Windows 365 costs how much !?

The day has finally arrived: Microsoft Windows 365 cloud PC is now available to everyone and…

Oh my God, Steven! Have you seen how much it costs!? “

Yes I have. Here is what….

It is so expensive!

In fact, it is not. And before I cut me off again, let me walk you through what’s going on with Windows 365.

First, as promised, Microsoft released this week Windows 365 pricing. It starts at $ 20 per user per month for the lowest SKU. With that, you get a single vCPU (virtual processor) running on the Azure cloud, 2GB of RAM, and 64GB of OneDrive cloud storage. Prices increase from there, depending on configuration, up to $ 163 per user per month. This gives you 8 vCPUs, 32GB of RAM, and 512GB of OneDrive storage.

Low-end pricing across all tiers requires you to use Windows Hybrid Benefit. This is Microsoft’s “Bring Your Own License” model, which allows you to apply existing or new licenses at the cost of a product. Without the Hybrid Benefit discount, all SKU prices are $ 4 higher per user per month.

For this, according to Microsoft, you get:

  • The power to buy, provision and deploy in minutes, with automated operating system updates.
  • Anywhere access for users to their personalized Windows desktop experience.
  • Tailored configurations for an elastic workforce.
  • The ability to pick up where you left off on the device of your choice.
  • Optimized experiences on Windows endpoints.
  • The ability to scale with confidence with pricing per user.

This means, for example, that you can run Windows 365 on your desktop PC, grab it on your home Mac, and, if you really want to, view the sales forecast on your Android tablet when you can’t sleep at night.

There are two versions. One, Windows 365 Enterprise, is designed for small businesses that want to deploy cloud PCs for 300 seats or less. There are no technological prerequisites; you just go to Windows 365 cloud portal to buy, deploy and manage Cloud PCs anytime.

This is the “idiot proof” version. You don’t need an Azure subscription or an Active Directory domain controller (AD). Everything, and I mean everything, works with Azure AD and Microsoft manages everything. Just pay your money, provision your hardware using default settings, and you’re up and running.

If you want more control and functionality, you’ll want Windows 365 Enterprise, which gives IT people more control over what happens with your Windows instances. It doesn’t give you as much control as Azure Virtual Desktop, but its pricing is also simpler and generally cheaper.

You can, of course, use any of them in harmony with Office 365 or any of Microsoft’s other cloud offerings. But, and importantly, Microsoft says you can use it to remotely access any of your Windows 10 apps. Virtually install them and go.

In theory, there won’t be any fuss or fuss. In practice, I am absolutely sure that you will run into some problems because, as you well know, Windows is Windows, and what is Windows without compatibility issues. That said, I would expect the most popular business programs like QuickBooks and Adobe Creative Suite to run on Windows 365. (If not, Microsoft is going to hear it out loud, they’ll get it right correctly.)

One thing, however, that you shouldn’t be doing is really heavy data processing on a Windows 365 system. The Windows 365 business plan comes with a data cap for upstream traffic of 20 GB per user, per user. months on the low end and up to 70 GB per user, per month on the high end. Note: I say “upstream”, not down. The only way to run into issues here is to try video editing on cloud based videos.

Now let’s talk about these costs. First, if you think these prices are steep, you haven’t done much with cloud computing. By cloud computing standards, they are inexpensive. And the very good news is that these are fixed prices; you don’t pay by the hour or the number of resources you use. I guarantee you will find this cheaper than most, if not all, Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) offerings.

Some people scoff at Windows 365 on the grounds that they can get a lot more machines for their money than they can by using a Windows 365 virtual machine (VM). Of course, you can buy, say, a World’s Favorite HP Envy 14 Laptop PC for $ 1,150 with an Intel i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD. A roughly equivalent Windows 365 instance with 2 vCPU, 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of cloud storage will set you back $ 54 per month without the Hybrid Benefit discount.

But let’s do some business math. Typically, you keep a PC for three years, so at first glance, the HP machine wins easily since it only costs you $ 1,150 (vs. $ 1,944 that a Windows 365 Cloud PC will cost over the same period) .

Again, however, it’s a business. How much are you paying to support this PC? Can your technicians easily and inexpensively help your employees work from home? You won’t pay anything for Windows 365 support – it’s built-in. By its nature, Windows 365 is easy to manage remotely.

Windows 365 also won’t cost you extra time if you need to go back, take a system snapshot, or recover your system. It also comes with Microsoft’s Defender Security Software integrated. What if you had to fix that little HP machine? How much will the downtime cost you? With Windows 365, who cares if your laptop gets run over by a truck? You just took another machine and you’re back in business.

There are of course other factors. For example, your accountant will tell you that computer equipment is subject to 100% depreciation, whereas you cannot depreciate a cloud service. But the bottom line is that for many businesses, Windows 365 will make good financial sense.

Do the math then decide. Don’t just laugh at the prices and just keep going. You might find that in the end, Windows 365 is exactly what your CFO and CIO, as well as your employees, want.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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