Microsoft pauses free trial of Windows 365 following 'unbelievable response'

nanoguy

Posts: 896   +12
Staff member
What just happened? Two days after Microsoft announced the general availability of Windows 365, it generated so much interest that the company had to pause new trial signups until it can build more capacity to support the influx of potential paid customers. It's too early to call it a success, but the company says the response so far has been "significant."

Microsoft launched Windows 365 this month, a new service that essentially moves your PC to the cloud by virtue of Azure-hosted Windows 10 virtual machines. Pricing goes from $20 to $162 per month based on your individual needs, but there's something to be said about the convenience and security it brings to the modern hybrid workspace.

It's an idea that some entrepreneurs have tried to apply to the Chrome web browser, as many people can do the majority or all of their work from there. However, Microsoft's implementation seems to be generating a lot more demand -- so much so, that the company has reportedly run out of server capacity to support the high number of people who signed up for the two-month trial of Windows 365.

According to Scott Manchester, who presides over the Windows 365 Team, the company has had to temporarily pause signups until it manages to build additional capacity. That said, you can still sign up to be notified as soon as the trial becomes available, or straight up purchase access to the service if you're not willing to wait.

It looks like the old idea of turning your devices into dumb terminals that hook to a powerful mainframe is a lot more fashionable in 2021 than it was decades ago, when the likes of Oracle and IBM tried to push it to the masses.

With massive data centers, high speed connectivity, and most new productivity apps being essentially web apps in a container, the dumb terminal has a real chance of taking off in the form of the Cloud PC.

Permalink to story.

 

yRaz

Posts: 3,792   +3,908
Cool, we should give total control of our data to Microsoft. Our personal lives are already on Facebook. And guess what? Everybody can afford a dumb terminal.
From a business perspective this makes sense. If you have hundreds of employees that access documents from multiple computers it makes sense. Have stuff in the cloud is very convenient and businesses have different rights than individuals so someone like IBM is safer handing over their information to MS than you or me.

For the few times a year I need type something up or make some type of office document I use Libre Office.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 930   +1,720
Not exactly sure what's going on but if we take this context and apply it to the "1 core 2gb ram" entry level, I think we can guess: Microsoft probably decided to go ahead with the launch before they had sufficient servers ready for it.

Which is a shame because renting out a VM is not ideal if you can spare the resources. Not sure if they're using container technology instead of a full VM but obviously a full VM means there probably isn't enough servers in their data centers to support it but with containers, taking into account an "expected performance" instead of actual dedicated cores they could get away with far less and more efficient balancing.
 

VitalyT

Posts: 5,832   +5,886
I call this "success" more "improbable", due to the trial being free, just to see what this is about. I don't see anybody wanting to use this nonsense platform, apart from the corporations eager to force this upon their unfortunate workers.

 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 2,645   +4,119
From a business perspective this makes sense. If you have hundreds of employees that access documents from multiple computers it makes sense. Have stuff in the cloud is very convenient and businesses have different rights than individuals so someone like IBM is safer handing over their information to MS than you or me.

For the few times a year I need type something up or make some type of office document I use Libre Office.
From a business perspective, google docs is free and does 100% of what 99% of users need, and comes with document sharing and cloud joint work built in. For free.

As for this remote software, business desktops may be expensive but they can easily last for a decade +. This onyl makes sense for a business with either a mostly work from home taskforce that they are too lazy to buy laptops for or one that is incredibly short sighted in regards to operating costs and data security.
 

yRaz

Posts: 3,792   +3,908
From a business perspective, google docs is free and does 100% of what 99% of users need, and comes with document sharing and cloud joint work built in. For free.

As for this remote software, business desktops may be expensive but they can easily last for a decade +. This onyl makes sense for a business with either a mostly work from home taskforce that they are too lazy to buy laptops for or one that is incredibly short sighted in regards to operating costs and data security.
If I remember correctly, Google docs is only free for individual use, business use requires a different license. I still just save my documents and email them to everyone, I grew up in an Era where cloud shared documents and software weren't a thing and I prefer to stay there
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 5,214   +5,910
I wouldn't mind having a virtual Windows environment for school or work where we'd normally have already surrendered our privacy to the enterprise equipment, but there's no way in HELL I'll give up the server side privileges.
 

nnguy2

Posts: 307   +604
From a business perspective, google docs is free and does 100% of what 99% of users need, and comes with document sharing and cloud joint work built in. For free.

As for this remote software, business desktops may be expensive but they can easily last for a decade +. This onyl makes sense for a business with either a mostly work from home taskforce that they are too lazy to buy laptops for or one that is incredibly short sighted in regards to operating costs and data security.

Google Docs and Sheets are terrible if you need it for anything else beside basic functions beyond what a high school or college student needs. Even web based office 365 has very limited function and I always have to open the actual word/excel app for full functionality.

Although I will admit that the limited scope of Docs and Sheets will probably be sufficient for 50% of the population and businesses. But larger corporations need more than basic functions.
 

johnehoffman

Posts: 44   +65
Working using a connection from a remote server that hosts both your applications and your output was a dumb idea years ago and it is still a dumb idea. Sadly, give it a new "modern" sounding name, and people are willing to relearn the lesson rather than read up on the history.

When the internet connection to my PC goes out, I cannot access material from the internet, but I can continue working on work for which I have already downloaded what I need. If I am using a dumb terminal with the application and my output in the cloud, I cannot work until the internet connection is restored.
 

arrowflash

Posts: 460   +498
Working using a connection from a remote server that hosts both your applications and your output was a dumb idea years ago and it is still a dumb idea. Sadly, give it a new "modern" sounding name, and people are willing to relearn the lesson rather than read up on the history.

When the internet connection to my PC goes out, I cannot access material from the internet, but I can continue working on work for which I have already downloaded what I need. If I am using a dumb terminal with the application and my output in the cloud, I cannot work until the internet connection is restored.

It wasn't such a dumb idea back then - it was seen as a necessary evil, because home and small office computers of the time weren't powerful enough to host the applications and data that ran on mainframes. But everyone celebrated the day PCs became powerful enough to run apps and store all data locally, becoming free from the clutches of mainframes and network managers.

Now we have PCs and even mobile devices with so much local processing power and data storage that most people don't know what to do with them, and are willing to turn them into dumb terminals. It boggles my mind. Really looks like a case of people forgetting about the past and repeating it, this time willingly so.
 
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Dimitriid

Posts: 930   +1,720
Google Docs and Sheets are terrible if you need it for anything else beside basic functions beyond what a high school or college student needs. Even web based office 365 has very limited function and I always have to open the actual word/excel app for full functionality.

Although I will admit that the limited scope of Docs and Sheets will probably be sufficient for 50% of the population and businesses. But larger corporations need more than basic functions.

I have to agree with this: most people think "Word" or "Excel" or "Powerpoint" and if they haven't worked office job, they assume is the basic stuff they might have seen or used for school work.

While you *could* use some of that stuff, without at the very least basic macro functionality you probably will hate your job. Those jobs are what we used to call "data entry" but they're so mindnumbingly repetitive and boring nobody wants to do them.

Even your basic CPA working the books or finance will likely at least use quickbooks and a bunch of really intricate excel function calls if not custom made ones to make things easier.

Most of the online tools are probably useful to do like a quick part list from when you're browsing computer parts and such since it might give you a sum fields functionality. Very amateur stuff. Actual work means mostly macros and function galore.
 

Aryassen

Posts: 164   +192
OK, let me get this straight: so you have a PC, already running a legit and up-to-date copy of Windows, and then you open a browser, and log in to remote server to....run Windows?
???
And this is so popular that MS can't keep up with demand?
?????
I'm obviously missing something. I understand that may be fun for a few minutes to "run" W365 on my phone or tablet (for instance), but would people really pay $20+ a month for that privilege? What is the popular use case scenario I don't see? Somebody please help me :)
 

Fulljack

Posts: 20   +20
OK, let me get this straight: so you have a PC, already running a legit and up-to-date copy of Windows, and then you open a browser, and log in to remote server to....run Windows?
???
And this is so popular that MS can't keep up with demand?
?????
I'm obviously missing something. I understand that may be fun for a few minutes to "run" W365 on my phone or tablet (for instance), but would people really pay $20+ a month for that privilege? What is the popular use case scenario I don't see? Somebody please help me :)
it's basically streaming, for generic apps. I think the use case that could be possible for my line of works (civil engineering) are data processing. it took hours to finish a calculation or simulation, especially on a big multimillion project. if Windows 365 uses fairly powerful servers, it'll shave that processing time by a lot—to a mere minutes at just $100/mo, yeah it's terribly cheap compared to the whole project costs.
 

Aryassen

Posts: 164   +192
it's basically streaming, for generic apps. I think the use case that could be possible for my line of works (civil engineering) are data processing. it took hours to finish a calculation or simulation, especially on a big multimillion project. if Windows 365 uses fairly powerful servers, it'll shave that processing time by a lot—to a mere minutes at just $100/mo, yeah it's terribly cheap compared to the whole project costs.
OK, that's a fair point. But where is the novelty in that? You could already choose zillions of remote access solutions providing virtual workstations/servers (including the above mentioned Azure environment), why would you need a "new" Windows version/service/environment for that? Is it pricing? Or is it coming with Office365 bundled at no extra cost?

And though $100/month should be indeed peanuts in an engineering project, so would be (in all fairness) the procurement of a decent laptop (especially considering that said projects typically tend to run for a lot of months), and any laptop coming with an 8/16 CPU (really not that hard to find these days) would be able to provide serious processing power (if that's what's needed).
 

Fulljack

Posts: 20   +20
OK, that's a fair point. But where is the novelty in that? You could already choose zillions of remote access solutions providing virtual workstations/servers (including the above mentioned Azure environment), why would you need a "new" Windows version/service/environment for that? Is it pricing? Or is it coming with Office365 bundled at no extra cost?

And though $100/month should be indeed peanuts in an engineering project, so would be (in all fairness) the procurement of a decent laptop (especially considering that said projects typically tend to run for a lot of months), and any laptop coming with an 8/16 CPU (really not that hard to find these days) would be able to provide serious processing power (if that's what's needed).
to be honest, I don't know much about common cloud computing. like, does Azure uses win32 apps like Windows normally could? also, does Windows 365 offers workstation level performance, like Threadripper or Intel HEDT?

Because I assure you, costs savings and price cutting are very rampant in civil engineering. If buying cheap *** laptops with Windows 365 subscription are cheaper than full blown workstation laptop, they'll gives you the former instead the latter. Also, I'd like to add that most big shot construction consultant actually already has dedicated computing server and workstation to run calculation and simulation, each engineers only design parts of the calculation and/or the simulation, but did not run it. they send the data to the server that will run it. if it's cheaper to use cloud computing than having dedicated server, I think people will use it.
 

fps4ever

Posts: 705   +937
to be honest, I don't know much about common cloud computing. like, does Azure uses win32 apps like Windows normally could? also, does Windows 365 offers workstation level performance, like Threadripper or Intel HEDT?

Because I assure you, costs savings and price cutting are very rampant in civil engineering. If buying cheap *** laptops with Windows 365 subscription are cheaper than full blown workstation laptop, they'll gives you the former instead the latter. Also, I'd like to add that most big shot construction consultant actually already has dedicated computing server and workstation to run calculation and simulation, each engineers only design parts of the calculation and/or the simulation, but did not run it. they send the data to the server that will run it. if it's cheaper to use cloud computing than having dedicated server, I think people will use it.
These are enterprise level VM cpu's/cores and in no way are you getting that level of performance. Efficiency per core is king in these cloud pc cases not performance. In other words you'll probably be stuck with boost cores around 3.1GHz and not high end cpu's that boost to 4.5GHz+.