Microsoft today announced that its Dev Box, a cloud-hosted Windows-based developer workstation in the cloud, will become generally available in July.
These machines will now come in a wider variety of SKUs, ranging from 8 to 32 cores and with up to 128GB of memory and 2TB of storage. Microsoft is also making new starter images available in the Azure Marketplace that will make it easier for developers to customize these machines -- and the software that runs on them -- for their individual needs.
Image Credits: Microsoft
To further customize these machines, Microsoft is also introducing a configuration-as-code capability, based on YAML configuration files, which will allow IT to build base images and manage these configurations using their standard GitOps practices. This feature is now in private preview.
"When folks start to evaluate Dev Box, they have an initial trial period where they look at applying it to an initial team to see how effective it is -- but then they quickly see the value of it and start to standardize on it throughout the organization," Amanda Silver, the corporate vice president of product for Microsoft’s Developer Division, told me.
Microsoft's reference customer for Dev Box is General Motors, but Microsoft itself is also currently in the process of rolling Dev Box out internally to many of its developers. Currently, Silver said, just under 10,000 Microsoft developers use the service and many of them have made it their primary development environment. About 90% of these developers say the product satisfies their needs and improves their productivity.
For IT, a Dev Box is essentially just another PC that can be administered with tools like the Microsoft Endpoint Manager, just like a physical machine. "It's something that IT ops already understands how to deal with," Silver said. "It takes something that used to be a little bit of a free for all for developers and it gives them a little bit more control and visibility over what's happening on the developer workstations without compromising the developer productivity."