As you may have heard, Microsoft’s Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) service has finally entered it’s public preview phase. With this announcement, any enterprise user can begin using a virtual Windows 10 desktop in Azure.
The move comes on the heels of Microsoft’s official termination of Office 365 ProPlus support for Windows Server 2019 and is likely meant to encourage cloud desktop adoption. Given the affordable pricing model and productivity benefits of Windows in the cloud, it’s likely to be a successful initiative.
What is Windows Virtual Desktop?
WVD is an app virtualization service for the cloud. According to Microsoft, “it’s the only virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) that delivers simplified management, multi-session Windows 10, optimizations for Office 365 ProPlus, and support for Remote Desktop Services (RDS) environments.” In essence, WVD enables users to access their Windows 10 desktop from any location, on any device.
Aside from the flexibility benefits just mentioned, WVD provides several advantages for users:
- Like most things cloud, WVD scales alongside your usage requirements – you only pay for what you use.
- WVD using Windows 7 come with extended security updates (until 2023).
- Visibility is greatly simplified in Azure and through Office 365 ProPlus, making managing Windows 10 and VMs easier for enterprises.
- The Windows 10 virtualization solution also offers multi-session capabilities (more on this later).
In addition to the above, WVD is a perfect fit for highly-regulated industries. Employers can put a stop to shadow IT by providing workers with access to virtual desktops, thus allowing them to work remotely without storing sensitive data on personal devices. Financial services organizations can create data separation so data remains on-server rather than on an endpoint. The features mentioned and provided by Azure ensure HIPAA compliance for healthcare providers, as well as enable additional data security for elastic government workforces.
The dramatic cost benefits of multi-session virtualization
As mentioned earlier, one of the main benefits of WVD is that it provides multi-session virtualization, which greatly reduces whitespace. In contrast to single-user environments – which require you to pay not only for the resources you use but for any overhead that you do not as well – multi-session environments let you have as many users as you like on a VM.
This means that a single WVD VM can support multiple Windows users simultaneously, all with isolated access to their own files and applications. While this was possible with Windows Server, it lacked full compatibility with the Windows client desktop and therefore users were unable to access Windows Store apps or Cortana.
How to access Windows Virtual Desktop
Want to start using WVD right away? You’re probably in luck: WVD is likely included in the cost of your Microsoft 365 Enterprise subscription cost (at least if you’re in the US). Organizations will just need an Azure subscription to pay for the virtual machines they run in the cloud. Subscriptions that provide access to Windows Virtual Desktop include Microsoft365 E3/E5, Microsoft 365 Business/F1, Windows E3/E5, Windows 7, Windows 10, Windows 10 Enterprise Multisession, and Windows Server 2012 R2+ in their own Azure subscription.
Currently, WVD is only available in the US East 2 and US Central Azure regions. It’s expected that once the preview is over, Microsoft will expand to all of their cloud regions.
Have more questions about how to implement and benefit from Windows Virtual Desktop at your organization? Contact the Azure Cloud experts at Hanu today. We’re happy to answer any questions you might have. We will also provide FREE estimation if you want to implement Windows Virtual Desktop.
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