Windows 365

Cloud PC licensing and where to start

This is a topic that keeps on coming back when you start to talk about Windows 365 and Cloud PCs.

“This sounds really cool, but there are sooooo many licenses to choose from. Which one should I get?”

The answer is just as hard as the question. It depends.

It depends mostly on what your users will use their Cloud PCs for, and what you consider to be a fair machine to provide your users with.

Licenses are rarely someone’s favorite subject (I know there are some people who do favorite it thought), but for Windows 365 it’s really simple and straight forward and this is something you as an admin should care about.

Different sizes

Licenses is what defines how powerful your Cloud PC will be, meaning how many vCPUs, how much RAM and how many Gb of storage you will get. Licenses for Cloud PCs are also subscription based, billed on a monthly basis (this could vary depending on your agreements), meaning that you can easily adjust your volumes.

There are a few different ways to look at this, but the image below is a pretty good pointer in when to use what. Like the example below states, you could classify this into three categories:

  • Basic
  • Standard
  • Premium

Depending on what your users workloads are, you can quite easily find a good place to start using this simple matrix.

Windows 365 enterprise plans and pricing | Microsoft

If you want to expand even further, there are a lot more variations available than just those three. There are today 11 different licenses available for Cloud PCs today, divided into 4 different vCPU and RAM categories, where storage adds the variation. Depending on your vCPU and RAM configuration you can select between 64 Gb up to 512 Gb storage.

Windows 365 Plans and Pricing | Microsoft

But where do I start?

Going back to the initial question, what licenses should you get?

I kind of have to stick to my initial statement, “it depends“, because this really comes down to what these machines will be used for. If you are looking at users running mostly productivity and Line of Business (LOB) applications, the 4vCPU/8Gb RAM/128 Gb storage is a pretty sweet deal. Since most of us today are using OneDrive, local storage isn’t that important anymore for many users on a Cloud PC and this license is usually where I recommend many to start since it would fill the basic needs of their user base.

The 4 vCPUs and 8 Gb of RAM will provide you with a great user experience and wont at the same time cost you are fortune. The step-up from this license is the 8 vCPU with 16 Gb RAM if you need a more powerful machine running heavier workloads.

If this size is to small or big, you can always scale up or down using the resize feature (which I’ve written about in this post).

But what about diskspace? To be honest, this is probably the least of your concerns, the performance with RAM and CPUs are more important. Local storage is not to important in a world where most documents are stored in OneDrive or SharePoint, that leaves diskspace to be used by applications. For most scenarios you wont need more than 128 Gb disk, bit of course there are always use cases where local storage is key. But diskspace is like all the other parts, it can be expanded. HOWEVER, you cannot decrease diskspace. This means that you can move from 128 Gb disk to 512 Gb, but not the other way around. This is an important thing to keep in mind!

Final thoughts

The most important part is to get started somewhere if you want to utilize the awesome benefits that Cloud PC brings, and you can always adjust along the way!

I hope this gave some kind of pointers in where to start!

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