Microsoft Dev Box now available in public preview, offers workstations in the cloud

Back in May, Microsoft announced Dev Box, enabling developers to take advantage of pre-configured environments to write code without worrying about architecture. However, back then, the service was only available in private preview with a waitlist. Today, it has hit public preview.

A graphic showing the workflow of Microsoft Dev Box

The idea behind Dev Box is to offer developer-ready workstations hosted in the cloud. These integrate with Azure Deployment Environments, Intune, and Endpoint Manager, so you can get up and running in no time with existing project templates.

The motivation behind this solution is to also reduce the headache for IT admins when it comes to resource onboarding and hardware procurement, compliancy, and security. This also makes the job easier for developers as the tools they need are already installed on a Dev Box, they can just spin it up, build a proof-of-concept, and then delete the environment. A key advantage of the managed service is the fact that you can access it from anywhere since it's available via the web.

Access to Dev Box can be controlled with Azure Active Directory (AAD) and different machines can be spun up for various use-cases. These start from 4 vCPUs/16GB RAM and go up to 32 vCPUs/128GB RAM. Microsoft has noted that:

Developer flexibility and productivity can’t come at the expense of security or compliance. Microsoft Dev Box builds on Windows 365, making it easy for IT administrators to manage dev boxes together with physical devices and Cloud PCs through Microsoft Intune and Microsoft Endpoint Manager. IT admins can set conditional access policies to ensure users only access dev boxes from compliant devices while keeping dev boxes up to date using expedited quality updates to deploy zero-day patches across the organization and quickly isolate compromised devices. Endpoint Manager’s deep device analytics make it easy to audit application health, device utilization, and other critical metrics, giving developers the confidence to focus on their code knowing they’re not exposing the organization to any unnecessary risk.

Since this is a managed service with a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) model, pricing is based on hourly usage and is highly dependent on your resource consumption. Automation can be implemented to "warm up" a Dev Box at the start of the day and have it be halted when it's idle near the end of the day.

With Dev Box now being available in public preview, interested organizations can head over to Azure Portal to download their preferred environments. You can head to the dedicated webpage here to find more about Microsoft Dev Box.

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