Comparison between SOE Portal CloudDeploy and Windows Autopilot

Compare SOE Portal CloudDeploy with Windows Autopilot

Many of our customers ask us the difference between SOE Portal CloudDeploy and Windows Autopilot, and which one is a better fit for their environment or use case.   Based on our extensive experience with both solutions, the following feature matrix compares the features of the two technologies.

Although every environment is different, we are confident that CloudDeploy will offer our customers the best possible results.   CloudDeploy is a highly adapatable solution that is both reliable and user-friendly.   Even though CloudDeploy is an image-based solution and Autopilot's main advantage is that it does not depend on images, the fact is that many organizations are using default versions of Windows 10 or 11 to pre-image their devices before they run the Autopilot provisioning process.   This is clearly inefficient and adds more time and effort to the deployment of devices.   We believe this strongly supports the ongoing use of an image-based technology to provide you with the optimum solution that requires no additional effort and gives you the most advanced level of automation the market offers!

Category SOE Portal CloudDeploy Windows Autopilot
Solution configuration
  • Wizard-driven, easy to configure
  • Collection of technologies, can be complicated to configure
Windows 10/11 version
  • Can select from all supported versions
  • Unable to choose, uses whichever version already on device (cannot downgrade)
Deployment type
  • Image-based
  • Provisioning-based (e.g. configuration profiles layered on top of OEM or vanilla Windows)
Deployment source
  • Cloud
  • PXE
  • Removable media (e.g. USB)
  • Local repository (LocalStore)
  • Systems Management integration (ConfigMgr, KACE, etc)
  • Cloud
Device registration
  • Not required, but optionally can be used for added security or automatic naming
  • Must obtain a hash from each device and upload to Intune
  • Enterprise-level task automation, such as various computer naming options, AD domain join into specified OUs, adding domain groups to local groups and adding the AD computer object as a member of AD groups.
  • Built into Windows, one size fits all with limited capability beyond OOBE (i.e. auto selection of language, keyboard, restricted naming conventions)
Computer naming
  • BIOS (asset tag)
  • Serial number
  • Device/name database
  • Manual
  • Microsoft Entra join has basic configuration variables only
  • Microsoft Entra hybrid join has no naming options
Domain join
  • Microsoft Entra join
  • Microsoft Entra hybrid join
  • Active Directory (on-premises)
  • Workgroup
  • Microsoft Entra join
  • Microsoft Entra hybrid join (additional on-premises infrastructure required)
Pre-load applications
  • Yes, can be embedded in image (or deployed from a variety of sources)
  • No, must be deployed from the cloud
Application support
  • Win32
  • LOB (e.g. MSI)
  • Provisioning Packages (ppkg)
  • Scripts
  • Win32
  • Microsoft recommends against LOB and suggests it can cause Autopilot to fail
  • PPKG unsupported
Application packaging
  • Includes a common application library of approx. 200 pre-packaged applications such as Microsoft 365 Apps, Chrome, Citrix Receiver, Java etc., alleviating the need for those applications to be packaged (see common app list)
  • Any applications which are required must be packaged to allow unattended installation, except for a small handful of Microsoft products like Microsoft 365 Apps which have built-in options or via integration with Microsoft Store.
Hardware Drivers
  • Select from a list of maintain pre-certified hardware models (see hardware list)
  • Includes non-plug and play software drivers
  • Uses Windows drivers provided by Microsoft
Configure local administrator
  • Yes, built in
  • Yes, via policy
Factory load
  • Yes, the same image can be deployed by IT, end-users, or sent direct to factory or 3rd party integrator
  • Standard pre-loaded Windows OEM must be used, pre-provisioning steps are then completed to apply Autopilot profiles
  • Uses a simple wizard designed for engineers who do not need to be experts with SOE development. SOE can be rebuilt at any time to include latest Windows Updates, drivers, common applications, etc.
  • Not any maintenance options. Relies on pre-existing OEM/vanilla Windows already on device (essentially performs a factory reset to run Autopilot and lays configuration on top)
Success rate
  • High
  • CloudDeploy is fault tolerant (can resume terminated download)
  • Low-Medium
  • Failures often occur during deployment (especially in low bandwidth scenarios)
  • Support tools available with high degree of logging
  • Obfuscated, difficult to ascertain reason for failures
Customer Service
  • Hands-on, able to respond to specific customer needs with direct line to developers
  • Standard Microsoft regional support