Why Windows 365 Cloud PCs are different than any other technology | Windows in the Cloud
[Show theme music] CHRISTIAAN BRINKHOFF: Hi folks, and welcome to season 2 of "Windows in the Cloud," our dedicated tech series for everyone interested in Windows 365. Before we start and I'm introducing my next guest, please make sure to register on our YouTube page, WindowsITProOnYouTube, which is available and you can find it in the link below here. So with that, I'm very excited, as I said before, to introduce our guest, Jeremy Chapman, from the "Microsoft Mechanic Show." So Jeremy, how are you doing? JEREMY CHAPMAN: Good! Thanks for having me on, Christiaan. CHRISTIAAN BRINKHOFF: Yeah, it's great to have you on the show right now because normally, we join you on a show. So before we jump a little bit more into that, can you share a little bit about yourself and your role within Microsoft? JEREMY CHAPMAN: Yeah, it's great to be on the other side of the desk for once.
I do that sometimes, by the way, with Config Manager and other topics when we're on the road filming shows. So, if you're not familiar with some of the things that I've done at Microsoft, basically, I started out in the Deployment team at Microsoft, building solutions like Business Desktop Deployment and Microsoft Deployment Toolkit, you know, and part of the, what was then System Center side. And then, we kind of grew into doing more things around Office and really reimagining how Office was packaged and deployed in the enterprise.
So I've got this long background of kind of Windows and Office deployment. And, you know, then, in the Office time frame, we started something that you might know about, which is called Microsoft Mechanics. And that was initially called the "Garage Series." And we're huge fans of "Top Gear" and kind of the stunts. We did some crazy things in the beginning, you know, installing Office Click-to-Run jumping out of an airplane or seeing if we could work offline, like, in the desert and Louisiana bayou--those types of things.
But that since kind of mushroomed out and got bigger and bigger across, you know, the rest of Microsoft 365, beyond the client apps, and then into Azure and Surface and the data and AI side and everything really commercial at Microsoft. So it's been a great journey, and I've been at Microsoft more than a decade. CHRISTIAAN BRINKHOFF: Yeah, that's awesome. And as you know, yourself, we are working on offline mode in Windows 365, so I will let the PM know to record a demo video like this, as well, jumping out of a plane. JEREMY CHAPMAN: Love it. CHRISTIAAN BRINKHOFF: So, we recorded a lot of sessions already, even like with Windows Virtual Desktop, Azure Virtual Desktop back in the days, as well, and now with Windows 365, like you have been independently involved in like those different products while recording and as well using it internally and such.
So can you tell a little bit why you got so interested in Windows 365 and maybe the high-level differences you discovered yourself while using them? JEREMY CHAPMAN: Yeah, so I think, you know, like a lot of people watching, they've probably dabbled in building out, you know, various desktop solutions to be able to remotely access desktops that are hosted somewhere else. And there are lots of ways to do that, but you know, they're always somewhat challenging in terms of how to get to that endpoint, make sure it's provisioned, it has all the right components in it. And what I love about Windows 365 is, it's probably the easiest way to get something like that up and running, to have all of the business-ready components that somebody needs to get working, all the productivity apps, VPN clients, et cetera, and then just, you know, manage it like you would manage a physical desktop, like all the tools that I've been using and kind of been part of at Microsoft for my, you know, 10-plus year journey with things like Endpoint Manager and Intune and, you know, Config Manager, like all of those types of processes that we've learned really apply here, as well. So there's not a lot of, kind of, retooling or are learning from a, you know, from a management perspective. So it's really easy to get everything up and running and get started and super familiar from an end-user perspective because you just log in and it's your normal desktop and it's dedicated to you.
So there's not like some kind of sharing going on or things that, you know, might not be the same as they were yesterday. From a user perspective, it's super easy to get up and running and, you know, get comfortable with that Cloud PC. CHRISTIAAN BRINKHOFF: Yeah, that's great.
And that really sits in our vision in making things easy, loved by users, trusted by IT, and live up to the SaaS solution that we deliver in market. And I normally always, when customers tell me this, hey, what is the difference between like, let's say Azure Virtual Desktop or other virtualization technology is that we bill it as a full end-to-end solution with the easiness of doing things for a physical PC, as well. So the whole knowledge gap or knowledge need for Windows 365 is just the same as managing a physical PC. Just like you call it, as well. And an interesting question maybe to ask you, because you have been on a journey of Office Click-to-Run jumping out of a plane, seeing the transformation from Office perpetual to subscription, right? Like how do you see a similarity here with bringing Windows in the Cloud as an SaaS product with just like a, a flip of a switch, assigning a license experience. See, do you see a similarity here? JEREMY CHAPMAN: It's totally similar from the infrastructure component.
And you think about it, like if you used to get a Remote Desktop Services environment up and running or VDI up and running, you had multiple servers, lots of metal that you were managing on premises, lots of different connections between those different points to do. You know, you had your, maybe a connection broker and you had other servers that were actually running the virtual machines, and then you had licensing servers and all these things. The nice thing with SaaS, and this is the same for Office 365 and Microsoft 365, is that all of that complexity goes away. All of the, you know, standing up the metal, getting the networking connections and all those things configured, especially with physical cables and all of that and just letting, you know, Microsoft, in this case run that service for you, so you don't have to worry about things like scaling or performance or is my user going to be able to hit that service or what happens, you know, like on the, if you have on-prem running on the weekend and something goes down or there's a power outage or something else, what's going to happen there? That's all Microsoft's problem in that case. So for an IT perspective, you're basically just configuring the settings, the policies, making sure it's got all the, you know, the security, the experiences that you want in those Cloud PCs. So you don't have to worry about all of the metal and is the metal running and are they wired up and configured properly? That's all the problem of Microsoft in this case.
And that's the beauty of really any SaaS service. CHRISTIAAN BRINKHOFF: Yeah. I, you're spot on, I guess, here. So it's great to hear it from you, as well.
And I sometimes compare it with how you configured Exchange on premises back in the day. Tried building up Exchange Server, all those mailboxes, the databases and such. And now it's just a flip of a switch.
You just go to email@example.com, purchase an Exchange Online license or Office 365. And then, you have an full Exchange Server for, like, like just a couple of bucks, right? And that's the same with Windows 365. We provide that same SaaS offering coming from Microsoft 365 from the existing portals you're familiar with as well as the management solution you're familiar with.
So you touched on a base of, on a element of hosting and managing and performance. So one of the things I sometimes hear in the field from customers and the community is, Does Windows 365, do I still need an Azure subscription and such, but with the new Azure AD join support, that's no longer needed, right? So can you share a little bit on that, what you experienced with the new features there? JEREMY CHAPMAN: Yeah. I got to say, you know, you set up Azure Virtual Desktop, especially before, you know, Azure AD join was set up, you had to have, you know, Active Directory and a domain controller either running services in the cloud or connecting to your on-premises infrastructure and some Azure services, obviously. Now with Windows 365 and using Azure AD join, it is, again, it's super easy. You can have that identity and access management service being operated in the cloud. So, even that component and that wasn't like the hardest component, if you compare it to like, again, the old kind of bare-metal days with, with Windows server, you know, that was still probably one of the harder parts of getting that up and running was the Active Directory integration.
And now that goes away, too. So now you just got something that works right out of the box without any kind of dependent services that you have to manage and make sure that people are able to connect to and that you've got the right policies there configured to connect maybe your on-prem directory services infrastructure. It's just, again, another path to be cloud complete or, you know, everything running in the cloud--again, taking away some of those hybrid nuances that might have tripped people up in the past in terms of getting everything configured and running. CHRISTIAAN BRINKHOFF: Yeah, that's, that's great. And it all runs in a Microsoft-managed environment. So even the VMs are hosted by Microsoft in this case.
And even like in our last episode of season number 1, we had to folks from the Autopatch team joining us, and they take it even further. They make automated patching of Windows possible on top of Windows 365. So really, where you are in your journey to the digital or in the digital transformation, we can support with Windows 365 with that, and as well with Autopatch and other services on top. JEREMY CHAPMAN: Yeah, and I'm working actually with the Autopatch team at the moment and building out some of that content, as well. So, great thing with Autopatch is, you know, something that was not trivial to set up before was deployment rings. How do I get, you know, my 1% users the fastest validation build-outs, and then my 9% kind of the next, the next ring, and then my 80% or 90% the broader ring, doing all of that work for you? You have to set up different groups.
You have to set up all the deployment ring policies. And then, for our office, we've got something like the monthly Enterprise channel for servicing. Now the Autopatch service basically says, okay, we'll do all of that for you and configure all these policies and, you know, set up all your CSP profile policies, as well, for Office. And it's just basically clicking a few times in the portal to give access to the Autopatch service.
And then, again, all that complexity goes away. And they even monitor like to make sure that the patches were applied successfully and everybody's got the updates that they need, you know, to be successful or roll back if something does fail, heaven forbid, that you have to bring it back to a previous version of Windows 11 or Windows 10. So, exciting stuff. And I think the great thing again with Windows 365, because it is like managing a normal, you know, Windows local desktop, like a, a physical machine, basically from an MDM perspective, all of that is super familiar.
And all of the processes even Autopatch uses are something that you can follow along with if you've just got some history with things like Intune or normal Windows update management or device management. CHRISTIAAN BRINKHOFF: Yeah. That's great. And, and we are jumping in some demos, as well, to show some of those experience in just a bit. But before I do that, you've recently had like an, an episode on the Mechanic Show with Scott Manchester, theoretically, my, my boss and in front of the show, as well, of course.
CHRISTIAAN BRINKHOFF: Yeah. CHRISTIAAN BRINKHOFF: And one thing you covered there with him was the Windows integration features and such. So first of all, let me ask you a question: What is your most favorite feature coming up as part of Windows 365, and explain a little bit what we showed in that episode, and we can as well show the episode here in the bottom so people can look at it as a follow-up to this episode. JEREMY CHAPMAN: Yeah. So that, I mean
the massive integration that's coming, I think, I think everybody sees like the, the promise and the importance of Windows 365 and really what it means from a, from a client computing perspective. So, I mean, at the, at the very first side of things, accessing your Cloud PC, the new Windows 365 app, I think it's going to make things a lot nicer just to be able to get to your Cloud PC environments or environment, if you have one. And then, the other thing that I think is super cool-- and I love the, kind of the integration that we've done in terms of working with things like desktops--and I'm a huge user of desktops. I even used it, you know, to, to move between, you know, different remote desktop sessions in the past, but it wasn't as elegant as what's coming now, where you can just get to your Cloud PC as another desktop. So it's super easy, and you don't have to do all the fiddling of like, which host has all of your, you know, Window shortcut key controls and all of those things.
It's just super integrated and really easy to get to. And then, the other thing that I think is super fascinating, just because I've been so close to, you know, all the different technologies that kind of lead up to this, which is that offline mode that you're referring to. And I don't know if it'll work jumping out of an airplane, but it probably should theoretically, you know, getting to the point where you can do the right degree of kind of replication to local disc and being able to sync changes and all the things that you can do, you know, when you operate something that's been cached locally, and then making sure that it can sync back up with the cloud. Like,
there have been a lot of milestones to get to a point where we can deliver something like that. So I'm super excited to see what that looks like once everything's up and running and really experience that for myself. Because that's one of those things, again, where I've kind of seen the chapters of the book get written to get to the point where we can do something like this over the years. And it'll be really cool to see all that stuff come together as one cohesive solution.
CHRISTIAAN BRINKHOFF: Yeah. I think that's the reason why we got connected. You got connected with Scott Manchester because we really shared the passion in the space and the vision. So thanks for sharing that. I think it's now time to show some demos, as well. So, so do you have something prepared for us to show? JEREMY CHAPMAN: Yeah, demos are the best part, and I actually want to start out and just make sure that for my fellow admins out there, that we start out in the Microsoft Endpoint Manager portal and really show some really cool things there.
So what I'd like to do is kind of walk through some of the IT admin controls that I really like about Windows 365. Then, we'll jump over into a user environment and see some of the things there and how familiar it is. And something I learned about today was the higher DPI support that even right now, I'm loving the way everything looks, and it looks so native even on my local machine here.
So I want to show a couple of those experiences. So where would you like me to start, Christiaan? I can start maybe with the provisioning policy. CHRISTIAAN BRINKHOFF: Yeah, let's do that. JEREMY CHAPMAN: All right. So here, I'm just in the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center.
You can see that under "Devices" and "Windows 365," I'm right here. And you can see I've got 45 Cloud PCs provisioned. Everything's looking good.
Our network connections are all looking good. Everything's green, that's a good thing. Now, to get everything working, you know, you've got to have your groups and everything set up. And the nice thing is provisioning policies: They're kind of predicated on groups if you've got people licensed-- I won't show that here--and you've got them in the right groups, then, to create your own Cloud PCs. It's as simple as just going in and creating a provisioning policy. So you can see I've got one here already for my sales desktops running Windows 10, in this case, but I'm going to go ahead and create a new policy.
And we'll go ahead and give it a name. I'll just call it "Mechanics." I'll leave the description blank for now. And this is one of those areas that I love because this is something that, you know, you can do that again, like we said, doesn't require a local directory service running. You can use that with hybrid Azure AD join, or you can just create the Azure AD join type of Cloud PCs. And that's going to be super easy in terms of not having to worry about directory services integration.
Everything's in the cloud. Now, the nice thing, too, with networking is, if you got VNets and virtual networks set up in Azure, of course you can configure your Cloud PCs to talk to those. One of the things that I think, again, talking about the consistency of having this run like you would manage a physical machine that you're provisioning is you could use the Microsoft-hosted network. And that way, if you do need to get to a few of on-prem apps-for example, you know, and you've got, for example, in your normal provisioning policies for your app services in Intune, you're just already provisioning the VPN client-- it's going to be the same thing here. So, I love just keeping it as the Microsoft-hosted network.
And then, it's going to get all the same apps, the same policies as basically every PC that I'm deploying out through Intune. Now because we're located at the moment in west US, we're going to go ahead and pick West US 2 as our region, but you can see all the different regions where I can have our Cloud PCs running in case you are in another part of the world or have multiple different geographies that you operate in. So that way, everything's nice and close to the user. So next, this is where, you know, some of the options show up in terms of what you can provision. So I'm going to go ahead and show you what I can do here.
So I can select a custom image. So that's going to give me the abilities to, for example, have an image that's got a bunch of maybe line-of-business apps or things preloaded. This happens to be an image for our frontline workers, but, you know because we have all of our apps already provisioned through the Intune app service and all of our policies managed, the nice thing with this is we can actually just use a gallery image. And there are tons of gallery images available to you. You can see basically everything that's supported from Windows 10 all the way through up into Windows 11. There are two different flavors here for Windows 11: The one that's got the Microsoft 365 apps preinstalled as well as one that has OS optimizations for Cloud PC.
Again, because my M365 apps are being provisioned through Intune anyway, by default, for all my users, I can just select this one here, and now I know that I'll get the right image and all my apps and policies will get layered on via Intune. So now, in terms of Window settings, you know, I have the ability to specify my language and my region. And something else that we mentioned before was the ability to do Autopatch.
If you, you haven't started with your, you know, ring deployment and you're doing up update management using rings, this will get all of that running for you. So it's very little effort to get all of those best practices configured, but in our case, we've already got that configured in our tenant. So I'll pick "None" here and click "Next." So now for "Assignments," this is kind of where the magic happens because now I need to basically take this policy and match-make it to the group that will get it, get these Cloud PCs deployed to. So I'm going to go ahead and just choose my IT staff.
That's the team that I'm in. I'll hit "Select," and I'll go "Next." And you'll see kind of the different settings that I've selected: my region and image and everything and which groups have been assigned.
And I could hit "Create" here, but because I want to save a few minutes of time, I've already provisioned a Cloud PC environment. So let me go ahead and go to that one. So since I already have a environment provisioned, I'm going to go to that in the browser to get to it. You just go to Windows365.microsoft.com. You can see here that I have my IT Team - Windows 11 machine already up and running.
So I'll go ahead and open this in the browser. And once I do that, it just looks like Windows 11, and it's basically full fidelity, full feature. I've turned on high DPI in this case, which I love as a setting. I can collapse the toolbar here.
So I get the full screen of it. So now, with my Cloud PC in full screen, you'll see, it just looks like a natively installed copy of Windows 11. And the great thing is, you know, with the browser, you can get to it from a Windows device, Mac, mobile devices, Linux, even, and there're also native apps available. And we have a new app coming out soon for Windows 365, as well.
Now, Christiaan, I know there's a ton that you can do, you know, with Windows 365 from the browser with a few exceptions, like sharing your webcam, but with the Windows 365 app, what are some of the additional capabilities that you get? Because you're the expert here. CHRISTIAAN BRINKHOFF: Yeah. Thanks, Jeremy. So with the app, you have all the local to cloud integration benefits-- so webcam, multimedia redirection, Teams redirection, as well. So if you use the Windows 365 app that's coming in the near-term future, you'll get all of that plus, as well, all the benefits of the web app.
So everything you just showed with the user actions, the capabilities to reboot and reset a Cloud PC and things like that that are familiar to the Windows 365 service, will be possible to use as part of Windows 11 as part of the client, the app, the Windows 365 app. And we are, as well, doing improvements on the web portal client experience. So think about, like, redirection support improvements. They will come, as well, in the near-term future. And one of the other key aspects of the Windows 365 app is that you have, like, possibilities to go full-screen windowed mode.
It works on all version SKUs of Windows 11. But the greater thing to explain here is that we will ship it in box as part of Windows 11. So if you are in Windows 11 already, you have the app just baked into the operating system. So no need to deploy or what so whatsoever.
JEREMY CHAPMAN: Nice! Looking forward to having that and trying that out. CHRISTIAAN BRINKHOFF: Yeah. I will give you early access internally. I will do that for you.
So with that, I really like to, yeah, thank you for being the first guest of season 2. So how can people stay in touch with you? JEREMY CHAPMAN: Yeah. So you can find me, you know, like on Twitter, for example, @deployjeremy. I'm actually, I've got it my own TikTok channel, as well, now. It is 2022. And I've got the Mechanics channel on YouTube as well as my own kind of small YouTube channel with a bunch of different tips and tricks for remote work and hardware.
So check out if you go to microsoft.com/mechanics, that'll take you to our YouTube. Otherwise, @deployjeremy, you'll probably find all of my social presences on the web.
CHRISTIAAN BRINKHOFF: Thanks. Thanks, Jeremy. And I definitely would like to invite you back on, on the show at some point. And with that, I would like to thank you, reoccurring visitor or new visitor. So thanks for watching again or start watching. And I hope to see you back soon.
If you're interested in learning more or to see more episodes, you just go to aka.ms/windowsinthecloud, and then you will find more. So hope to see you next time. Thank you.
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