Posted by: kurtsh | September 16, 2022

INFO: Cloud-based Development Environments from Microsoft

Here’s 4 solutions we provide that address the needs of Windows users & Developers that want configurable, remotely-accessible Windows 10/11 workstations hosted in the cloud.

  1. Azure Virtual Desktop
    imageMicrosoft’s Enterprise cloud-hosted VDI offering.  A fully IT-managed Virtual Desktop Infrastructure platform with complete configurability for OS, software & hardware. Optionally available for integration with 3rd party tools including Citrix XenDesktop, VMware Horizon, and other historically on-prem 3rd party VDI solutions.  Costs are determined based on monthly usage & configuration.  The original Microsoft hosted desktop offering and the one with the greatest maturity & largest ecosystem.
  2. Microsoft Windows 365
    imageProvides a Windows 10/11 virtual machine and persists the user’s personalized apps, content, and settings—from the Microsoft cloud to any device.  Uniquely available in “t-shirt sizes” providing a flat monthly price for each subscribed VM, ranging from $31-$66/month depending on configuration – with the caveat that there is very little flexibility in hardware configuration beyond what initial VM option is chosen.  With different options available for small & medium businesses vs Enterprise-class customers, Windows 365 provides a turnkey solution for individuals and organizations looking for a balance between predictable costs as well as VM-level flexibility.
  3. Microsoft Dev Box – Virtual Machines for Developers
    imageService that provides hosted Windows hardware & software tailored to development work. Enables quick provisioning of standard tools & platform software for developers in a hosted environment.  Leverages Windows 365 as the backend.  Full hosted Windows VM – full control over the hosted environment to install applications like SQL Server.  Can be managed using Intune/Endpoint Manager.  Works with any IDE and any source control system that runs on Windows.  Can be managed using Intune, Endpoint Manager or the Azure portal.
    (Video overview of Dev Box is available here:
  4. Github Codespaces
    imageGitHub Codespaces provides cloud-powered development environments for any activity – whether it’s a long-term project, or a short-term task like reviewing a pull request. You can work with these environments from Visual Studio Code or in a browser-based editor but Visual Studio’s IDE is not yet available.  As a fully managed environment created in the cloud, Codespaces does not enable modifications to the operating environment like Dev Box does but also absolved the developer of the complexity of an unmanaged environment.
    (Video overview of Github Codespaces is available here:
    Note: Visual Studio Online was renamed to Visual Studio Codespaces then subsequently merged into Github Codespaces.


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