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Microsoft drop Office 365 ProPlus support on Windows Server 2019 RDSH

Published: November 7, 2018

Earlier in the year, Microsoft’s preview release of Windows Server 2019 was made available. What was missing was the Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH). At the time, Microsoft confirmed that because of a bug the RDSH role was missing in previous releases of Windows Server 2019, but that the 17650 preview build would fix that.

Microsoft have now confirmed that they are dropping support for Office 365 ProPlus on Windows Server 2019 RDSH. To assist companies in adopting the change, they have extended Office 365 ProPlus support on Windows Server 2016 until October 2025, from January 2020. The combination of Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus offers the most productive, most secure and most intuitive end-user computing experience to date. Microsoft’s announcement of the withdrawal of Office 365 ProPlus on Windows Server 2019 RDSH has been made in recognition of this.

In relation to Windows Server customers, Microsoft have made the following statement:

“Delivering Office 365 ProPlus remotely via Remote Desktop and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) continues to be the key scenario for our customers. Microsoft is committed to enabling Office 365 ProPlus in this scenario along with key Windows 10 experiences like Microsoft Edge, Store for Business, and Cortana. Later this year we will deliver these capabilities within the Semi-Annual Channel release cadence of Office, Windows 10, and Windows Server. Join the Windows Server Insider Program to get early access to these capabilities.”

What’s next?

Microsoft are hoping to accelerate customer cloud desktop adoption by making the Office 365 ProPlus suite a cloud-only product for Windows Server 2019 RDSH users. This is with the aim of encouraging users to use the Windows 10 multi-user experience in virtual desktops hosted by Microsoft Azure using Windows Virtual Desktop, which will natively integrate with Office 365 ProPlus and provides the best virtualised Windows and Office experience.

Windows Virtual Desktop based on Azure is the only cloud-based service that delivers a multi-user Windows 10 experience. It is based on the technology behind Remote Desktop modern infrastructure (RDmi), which has evolved in the past year into Windows Virtual Desktop, as a hosted-only offering.

The Windows Virtual Desktop service will be available to Windows 10 Enterprise and Education customers, who will be able to use their Azure subscriptions to deploy these desktops and the only additional cost will be for storage, bandwidth and the virtual machines required.

What are your options?

  • Run Windows Server 2016 (or a prior version until its support end date) rather than Windows Server 2019, Microsoft have extended Office 365 ProPlus support on Windows Server 2016 until October 2025, from January 2020.
  • Use Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) on Azure which offers multi-user Windows 10 session capabilities and will support Office 365 natively, this is expected to be released in the first quarter of 2019.
  • For companies using Microsoft products to deliver its hosted Software Services to customers you can use Office ProPlus licensed under Microsoft SPLA, other licensing agreements don’t permit installation of Office on shared 3rd party cloud VMs
  • Run Office locally on the users’ PCs rather than on Windows Server 2019 RDSH.

If you’d like advice and support for your business after this announcement, please get in touch with our knowledgeable team who will be happy to help. Call us on +44 (0)1364 654100 or email cloud@greymatter.com.

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