 365.

We are encountering customers who want to move from traditional VDI solutions to Windows 365, but it requires undoing years of installing applications directly into their desktop images (which is no easy task). It makes the move to Windows 365 more time consuming and difficult. When making this move, it is important to transform application management as well. You need a solution that provides application portability across all Windows OS so you can quickly migrate across platforms and desktop types with minimal effort.

Containers are the Key to Seamless Windows 365 Adoption

If you are planning to implement Windows 365, now is the time to modernize your approach to application management. By eliminating dated package formats, you can say goodbye to many of the common application issues encountered in enterprise IT (e.g., failed installations, application conflicts and corruption). Of course, this requires implementing a solution that provides dynamic application delivery across any physical or virtual desktop, any modern or future Windows OS, and any integrates to emerging technologies.

Your best bet is a cloud-native provisioning solution. You gain a highly scalable service solution with the ability to manage applications across any desktop, regardless of where end users reside.

Designed with an emphasis on maximizing application compatibility, portability, and deliver speed at global scale, Cloudpager enables you to dynamically provision and manage applications from the cloud across any Windows desktop. Better yet, the platform supports various container types including Amazon WAM containers, Microsoft MSIX containers, App-V packages, and of course our very own Cloudpaging application containers. Cloudpaging can package virtually any application, enabling even your most complex legacy and custom to your users on any Windows machine.

See the Power of Application Containers for Yourself

To learn more about maximizing application compatibility, portability, and performance on Windows 365 (or any other desktop solution for that matter), request a demo with our Solutions Architects:

About numecent

Numecent is an award-winning cloud technology provider headquartered in Irvine, California. The company’s technology portfolio, built upon 64 patents (and counting), simplifies the mobilization and management of Windows applications across modern desktop and multi-cloud environments. Enterprises around the world – including the largest Fortune 500 companies, cloud service providers, and MSPs – leverage these technologies to package and deploy thousands of applications to millions of end-users in a friction-free manner every day.

See Numecent in Action!

Schedule a demonstration with our Solutions Architects to see how we can simplify the mobilization and management of your entire Windows application estate across modern desktop and multi-cloud environments.