Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 Enterprise are both designed for business network environments. However, at many of my events, a common question among IT Pros relates to the specific differences between Windows 8 Pro and Windows 8 Enterprise. Below, I’ve included a chart that summarizes the key differences between the Professional and Enterprise editions for Windows 8.
Windows 8 Pro and Enterprise – Key Business Features
Both Windows 8 Pro and Enterprise support critical business features such as Active Directory domain join, Group Policy, BitLocker encryption and Client Hyper-V.
BUT … only Windows 8 Enterprise provides these extra cool business features:
Windows-To-Go – Provision a bootable USB key as a Windows 8 Enterprise “computer” that can be booted from any PC meeting the Windows 8 hardware requirements – a great way to provision an inexpensive, bootable, and secure environment for vendors, contractors, and home users.
DirectAccess – Always-on client-to-site VPN connection that integrates with Active Directory security. DirectAccess provides a secure tunnel for remote users to access corporate resources AND a secure tunnel for IT to manage remote computers – always ensure that your remote users stay up-to-date with patches. All, without needing to maintain a separate VPN client!
BranchCache – Got multiple sites on your corporate wide area network (WAN)? BranchCache can keep a warm cache of your centralized file shares close to users at remote locations to prevent pulling lots of data over the wire. This can provide a “big time” payback in terms of reduced WAN bandwidth charges.
AppLocker – Want to make sure users are only running “authorized” business software on their work PCs? Don’t both with hard-to-manage “blacklists” of software to block … AppLocker allows you to maintain a “whitelist” of just your allowed business applications prepared from one or more of your standard workstation images. Much easier to maintain, and deployed centrally via Group Policy!
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure ( VDI ) – Considering a VDI deployment of Windows 8? Only Windows 8 Enterprise provides Virtual Desktop Access ( VDA ) licensing rights for VDI scenarios when licensed via a volume licensing agreement with software assurance.