Developers
August 14, 2020

Azure's Windows Virtual Desktop Capabilities

Microsoft has deployed Windows Virtual Desktop across Azure and updated it with new features. What does that mean for your organization?

Microsoft recently announced new Windows Virtual Desktop capabilities that have been rolled out across Azure.

For those unfamiliar with Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD), what does this announcement mean? What is WVD? How does it compare with Remote Desktop Services (RDS)? Why should this matter to you?

Windows Virtual Desktop: What Is It and How Does It Work?

Microsoft touts WVD as “a comprehensive desktop and app virtualization service running in the cloud.” As a result, WVD is currently the “the only virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) that delivers simplified management, multi-session Windows 10, optimizations for Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise, and support for Remote Desktop Services (RDS) environments.”

It’s clear that WVD is currently Microsoft’s preferred choice for remote Windows work. As a result, it offers a number of important features.

First and foremost, WVD is designed to work with Azure, Windows 10 and Microsoft 365, making it a modern solution for companies’ virtualization needs. As such, it offers superior security, scalability and collaboration than previous solutions.

WVD vs RDS: How They Differ

RDS has long been the staple for remote Windows work, but it has not been without its disadvantages.

The first hurdle was licensing. In order to remotely access a Windows installation, it required the host computer to have a legitimately licensed copy of Windows. This made RDS a one-to-one solution in many situations. For every user who needed remote Windows desktop access, there had to be a computer with a licensed copy of Windows available.

Organizations worked around this by pairing it with Windows Server OS. This provided a way to have true multiuser capabilities. As a result, the overall cost was greatly reduced, turning RDS into a one-to-many solution, instead of one-to-one.

The disadvantage of this approach was the involvement of Windows Server OS. The vast majority of users are familiar with Microsoft’s desktop operating systems, not their server variations. This resulted in steeper learning curves, not to mention application incompatibilities.

WVD eliminates these issues by creating a true, virtual desktop experience. Best of all, WVD provides a multiuser Windows 10 experience that can be accessed on any device.

In addition, because WVD works with Azure, it provides a level of scalability and affordability that could never be matched with RDS or other solutions. Since WVD relies on Azure, updates and security are handled automatically. This can result in significant time and cost savings for an organization, as the developers and IT don’t have to worry about maintaining the Windows installations.

Another significant advantage of WVD is how Microsoft has integrated Microsoft Teams. Virtual desktops have never been an ideal solution for A/V conferencing solutions due to the latency involved. With WVD, Microsoft has implemented an A/V redirect that ensures A/V functionality is handled locally, eliminating the latency problems.

Why WVD Matters Now More Than Ever

Since the coronavirus pandemic forced companies to revisit how they do business, cloud-based solutions are in higher demand than ever before. Companies were forced to migrate to the cloud faster than ever in an effort to stay productive when the majority of their workforce had to work remotely.

Microsoft touts the example of Charlie Anderson, CIO of Fife Council in the United Kingdom. Like many, he was looking to modernize the RDS infrastructure his company had previously relied on.

“Windows Virtual Desktop was absolutely essential for us in terms of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many, we were faced with a continuity issue unparalleled in recent times. For us, this meant not only the continuation of services we already delivered, but also responding very quickly to new demands arising as a result of our public response to the pandemic.

To do that, we needed to provide as close to the "in-office" experience as we could to a workforce now working away from our offices. This meant multiplying previous remote working capacities by a factor of 15 almost overnight - something which would have been impossible without a scalable and cloud-based approach, which also worked well on a range of Council and self-provided devices.

There is little doubt that the Windows Virtual Desktop solution will not only be vital to the future resilience of our public services to the people of Fife, but it will also form a key part of our future device strategy as we seek to develop new, agile, and cost-effective approaches going forward.“

Without a doubt, Microsoft’s WVD is a major step forward for end users and developers alike. A truly modern solution, WVD provides a way for organizations to deploy a virtual, multiuser Windows 10 desktop experience.

TagsMicrosoftWindows Virtual Desktop
Matt Milano
Technical Writer
Matt is a tech journalist and writer with a background in web and software development.

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DevelopersAugust 14, 2020
Azure's Windows Virtual Desktop Capabilities
Microsoft has deployed Windows Virtual Desktop across Azure and updated it with new features. What does that mean for your organization?

Microsoft recently announced new Windows Virtual Desktop capabilities that have been rolled out across Azure.

For those unfamiliar with Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD), what does this announcement mean? What is WVD? How does it compare with Remote Desktop Services (RDS)? Why should this matter to you?

Windows Virtual Desktop: What Is It and How Does It Work?

Microsoft touts WVD as “a comprehensive desktop and app virtualization service running in the cloud.” As a result, WVD is currently the “the only virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) that delivers simplified management, multi-session Windows 10, optimizations for Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise, and support for Remote Desktop Services (RDS) environments.”

It’s clear that WVD is currently Microsoft’s preferred choice for remote Windows work. As a result, it offers a number of important features.

First and foremost, WVD is designed to work with Azure, Windows 10 and Microsoft 365, making it a modern solution for companies’ virtualization needs. As such, it offers superior security, scalability and collaboration than previous solutions.

WVD vs RDS: How They Differ

RDS has long been the staple for remote Windows work, but it has not been without its disadvantages.

The first hurdle was licensing. In order to remotely access a Windows installation, it required the host computer to have a legitimately licensed copy of Windows. This made RDS a one-to-one solution in many situations. For every user who needed remote Windows desktop access, there had to be a computer with a licensed copy of Windows available.

Organizations worked around this by pairing it with Windows Server OS. This provided a way to have true multiuser capabilities. As a result, the overall cost was greatly reduced, turning RDS into a one-to-many solution, instead of one-to-one.

The disadvantage of this approach was the involvement of Windows Server OS. The vast majority of users are familiar with Microsoft’s desktop operating systems, not their server variations. This resulted in steeper learning curves, not to mention application incompatibilities.

WVD eliminates these issues by creating a true, virtual desktop experience. Best of all, WVD provides a multiuser Windows 10 experience that can be accessed on any device.

In addition, because WVD works with Azure, it provides a level of scalability and affordability that could never be matched with RDS or other solutions. Since WVD relies on Azure, updates and security are handled automatically. This can result in significant time and cost savings for an organization, as the developers and IT don’t have to worry about maintaining the Windows installations.

Another significant advantage of WVD is how Microsoft has integrated Microsoft Teams. Virtual desktops have never been an ideal solution for A/V conferencing solutions due to the latency involved. With WVD, Microsoft has implemented an A/V redirect that ensures A/V functionality is handled locally, eliminating the latency problems.

Why WVD Matters Now More Than Ever

Since the coronavirus pandemic forced companies to revisit how they do business, cloud-based solutions are in higher demand than ever before. Companies were forced to migrate to the cloud faster than ever in an effort to stay productive when the majority of their workforce had to work remotely.

Microsoft touts the example of Charlie Anderson, CIO of Fife Council in the United Kingdom. Like many, he was looking to modernize the RDS infrastructure his company had previously relied on.

“Windows Virtual Desktop was absolutely essential for us in terms of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many, we were faced with a continuity issue unparalleled in recent times. For us, this meant not only the continuation of services we already delivered, but also responding very quickly to new demands arising as a result of our public response to the pandemic.

To do that, we needed to provide as close to the "in-office" experience as we could to a workforce now working away from our offices. This meant multiplying previous remote working capacities by a factor of 15 almost overnight - something which would have been impossible without a scalable and cloud-based approach, which also worked well on a range of Council and self-provided devices.

There is little doubt that the Windows Virtual Desktop solution will not only be vital to the future resilience of our public services to the people of Fife, but it will also form a key part of our future device strategy as we seek to develop new, agile, and cost-effective approaches going forward.“

Without a doubt, Microsoft’s WVD is a major step forward for end users and developers alike. A truly modern solution, WVD provides a way for organizations to deploy a virtual, multiuser Windows 10 desktop experience.

Microsoft
Windows Virtual Desktop
About the author
Matt Milano -Technical Writer
Matt is a tech journalist and writer with a background in web and software development.

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