At its yearly Build event, Microsoft revealed the launch date of its new cloud-based dev workstation, Microsoft Dev Box. The service, which is currently in preview, will be accessible to the public during July 2023.
Dev Box, is a managed service expansion for Azure Virtual Desktop to provide cloud-based virtual workstations for developers. It provides developers with a way to create a virtual machine that is configured automatically through the company's cloud infrastructure. This can be done without needing to set up workstations. The tool was originally announced at Build 2022 last year and reached preview last August.
According to Microsoft, Dev Box can help developers save time and resources by eliminating the need to set up and maintain their own dev environments. Developers can choose from a library of project- and task-specific dev boxes that are preconfigured with everything they need to start coding right away. They can also create their own custom dev boxes and share them with their team members.
Dev Box supports any project that runs on Windows, including desktop, mobile, web, gaming, and IoT development. Developers can use any tool they prefer, such as Visual Studio, Visual Studio Code, Unity, Unreal Engine, Xamarin, and more. Dev Box also allows developers to scale compute resources on demand, depending on their workload requirements.
Availability and Pricing of Microsoft Dev Box
Dev Box is built on Windows 365 and integrates with Microsoft Intune and Microsoft Endpoint Manager for unified management, security, and compliance. Dev Box users can control permissions and policies using Azure Active Directory (Azure AD), and deploy their dev boxes via the Azure global network for a high-fidelity development experience. Dev Box also enables automatic updates and patches across all dev boxes in the organization, and isolates compromised dev boxes to prevent data breaches.
Dev Box pricing is based on a pay-as-you-go model, with existing eligible Microsoft 365 or Windows licenses. Developers can sign up for a free trial of Dev Box through the Microsoft developer portal. When the Dev Box launches later this year, developers will have a range of SKUs to pick from. They can opt for machines with 16 or 32 vCPUs and 64 or 128GB of RAM, in addition to the existing preview option of eight vCPUs and 32GB of RAM. A 2TB SSD storage option will also be available from Microsoft.
Microsoft Dev Box vs. GitHub Codespaces
Microsoft Dev Box is expected to compete with other cloud-based dev workstation services, such as the Amazon Web Services Cloud. Microsoft claims that Dev Box offers more flexibility, performance, and security than its rivals. Microsoft-owned GitHub offers a related product with GitHub Codespaces which is considered as complementary by Microsoft.
GitHub Codespaces provides a containerized, cloud-based development environment, which is tightly integrated to GitHub and works for APIs, web, cloud-native, or backend development. Microsoft Dev Box is aimed at developers who need a cloud-based workstation that can be used for a diverse set of workloads (including desktop development and mobile development) and can target any version control system, Microsoft Endpoint device management, or support for tools that run best on Windows.