Flexible and Fast with Windows Virtual Desktop

The COVID-19 pandemic has especially reinforced the implementation of home office and remote work models in companies. As a result, work at the widest variety of locations with all sorts of terminal devices must be enabled, in order to meet the daily challenges despite the new situation. The Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) from Microsoft provides a suitable Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) solution in Microsoft Azure. WVD is Microsoft’s cloud service for virtualizing desktops and applications, to afford employees either in home offices or on the road secure and quick remote access to their applications critical for business.

WVD Version Spring 2020

Source: Microsoft

The latest version of the software – WVD Version Spring 2020 – offers many new possibilities compared with the previous version. WVD Version Spring 2020 is fully integrated in Azure and is based on the Azure Resource Manager (ARM), the administrative and provision tool of resources for Azure, allowing use of features like RBAC (Azure Role-Based Access Control). You retain full control over your remote desktop and the provided applications, while Microsoft manages the Azure infrastructure in the background. Windows multi-sessions can be set up within a few minutes, so that several persons can share a so-called “host” and utilize resources. In this way, Microsoft provides an even more efficient version of the application.

Why WVD?

WVD offers multifarious advantages:

  • Short-term provision of secure home office workstations is possible
  • A high level of data security, since data are not stored locally
  • Migration from Windows server is possible
  • Windows multi-session: Windows Virtual Desktop allows running multiple sessions simultaneously
  • Windows 7 is supported, including security patches
  • WVD can be used from arbitrary devices or via a Web browser – regardless of the operating system
  • No additional hardware is required
  • WVD resources can be flexibly scaled upwards or downwards
  • Lower infrastructure costs are incurred since resources are tailored to requirements.

You are persuaded about the advantages of WVD, but do not know how you can establish the software in your company? No problem – we have the solution! Managed Services Providers will take care of the design and setup as well as the migration of your existing workstations. In addition, the operation and maintenance of the environment can be taken over, allowing you to concentrate on your core business

Save Costs

The use of WVDs affords companies a plethora of cost savings and optimization possibilities. The important thing is to select the right size of the virtual machines, where the type, series and size play a crucial role in choosing the VM instance. Ideally, this comes down to finding an optimal agreement between resource capacities and actual requirements. At the start, correct sizing can present a challenge in the absence of use data that would indicate resource utilization relative to capacity. Here we recommend – if possible – creating a test environment for determining the actual requirement.

Another way to save costs is to exploit the advantages of Azure Hybrid. Looking at the hourly costs of a virtual machine in Azure, we find the computing costs as well as the costs for the operating system (OS). The OS costs are calculated analogously to the leasing costs for the license, according to an hourly rate. Applying pre-existing OS licenses is also possible, however. An analysis should be performed in order to assess the potential long-term cost savings of the bring-your-own-license model compared with the pay-as-you-go model.

In addition, so-called reserved instances can be booked. For such reserved instances, select a runtime of 1 or 3 years. During the runtime limit yourself to one VM size. In return for this commitment, Microsoft offers a significant price reduction for the use of these VMs. Since the price is fixed for the entire runtime, hourly planning costs no longer apply. In addition, the model is of the “use it” or “lose it” kind, so that no additional cost savings are afforded by turning off virtual machines.

Another benefit for many companies is certainly the absence of any additional license subscription costs. Windows Virtual Desktop is an included service that can be combined with existing user-based licenses for Microsoft 365 or Windows. In other words, whoever is already using Office 365 and has an E3 or E5 license need not expect further license costs.

Supported operating system images for WVD hosts

You are probably now wondering whether you can also use WVD with your existing Office applications. Fortunately, the answer is “yes”. WVD is a full-fledged Windows desktop environment supporting the greatest variety of applications, including Office applications. In fact, Windows Virtual Desktop supports the following x64-bit operating systems:

  • Windows 10 Enterprise with multiple sessions, version 1809 or higher
  • Windows 10 Enterprise with version 1809 and higher
  • Windows 7 Enterprise
  • Windows Server 2019
  • Windows Server 2016
  • Windows Server 2012 R2

How can I access WVD hosts?

As already noted, using WVD relieves companies from the burden of providing hardware for home-office workstations. Employees can use their private devices to connect to your desktop and your business-relevant applications. The following clients can then easily access WVD:

  • Windows 32 Bit
  • Windows 64 Bit
  • Windows ARM 64 Bit
  • macOS
  • iOS (including tablets)
  • Android

Conclusion

We find that using Windows Virtual Desktop affords many advantages. Besides the use of Windows 10 multi-sessions, WVD allows use of Windows 7 with the corresponding security updates. In creating virtual workstations, you should in any event take the cloud service into account. As software, WVD offers good value for money to companies already using Microsoft cloud services. Especially impressive is that WVD can be combined with pre-existing licenses and Office applications through practically any operating system.

Windows Virtual Desktop combines the scalability, security and cost benefits of Azure and Microsoft 365 – an ideal combination optimally equipping companies for meeting unforeseeable challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed that companies who were able to react quickly and flexibly to the new situation had a decisive competitive edge. All in all, the pandemic has given a new boost to the digital transformation of the working world, and experts agree: the working world has permanently changed, and remote work will also establish itself in the future.

Windows Virtual Desktop affords you tremendous flexibility, enabling you to work productively anywhere in the world – an advantage that can be crucial for success, and not only in times of crisis.

Hai-Ha-Tran

Hai Ha Tran

Infrastructure Consultant

Scheer GmbH
Bismarckalleee 17
79098 Freiburg
Germany

T +4976176613637
Contact

About the author

As a Cloud Consultant, I advise customers on infrastructure issues and work with the latest technologies in the Microsoft Azure Cloud. IT infrastructures are constantly changing, so it is important to face new challenges. At Scheer GmbH, we manage IT landscapes so that our customers can focus on their core business.

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