Microsoft launches desktops on Azure designed for developers

Unveiled by Microsoft last spring at its Build 2022 conference, the Dev Box solution is now publicly available in preview mode. It is a cloud-based workstation aimed specifically at enterprise application developers. With the promise of saving programmers from wasting time setting up their development environment.

In the Dev Box public availability announcement, Microsoft describes the solution as “a managed service that enables developers to build on-demand, high-performance, secure, ready-to-code, and project-specific desktops in the clouds”. Developers can spin up a desktop in Azure as a preconfigured virtual machine. Microsoft says it’s possible to create your own developer toolkit when you need to quickly jump between projects or work on a proof of concept. Dev Box supports any development environment (IDE), development kit (SDK) or development tool running on Windows. “Developers can target any development workload that can be built from Windows, including desktop, mobile, IoT, and web applications,” the Redmond firm said in its announcement.

The Dev Boxes are accessible remotely in a secure way, from Windows devices but also running on Mac OS, Android or via a web browser. Various configurations can be chosen to adapt to all types of projects

Secure access management

Microsoft also highlights the security of these development environments in cloud mode. Administrators can define conditional access policies, via Azure Active Directory, to ensure that users only access Dev Boxes from compliant devices. The management of security updates is also provided. The first hours of use of this managed service are free. Next, compute and storage pricing is consumption-based. But the press release from Microsoft does not specify the prices. Nor the date of general availability.

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