Microsoft outlined some exclusive features of Windows 8 Enterprise, one of three editions
of the upcoming OS aimed at corporate usage.
Windows 8 Enterprise features include all the capabilities that users get with Windows 8 Pro, plus features designed to provide the mobile productivity, security, manageability and virtualization needs of today's businesses. Here?s an overview of some of the key features that will be available exclusively to Windows 8 Enterprise:
- Windows To Go is a fully manageable 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.
- DirectAccess allows 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, software updates, is easier to deploy, and it can be implemented with the existing IPv4 infrastructure.
- BranchCache allows 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 scalabilty.
- AppLocker can help mitigate issues by restricting the files and apps that users or groups are allowed to run.
- VDI enhancements: Enhancements in Microsoft RemoteFX and Windows Server 2012, 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.
- New Windows 8 App Deployment: Domain joined PCs and tablets running Windows 8 Enterprise will automatically be enabled to side-load internal, Windows 8 Metro style apps.
In addition to these features, Windows 8 Enterprise users will get end-to-end security and better manageability.
Microsoft is enhancing its Software Assurance (SA). After Windows 8 Enterprise becomes available, Software Assurance users 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 datacenter.
- Companion Device License: For users who want to provide full flexibility for how employees access their corporate desktop across devices, Microsoft is introducing 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, Microsoft's Software Assurance customers also have the ability to subscribe to MDOP. MDOP helps enterprise customers take advantage of desktop virtualization, manage Windows features, and restore user productivity after a system issue. Microsoft has recently 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.
Windows Intune offers PC management and security from virtually anywhere via the cloud. In addition, the next release of Windows Intune
will support mobile device management, a self-service Company Portal and the ability to leverage user accounts, in addition to several other enhancements. Windows Intune is available as an add-on for Windows users with Enterprise Agreements.