Microsoft Introduces 'Dev Box' Service for Cloud Workstations

Developers will be able to hook into a new cloud service that provides secure, ready-to-code developer workstations for hybrid teams of any size, called Microsoft Dev Box.

The private preview of the new offering was announced at the start of the big Microsoft Build developer conference.

"Microsoft Dev Box empowers developers to focus on the code only they can write, making it easy for them to access the tools and resources they need without worrying about workstation configuration and maintenance," Microsoft said. "Dev teams preconfigure Dev Boxes for specific projects and tasks, enabling devs to get started quickly with an environment that’s ready to build and run their app in minutes. At the same time, Microsoft Dev Box ensures unified management, security, and compliance stay in the hands of IT by leveraging Windows 365 to integrate Dev Boxes with Intune and Microsoft Endpoint Manager."

Microsoft Dev Box Service
[Click on image for larger view.] Microsoft Dev Box Service (source: Microsoft).

The company said those workstation configuration and maintenance worries can plague developers, who might fall victim to small changes that can poison a dev environment and cause time-consuming workflow interruptions. The new service is also said to address rapidly changing hardware requirements for developer workstations, with keeping resources up to date for evolving projects even more difficult in hybrid development environments where work might be done at the office or at home.

Developers and teams can use a portal to to create and delete Dev Boxes for any projects, a process that Microsoft said could take days in on-premises implementations.

"Developers can create Dev Boxes to experiment on a proof-of-concept, keep their projects separate, or even parallelize tasks across multiple Dev Boxes to avoid bogging down their primary environment," Microsoft said. "For devs working on legacy apps, they can maintain Dev Boxes for older versions of an application to quickly create an environment that can reproduce and diagnose critical customer issues as they emerge."

Security is boosted through the service's integration with Windows 365, which lets IT administrators easily manage Dev Boxes and Cloud PCs together in Microsoft Intune and Microsoft Endpoint Manager. "To maximize Dev Box security, IT admins can set comprehensive access controls in Azure Active Directory," the company said. "IT admins can establish conditional access polices that require users to connect via a compliant device, require multifactor authentication (MFA) sign-in, or configure risk-based sign-in polices for Dev Boxes that access sensitive source code and customer data."

The Dev Box service is Microsoft's latest nod to serve hybrid workers, as Windows 365 Cloud PCs provide a user-oriented Windows experience streaming service that Microsoft describes as "hybrid Windows for a hybrid world." The company also offers Azure Virtual Desktop, said to enable a secure remote desktop experience from virtually anywhere.

Developers can go here to apply for the waitlist for the Microsoft Dev Box private preview.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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