Last week Microsoft announced new virtualisation licensing options for Windows 10. For those who missed it the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program will be extended to include licensing for Windows 10 hosted in both Azure or with certified 3rd party hosting partners.
To understand why this is such an important announcement first we need to look at where we are today. Today Desktop as a Service (DaaS) providers have no ability to license Microsoft Desktop operating systems (Windows 7/8/10) for their customers. This has created a situation where DaaS providers offer VDI solutions built on Microsoft Server operating systems or alternatively customers have to BYO their own Microsoft Desktop OS licenses. Both of these approaches come with their own drawbacks. In the case of using Microsoft Server OS although it can be modified and reskinned to look more like its Desktop OS relation, underneath it is still designed to be a Server OS and will never provide the same quality of user experience as a true desktop. In the case of customer BYO licenses these include significant conditions, such as it being mandatory that the underlying physical hardware is also customer owned which then negates some of the benefits of moving to a DaaS solution. Even on Microsoft’s own Azure platform Windows 10 cannot be licensed outside of a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement.
From September, when the new licensing becomes available, DaaS providers will finally be able to combine the full desktop experience of Windows 10 with the benefits of DaaS such as mobility, data security, scalability, and enterprise architecture. On top of this it can all be deployed into Microsoft Azure which is a natural fit for DaaS by building further on its core benefits while allowing quick easy integration with Azure’s many Platform as a Service (PaaS) offerings and third party Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings also built on the Azure platform. What is equally as pleasing is that Microsoft will be, as part of the new Microsoft 365 Enterprise E3 and E5 packages, combining this virtualisation licensing with traditional Windows 10 licensing and Office 365 to allow DaaS providers to create whole of IT solutions for businesses.
Here at Byte we have planned for this announcement since the inception of our OneSpace DaaS product. It will be exciting to see those plans become a reality and the value we will be able to add to businesses. The time has come for business to no longer be restrained by their infrastructure and to embrace a truly mobile workforce.
The only thing missing now is for Microsoft to extend these virtualisation licensing options to include Microsoft 365 Business. Small business also deserves to share the benefits of DaaS, Windows 10, and Azure.
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Citrix SME/DaaS Architect
John is a Senior IT specialist with extensive background in designing, implementing, and supporting complex technology solutions and services.