Microsoft shed more light on Windows 8 Enterprise, the version of the upcoming operating system that is aimed at large corporate environments and business users.
After treating it as a footnote in a post on the upcoming Windows 8 editions earlier this week, Microsoft
has shed more light on Windows 8 Enterprise.
In an April 18 blog post, Erwin Visser, senior director of
Windows at Microsoft, said Windows 8 Enterprise features include all the
capabilities that customers get with Windows 8 Pro plus premium features designed
to provide the mobile productivity, security, manageability and virtualization
needs of today's businesses.
Some of the features that will be
available exclusively to Windows 8 Enterprise customers include Windows To Go,
DirectAccess and BranchCache. Windows To Go is a corporate Windows 8 desktop on
a bootable external USB stick. This will allow IT organizations to support the "Bring
Your Own PC" trend, and businesses can give contingent staff access to the
corporate environment without compromising security, Visser said.
DirectAccess enables remote users to
access resources inside a corporate network without having to launch a separate
VPN and helps IT administrators keep remote users' PCs in compliance by
applying the latest policies and software updates.
BranchCache enables users' PCs to cache
files, Websites and other content from central servers, so content is not
repeatedly downloaded across the wide area network (WAN). When used with
Windows Server 2012, Windows 8 brings several improvements to BranchCache to
streamline the deployment process, optimize bandwidth over WAN connections, and
ensure better security and scalability.
Other Windows 8 Enterprise features
include AppLocker, which can help mitigate issues by restricting the files and
apps that users or groups are allowed to run. Microsoft also added enhancements
in Microsoft RemoteFX and Windows Server 2012 that provide users with a rich
desktop experience with the ability to play 3D graphics, use USB peripherals
and use touch-enabled devices across any type of network (LAN or WAN) for VDI
scenarios. And new Windows 8 app deployment scenarios allow domain joined PCs
and tablets running Windows 8 Enterprise to automatically be enabled to side-load
internal, Windows 8 Metro-style apps.
"In addition to these features,
customers will get improvements to the fundamentals, including end-to-end
security and better manageability," Visser said. "Businesses will
also benefit from the immersive, personalized experience Windows 8 has to offer
and the no-compromise business tablet that will mean businesses no longer have
to choose between the functionality of a tablet or the productivity of a PC.
There's a good summary of these features in a press release we issued last month."
In addition, with Windows 8, Microsoft
also is enhancing its Software Assurance (SA) benefits to meet the needs of
today's workforce. "We will be making improvements to Windows Software
Assurance that provides business customers with better ways to enable these
flexible work styles," Visser said.
Visser added that after Windows 8
Enterprise becomes available, Software Assurance customers will have the
following new use rights:
Windows To Go Use Rights:Windows To Go will allow
companies to support Bring Your Own PC scenarios and will give employees
who need to work from home more secure access to their full corporate
environment. With Windows To Go use rights under Software Assurance, an
employee will be able to use Windows To Go on any company PC licensed with
Windows SA as well as from their home PC. Additionally, through a new
companion device license for SA, employees will be able to use WTG on
their personal devices at work.
Windows RT Virtual Desktop
Access (VDA) Rights:When
used as a companion of a Windows Software Assurance licensed PC, Windows
RT will automatically receive extended VDA rights. These rights will
provide access to a full VDI image running in the data center, which will
make Windows RT a great complementary tablet option for business
Companion Device License: For
customers who want to provide full flexibility for how employees access
their corporate desktop across devices, there is a new Companion Device
License for Windows SA customers. For users of Windows Software Assurance
licensed PCs, this optional add-on will provide rights to access a
corporate desktop either through VDI or Windows To Go on up to four
personally owned devices.
In addition to Windows 8 Enterprise,
Software Assurance customers have the ability to subscribe to Microsoft Desktop
Optimization Pack (MDOP). MDOP helps enterprise customers take
advantage of desktop virtualization, manage Windows features
and restore user productivity after a system issue. Microsoft also added User Experience Virtualization (UE-V), which
allows individuals to change their device without reconfiguring applications or
settings in Windows 7 or Windows 8.
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.