This September Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) entered general availability. Which sounds good, but what does this mean for you, your business and the productivity of those who switch to it?

Windows Virtual Desktop explained

Windows Virtual Desktop is a new technology from Microsoft that allows Managed Service Providers (MSPs) like Quiss to create Windows 10 multi-user desktops or published application sessions in Azure – it is the evolution of their Remote Desktop Services (RDS) technology.

WVD comprises a Windows 10 multi-user operating system that allows either dedicated VDI (Personal) or multiple concurrent users to utilise a single Azure virtual machine as a desktop (Pooled); both with user profiles handled independently and intelligently placed in containers that are stored separately from the desktop VM in Azure.

The new Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering contains the resource management functionality for WVD and intelligently manages and distributes user connections across available ‘session host’ Azure VMs.

Quiss have been working with Windows Virtual Desktop through the preview cycle and so are able to get your business up and running with this technology quickly and efficiently.

The cost for Windows Virtual Desktop

It is important to understand there are two cost components to WVD; namely licensing and the Azure infrastructure itself.

The Windows 10 Enterprise (E3/E5) & Education (A3/A5) subscriptions include access to WVD; the license can also be purchased as part of Microsoft 365 Business/E3/E5/A3/A5/F1. There is no additional cost to use WVD if you already own one of these subscriptions covering your user base.

The WVD license includes the cost of the Windows 10 operating system and the use of the WVD management service hosted by Microsoft in Azure. However, it covers only WVD in Azure and cannot license on-premises deployments or other clouds.

The remaining cost covers the Azure infrastructure to run the ‘desktop’ virtual machines. You will also need to store user profile containers in Azure Files or on a Windows File Server VM in Azure, with either Azure AD Domain Services or traditional Active Directory running a Windows Server VM in Azure.

The cost of WVD is determined by several factors; the number of users and their workload type, forecasted bandwidth requirements egressing the Azure region and the projected size of user-profiles are just a few considerations to take into account when pricing WVD.

If you are interested in knowing approximate costs for this innovation, please get in touch and we’ll walk you through an accurate costing exercise.

Windows Virtual Desktop for everyone

Microsoft has made WVD as accessible as possible, by integrating fully with Windows 10 by way of a Remote Desktop client app, but also supporting other operating systems such as Windows 7, macOS, iOS and Android devices.

This client allows full session desktops and individual published apps to be run by users, with the RemoteApps and session desktops automatically added to the local computer’s Start Menu for seamless access.

Microsoft has also made WVD fully HTML5 compatible, which means your users can access a corporate desktop environment from almost any device with internet capabilities. The session renders fully in the Web Browser, so additional software isn’t required.

Thanks to session virtualization, the same Azure virtual machine can be utilised by multiple users at the same time, each enjoying their own personalised desktop experience, increasing user density whilst reducing costs.

Microsoft provides the only Windows 10 client virtual desktop infrastructure with WVD, also allowing you to run Windows 7 environments in this way, providing you with an additional 3 years security updates from the January 14th, 2020 deadline. This is a compelling solution for anyone who doesn’t have time to migrate their end-user compute away from Windows 7 before this deadline.

But after all the highlights it’s important to remember, WVD can only be used in Azure and not on-premises or other cloud deployments. Perpetual Windows 10 licensing will also not give you rights to WVD.

If you would like to know more about WVD or are starting to think about how WVD could address some of your business requirements and unique needs, please get in touch.