After first being rolled out as a developer-only preview in August 2022, Microsoft has now announced that its Dev Box cloud-powered workstations will soon be publicly available on an unspecified date in July 2023. First teased at last year’s Build event, Microsoft Dev Box provides developers with apps and services to access what are essentially preconfigured ready-to-code cloud-based PCs that can be used for testing various projects.
Microsoft created its Dev Box to save developers time when switching between different projects, removing the hours — or sometimes days — of work needed to run through laborious onboarding processes, such as installing and configuring required tools. The Dev Box is built on the foundations of Windows 365 (another of Microsoft’s cloud PC services), which allows it to be accessed from any modern web browser. That also means it can support any integrated development environment (IDE), software development kit (SDK), or tools that already run on Windows.
Developers can configure Dev Boxes with up to 32 vCPUs, 128GB of RAM, and 2TB of storage
Developers can choose between a selection of SKUs when the Dev Box becomes generally available later this year. Machines with 16 virtual CPUs (vCPU) and 64GB of RAM as well as 32 vCPUs and 128GB of RAM can be selected alongside the eight vCPUs / 32GB RAM option already available in the preview Dev Box deployments. A 2TB SSD storage option will also be available at this time.
In a press release announcing the public rollout, Anthony Cangialosi, group product manager in Microsoft’s developer division, said that over 9,500 Microsoft engineers are already using Dev Boxes across the developer division, Azure, Office, Bing, and Windows teams. “At Microsoft, we’re actively transitioning to Dev Box, and already, the onboarding process that used to take days now takes me about 20 minutes,” said Cangialosi. “Every time I create a dev box, it has all the tools, source, and binaries I need to run some of the most complex projects in Microsoft, shortening onboarding time for partners and new team members alike.”
Microsoft has created several starter images for Windows client and Visual Studio (both 2019 and 2022) containing Windows optimizations, apps, and settings to help developers get started with Dev Box. No fixed release date has been provided, and Microsoft hasn’t disclosed any pricing for its Dev Boxes, though the company has previously said it plans to charge for compute and storage on a per-hour basis.
Microsoft is also announcing Dev Home for Windows today, which makes it easier for developers to reinstall Windows apps on a new machine and configure coding environments. Dev Drive is also coming soon and designed to balance performance and security for developer storage.