Windows 365 Frontline: Closing the Gap between Cloud PCs and Traditional VDI

Windows 365 Frontline: Closing the Gap between Cloud PCs and Traditional VDI

intune, Windows 365
Windows 365 Frontline

One of the arguments against Windows 365 is “but they don’t have non-persistent desktops” or “it’s just a persistent desktop” whatever. Windows 365 Frontline is here to solve a major problem. We will cover today about what Windows 365 Frontline is, building Windows 365 Provisioning Policies, setting some configurations for Frontline, and the user experience. This piggybacks on my previous article about Windows 365.

What is Windows 365 Frontline?

Windows 365 Frontline focuses on the frontline user use case, similar to the F-licenses in Office 365. The major difference between Windows 365 Frontline and the traditional cloud PCs is the licensing model.

The first thing to hit on is that they are different licenses like this below:

What makes it interesting, is you don’t need to grant licenses to users in any way. It works like your traditional non-Microsoft license. You own X licenses and it just handles it. Here’s the real value add: 1 License equals 3 users so if you have 10 licenses, that will cover 30 users.

There is a BUT! You can only have as many concurrent users as you have licenses. In your previous example, you can have 30 total users, but only 10 of them are concurrent. The Cloud PC utilization reports in Intune will actually highlight on these concurrency issues.

Later on, we will cover some device configuration policies we will implement to limit the session time as these licenses are meant for shift workers. So you may just want to limit users to 6 or 8 hours. The value is definitely huge.

They really hit on some nice notes like reminding you to logout before you even log into your PC:

I noticed that Microsoft appears to feel this is best suited for the Browser as I even get notifications once I get into the PC, which I didn’t get from the Windows 365 client:

Building Provisioning Policies for Windows 365 Frontline

Now, you can check out the demo below on setting up the Provisioning Policies. It’s very similar to the standard provisioning policies. Don’t forget this entire thing is controlled by entitling users through the provisioning policy. It will even spin up all of the machines once you’re done!

Building Some Baseline Configurations for Windows 365 Frontline

Microsoft recommends building configuration profiles for Windows Update Rings and Session Time Limits. Check out the video to show you how to set it up and some of the baseline recommendations.

The setup was pretty easy for the most part. Something that they call out in the documentation that doesn’t appear to be there yet is “Power On” and “Power Off” for Frontline, but I’ll keep an eye out for that.

The User Experience in Windows 365 Frontline

Let’s also check out a short demo on how the browser experience differs (which I think might be the preferred way of using this for shift workers):

Closing Thoughts

Well, that was pretty short and sweet but I am SUPER excited about Microsoft’s new offering because I think it solves big problems for many of us. Even firms like mine where we employ offshore resources this creates a great solution coupled with solid DLP to provide a safe and secure place to do important work. I have to admit I am really impressed by just how easy it was to get it up and running. Windows 365 if nothing else excels at spinning up quickly and requiring little effort to deliver value. We will see how it evolves during Public Preview, but I think we can all admit the potential is HUGE.

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