While many people missed this as part of the earlier announcement around the Windows 8 product editions, Microsoft will be offering an Enterprise edition for its Software Assurance volume licensing customers in addition to the more mainstream Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro, and Windows RT versions. And today, Microsoft detailed exactly what’s unique about Windows 8 Enterprise.
“I wanted to take this opportunity today to talk about what the Windows 8 Enterprise edition will offer customers when it becomes available and how the Software Assurance benefits are changing to better meet our customers’ needs,” Microsoft’s Erwin Visser wrote in a new post to the Windows for Your Business Blog. “Windows 8 Enterprise features include all the capabilities that customers get with Windows 8 Pro, plus premium features designed to provide the mobile productivity, security, manageability, and virtualization needs of today’s businesses.”
These premium features include:
Windows To Go. A new, fully manageable Windows 8 desktop that is installed to a bootable external USB flash device, enabling the “Bring Your Own PC” usage scenario. Employees can use Windows To Go on any company PC as well as from their home PC.
DirectAccess. A more modern take on VPN functionality, DirectAcess lets remote users seamlessly access corporate network resources without dealing with the hassles common to VPN solutions.
BranchCache. Aimed at distributed corporations, BranchCache lets servers and users’ PCs in branch offices cache files, websites, and other content, so that it is not repeatedly downloaded across the Internet by different users in the same location.
AppLocker. This feature provides white list and black list capabilities to control which files and applications that users or groups are allowed to run.
VDI enhancements. With updates to RemoteFX and, users can access virtualized instances of Windows 8 Enterprise from the data center and receive rich desktop experiences via thin clients, including, interestingly, Windows RT-based tablets.
Windows 8 (Metro-style) app deployment. Domain joined PCs and tablets running Windows 8 Enterprise will automatically be enabled to “side-load” internal, Windows 8 Metro style apps, bypassing the Windows Store.