Microsoft’s New Dev Box Developer Workstation Service Launches in Preview

Cloud Computing

Microsoft has launched a public preview of its Microsoft Dev Box managed service. The new cloud-based offering provides developers easier access to a preconfigured virtual developer workstation without having to set up their physical machines.

The Dev Box service was first announced at Microsoft’s annual Build developer conference in May. It’s designed for developers who work on different projects with specific configurations and conflicting dependencies. They can configure dev boxes with any integrated development environment (IDE), software development kit (SDK), and internal tools that run on Windows.

“With Microsoft Dev Box, developers can focus on writing the code only they can write instead of trying to get a working environment that can build and run the code. Dev boxes are ready-to-code and preconfigured by the team with all the tools and settings developers need for their projects and tasks,” explained Anthony Cangialosi, Principal Group PM at Microsoft.

Microsoft’s New Dev Box Developer Workstation Service

According to Microsoft, Dev Boxes are ideal for mobile, desktop, IoT, and game development projects. It is also possible to build cross-platform apps with the Windows Subsystem for Linux and Windows Subsystem for Android. Developers can choose from 4 vCPUs with 16 GB of storage to 32 vCPUs and 128 GB of storage based on their specific needs.

Microsoft Dev Box builds on top of the Azure Virtual Desktop service. Its integration with Windows 365 Cloud PC lets IT admins manage Dev Boxes with management tools such as Intune and the Microsoft Endpoint Manager. They can provide access to source code for individual projects with Azure Active Directory groups.

Microsoft’s New Dev Box Developer Workstation Service

Microsoft Dev Box pricing and deployment

Microsoft notes that its Dev Box service comes with a consumption-based pricing model. It means that customers will only be charged based on resource consumption (compute and storage) on an hourly basis.

Automated schedules can help to reduce costs by shutting down machines at night and starting them up again the next day. Meanwhile, Microsoft also plans to add hibernation support in the coming weeks. It should enable developers to retain the last state of the dev box for an extended period.

Microsoft Dev Box is currently available in preview for all customers via the Microsoft Azure portal. “During this period, organizations get the first 15 hours of the dev box 8vCPU and 32 GB Memory SKU for free every month, along with the first 365 hours of the dev box Storage SSD 512 GB SKU,” Cangialosi added. If you’re interested, you can learn more about how to deploy a dev box on this support page.