Want to Run Windows 10 Desktops In the Cloud?

Desktop in the Cloud

Citrix and Microsoft just made it easier. Until now, Microsoft’s license terms did not allow you to run a true Windows desktop Operating System on any kind of multi-tenant infrastructure. So if you wanted to run a Windows desktop OS, you had to be able to cost-justify paying your Cloud services provider for dedicated hardware, which often made the solution unaffordable for a small or medium enterprise. That’s why most Cloud services providers use the Windows Server O.S. to deliver desktops via Remote Desktop Services – for which the license model has been clearly established for some time now – even for people who needed a dedicated O.S. instance per user. But, as of March 17, you can do it…but only on Azure, and only Windows 10 Enterprise.

As of March 17, Citrix XenDesktop Essentials is available in the Azure Marketplace. The cost to you for the Citrix component is $12/user/month, and includes access to all the XenDesktop components: Studio, Director, Delivery Controller, and SQL Server. The minimum purchase is only 25 users. On the Microsoft side, in addition to an Azure subscription, you must either own Windows 10 Enterprise per-user licenses with Software Assurance, or the Windows 10 E3 or E5 subscription license. You will, of course, need to pay for the Azure compute and storage resources associated with your Windows 10 virtual desktops.

It is worth noting that, unless Microsoft makes further changes to their license terms, you still will not be able to legally run virtual Windows 10 desktops on any other multi-tenant public cloud infrastructure. Not on Google, not on AWS, not on any service provider’s infrastructure that is not providing you with 100% dedicated hardware for your Cloud infrastructure. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out – so keep the popcorn handy…

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