Windows 365 is live, very expensive and unnecessary

Garikai Dzoma Avatar

Microsoft’s promised Windows 365 is now live. You can now stream a Windows 10 (Windows 11 is coming later on) desktop from the cloud and use it from whatever device you are using. It’s an enticing prospect until you consider the price tags attached to each plan and the somewhat underwhelming specs that are on offer.

There are two tiers:

  • Business and
  • Enterprise

Most small business owners will be interested in business packages and these start at a whopping US$24 per month despite the rather anaemic specs of 2GB RAM and 64GB of the storage-my phone has twice that much RAM. The other plans are as follows:

  • 4GB RAM, 64GB storage and 2 vCPUs for $32 per month.
  • 8GB RAM, 128GB storage and 4 vCPUs for $70 per month.
  • 32GB RAM, 128GB storage and 8 vCPUs for $127 per month.
  • 32GB RAM, 512GB storage and 8 vCPUs for $158 per month.

In addition to this, you will also have to pay for the fast internet you will need for this to work. I couldn’t find the minimum recommended speed but remember you are in essence streaming a video to your device here. The thing about real-time interactions like the ones you need to carry out with your desktop is that they tend to use inefficient video codecs. I would recommend a speed of at least 20 Mbps. That’s fibre or LTE territory in Zimbabwe and neither of them is cheap.

Cloud apps makes more sense

I am always telling people this but I feel the need to reiterate. Operating systems are not important-they are a gateway to whatever it is that you want to do and the rise of cloud apps have accentuated that fact more and more in recent years. Businesses don’t have Windows PCs because they like the feel and look of Windows, they want to achieve a specific productive purpose.

It might be to run financial or accounting software or to process spreadsheets and Word documents. Or it might be to run design software. Or if you are a home user it might be for gaming purposes. The thing is these days most software already runs in the cloud. You can run Quickbooks or Sage Pastel in your browser. You can use Microsoft 365 from the browser. Thanks to GeForce and Stadia you can also game from the Cloud.

You can do all the things you can do with Windows 365 without having to worry about complexities like what RAM or storage do I need or storage. You just pay a fee and run your app. That has always been the draw of the cloud running your app remotely in Windows brings back all that complexity. The only reason I can think of using Windows 365 is so you can run some legacy apps.

Windows 365 is not needed

In the Windows 365 advertisement, you have people running Windows 365 on workstations, Surface tablets and mobile phones. There is something glaringly missing in all the shots. You never see what the people are actually doing on these devices. Why would you buy an expensive powerful workstation and then turn it into a cloud PC? Why buy a powerful $749+ Surface Pro 7 and then relegate it to the role of a giant screen? All these devices come with more RAM, processing speed and storage than these cloud PCs.

All these devices are quite capable of running software natively. If not you can always go for specific cloud apps. You can get a second-hand PC with better specs if you save the money you want to spend on cloud PCs. The irony is you probably need to buy a PC to use a Windows 365 PC. So why do you need it?

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  1. Starlink the Future of Internet

    I would like to disagree with Garikai, in his post, “Windows 365 being expensive and unnecessary”. I have been using the following applications like Anydesk, Teamviewer, and AWS Workspaces that don’t use as much bandwidth. Windows 365 is addressing the hybrid work environment. You also have the ability to work offline and sync your updates when you come back online. Also wants you are on windows live you get a really good connection from the VM, 1Gbps speeds, also the latencies to the cloud servers become reduced. From a security point of view, you are better off working from the stream as opposed to using cloud apps directly from your machine. If security and a good experience are what you are looking for, then this is the right choice or options like AWS. No more need to pay for site-to-site VPN, and complex work from home network setups. Starlink is coming soon and it will have adequate bandwidth as well as good latencies. Probably better than the local ISPs.

    1. Simbarashe Mazorodze

      You have said it very well. This W365 is specifically for those serious about secure WFH.

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