Microsoft has unveiled its latest Windows 365 Cloud PC for interfacing Windows 10, and possibly Windows 11 soon, for any non native device to be able to run Windows OS, on the browser of that device, or possibly a downloaded application. The key features of this service include full customizability, from a single core CPU, all the way up to 8 cores, from 2GB RAM upto 32GB RAM, from 64GB ROM storage, to 512GB ROM storage.
The base plan of Windows 365 starts at a price of 20USD per month, per user, and comes equipped with a single core virtual CPU, 2GB RAM, and 64GB of storage. Now this may not seem much and with Windows’ profligacy when it comes to RAM allocation, might seem laughable but you may be able to use MS Office and a couple of browsing tabs easily.
On the other hand, the most expensive Windows 365 option is priced at 162USD per month, per user. This configuration comes loaded with 8 virtual CPU cores, 32GB RAM, and 512GB of storage. This much power is enough to run basically a plethora of CPU intensive tasks, barring any GPU intensive programs. An excellent application that I can personally think of right now, is running codes for example training of Machine Learning models, 8 cores and 32GB RAM will be immensely powerful for such a task.
You may wonder how the Internet speed of this actual PC locally is, but one should realize that their own internet speed has nothing to do with the Internet speed of the Cloud PC. These cloud servers are speculated to be located in areas where the download speeds can be as high as 10Gbps, and 3.7Gbps of upload speeds, but what matters the most is the ping
This is because this is what will decide the latency or lag between your task and the response on your host device. Microsoft is happy to report that their cloud PCs have an ultra low ping of 5ms, which is the type of ping one would expect to have on a WiFi 6 wireless connection or a wired LAN connection at home.
How does this translate to the user’s perspective? The response will be almost instantaneous, given the customer has an internet connection with minimal ping, the lower the better, and it may feel like you are actually running Windows locally. Basically if you are able to stream 4k or 1080p content off the internet without any issues, then you should be good to go.
One can easily use their iPad and Apple pencils to emulate windows and use it for designing illustrations, be it professional work or for casual hobbyists. The PC stays on all the time and one can resume their work on any device seamlessly, again, on a browser, or in the form of a downloadable application. This service will allow customers to run Windows from any device – Linux, iPad, Mac or Android.
Following are the instructions on how you can get your cloud PC set up and running –
- Go to https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-365/all-pricing and choose your plan depending on your business/enterprise. You can choose from predefined configurations, or you can spec your own combinations.
- If you already have Windows 10 Pro on your native device, you can get a 4$ discount for each month.
- Click on Buy Now, and it will now prompt you to enter your Microsoft 365 subscription account.
- If you are a Business owner, you can go to Microsoft 365 Admin Center, and you will be able to see your virtual PC in the list of available licenses.
- Now you can simply assign that license to any user of your organization and that’s it.
- No more steps are needed from your side, it will take about 30 minutes to set up your virtual PC, and once done, you will be able to see your Cloud PC listed in your Microsoft 365 account, and it will say your Cloud PC is ready.
- You can now open it in your browser, or install the Microsoft Remote Desktop application if you are using an iPad.
While it is good that a company like Microsoft has officially started offering such an easy to set up service with loads of customization available, they are indeed charging exorbitant amounts for it. In an era where there is tough competition from Google Cloud Platform, customers will ultimately look for options that are financially viable to their use case scenarios. Personally, this product from Microsoft can be used as a transitory service, because in the grand scheme of things, the general consensus of the public lies in the affordability of that service.