In this article, we will explain what is Windows 365 Frontline and how to create provisioning policy for Windows 365 Frontline Cloud PC. Up to three Cloud PCs are supported by a single Windows 365 Frontline license. We will also learn how Windows 365 Frontline helps simplify provisioning Cloud PCs for IT.
Microsoft first released Windows 365 Frontline for public preview. Starting July 3, 2023, Windows 365 Frontline is now generally available and this has been added with Windows 365 Service Release version 2306. Keep following the Intune Monthly updates to get more details about general availability of Cloud PC new features and Intune service updates.
Windows 365 Frontline can be managed alongside your other Windows 365 Cloud PCs and endpoints with Microsoft Intune. Cloud PCs are created and assigned to users based on provisioning policies. From deploying apps to applying settings, it’s easy for IT administrators to tailor the experience of each group of Cloud PCs to meet the needs of each type of employee.
What is Windows 365 Frontline?
Windows 365 Frontline is a new concept of Windows 365 that helps organizations save costs by allowing a single license to provision three Cloud PC virtual machines. Windows 365 Frontline is for organizations of all sizes with shift and part-time workers who require access to Cloud PCs only for limited amounts of time, such as during their scheduled hours.
These Cloud PCs can be used by any employee, as long as only one employee per license is active at any given time. So, instead of purchasing Frontline license of Windows 365 for every employee, you only need to purchase the number of licenses required to support the maximum number of concurrent active users.
How does Windows 365 Frontline Save Costs?
Windows 365 Frontline can greatly reduce the costs for an organization. Let’s understand this with an example. For instance, if you have 300 customer service reps who work in different time zones or shifts but only 100 of them work at the same time, you only need to buy 100 licences to give each employee a personalised Cloud PC.
When these 100 employees save their data and sign out at the end of their shift, the next group of employees can log in to their personalised Cloud PCs and start working. When their shift is over, a third group can come in. Shift workers can get to work right away because their personal settings, data, and apps have been saved and are ready to use as soon as they sign in to their Windows 365 Frontline Cloud PC.
Differences between Windows 365 Enterprise and Windows 365 Frontline
The table below lists all the major differences between the Windows 365 Enterprise and Windows 365 Frontline offerings.
|Windows 365 Enterprise
|Windows 365 Frontline
|Individual license for each Cloud PC
|Up to three Cloud PCs are supported by a single Windows 365 Frontline licence
|Windows 365 Enterprise is for employees who need dedicated, anytime access to their Cloud PC
|Windows 365 Frontline is for workers who need access to a Cloud PC only for a limited time, such as during their shift and not after working hours
|A dedicated, all day Cloud PC access
|Cloud PC access only when required (for instance, during the shift)
The image below summarizes the differences between Windows 365 Enterprise and Windows 365 Frontline. Both the offerings have a predictable monthly pricing for Cloud PCs.
Steps to Provision Windows 365 Frontline Cloud PC
The following high-level steps are involved in creating a provisioning policy for Windows 365 Frontline Cloud PC:
- Create an Azure AD group for provisioning Cloud PCs
- Create a provisioning policy for Windows 365 Frontline Cloud PCs in Intune
- Choose the License type as Frontline
- Assign the provisioning policy to the Azure AD group
Create Windows 365 Frontline Cloud PC Provisioning Policy
Setting up a Windows 365 Frontline Cloud PC is simple, especially if you’re already familiar with provisioning a Windows 365 Enterprise Cloud PC in Microsoft Intune. In this section, we will create a new provisioning policy for Windows 365 Frontline Cloud PC.
- Sign in to the Microsoft Intune admin center.
- Select Devices > Windows 365 > Provisioning policies.
- To create a new Windows 365 Frontline Cloud PC provisioning policy, select Create policy.
On the General tab of the new policy, specify the name and description for the provisioning policy. You can specify the following details:
- Name: Windows 365 Frontline Cloud PC Provisioning Policy
- Description: Provision Windows 365 Frontline Cloud PCs
Note: The provisioning policy name cannot contain the following characters: < > & | ” ^. Ensure you don’t include them in the name while creating provisioning policy.
License Type: There are two options, Enterprise and Frontline. Select the license type as Frontline. For each license, assign a Frontline Cloud PC to up to 3 users. Only 1 of these users will be able to connect to their Cloud PC at a time.
Join Type Details: Specifies the identity services provided by Windows 365 to facilitate authentication and services for Cloud PCs. In the screenshot below, select the join type as Azure AD Join and network as Azure network connection. Specify the Azure AD network connection and click Next.
On the Image page, for Image type, select one of the following options:
- Gallery image: Choose Select > select an image from the gallery > Select. Gallery images are default images provided for your use.
- Custom image: Choose Select > select an image from the list > Select. You’ll see the list of images that you uploaded using the Add device images.
The following example shows the list of Gallery Images for Cloud PCs. Each image has a name, version, and recommendation. Pick a gallery image that better suits your Cloud PC license. You should see the selected OS on the screen. Click Next to continue.
On the Configuration page, select the language and region settings. Click the drop-down and select your desired language and region.
Additional Services: Select Windows Autopatch service, which will manage your Cloud PCs software updates with Windows Autopatch. Refer to the following article on configuring Windows Autopatch for your Intune tenant. Click Next.
On the Assignments page, click Add groups and choose the groups you want this policy assigned to. Click Next to continue.
Verify the Provisioning Policy settings on the Review+Create page and select Create.
In the top-right corner of the screen, you will see a notification “Successfully added new policy” which confirms the provisioning policy was successfully created. To find the list of all the provisioning policies created in Windows 365, go to Devices > Windows 365 > Provisioning Policies. We see the newly created provisioning policy in the list.