The enterprise version of Windows 8 will include a list of exclusive features, among them a desktop that is bootable from a USB stick, a standby VPN, a caching tool to boost branch-office download performance and upgraded virtual desktop client.
Windows 8 Enterprise will boast Windows to Go, a manageable Windows 8 desktop on a USB stick that enables booting up a corporate machine securely on whatever machine is available, according to the Windows for your Business Blog.
BACKGROUND: Microsoft details four versions of Windows 8
The desktop-on-a-stick is meant to support a bring-your-own-device atmosphere within corporations, where workers' machines can safely plug into corporate networks without risk of whatever they might be infected with being spread to other devices.
The software, which includes all of Windows 8 Pro plus some extras, is one of four versions that will become available later this year or perhaps early next year: Windows 8, Windows RT, Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 Enterprise.
The enterprise version will provide DirectAccess, an auto-setup VPN that admins can use to patch, update and set policies on remote machines. The tool supports IPv4 as well as IPv6, Microsoft says.
Branch Cache enables storing content from corporate servers within branch offices so when it is called for repeatedly it doesn't have to cross the WAN over and over, reducing traffic on the wire and improving response time. When used in combination with Windows Server 2012, which is available later this year, Branch Cache will be easier to deploy and scale, and will improve security as well as optimize use of WAN bandwidth further.
Virtual desktop capabilities within Windows 8 Enterprise rely on upgrades to Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft Remote FX that support bandwidth intensive 3D graphics and use touch-enabled devices for VDI over any type of network.
AppLocker is a feature that can be configured to restrict access to files and applications that are accessible to individuals or groups. Windows 8 Enterprise also includes App Deployment, a capability that enables side-loading Windows 8 Metro style applications onto Windows 8 PCs and tablets. This would get around the restrictions on Windows RT hardware-software bundles that allow only apps from the Windows Store to be loaded on the machines.
So a business could write its own touch-friendly Metro style applications and load them onto tablets, for example, to boost their utility as work tools.
Tim Greene covers Microsoft for Network World and writes the Mostly Microsoft blog. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Tim_Greene.
Read more about software in Network World's Software section.
Join the CIO New Zealand group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.