Why it matters: There's no shortage of third-party options for running Windows in the cloud but this is Microsoft's first official take on it. The service won't arrive until later this year as a public preview although when it does, it sounds as though it'll be a seamless solution that could save IT professionals a lot of time and hassle.

Microsoft at its Ignite conference in Orlando on Monday announced Windows Virtual Desktop, a multi-user Windows and Office experience virtualized in the cloud via Azure.

The service allows users to run Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows Server 2012 R2+. It’s optimized for Office 365 ProPlus should your end-users need access to those productivity-minded apps and if you’re still working to transition to Windows 10, the Windows 7 virtual desktop offers free Extended Security Updates.

Microsoft is also working with a number of partners including CloudJumper, Citrix, FSLogix, Lakeside Software, Liquidware, ThinPrint and People Tech Group to extend the capabilities of Windows Virtual Desktop through the Azure marketplace.

Microsoft says users can deploy and scale in minutes, pitching the service as a way for IT professionals to eliminate the hassles associated with hosting, installing, configuring and managing components themselves.

Windows Virtual Desktop will be available to Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education customers through a public preview set to launch later this year. Customers will simply need to create or use an existing Azure subscription to deploy and manage virtual desktops and apps. Microsoft notes that the only additional cost incurred will be for storage and compute consumption from the VMs themselves, all of which will be managed from within your Azure subscription.

Additional details are pending although according to Ars Technica, Microsoft estimates that a typical task worker with Office 365 will cost about $10 per month in Azure resources.

Those interested in learning more can register to be notified when the public preview becomes available.