Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD)

Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) is a powerful remote access solution. It’s optimised for delivering Office 365 applications as well as many other things. And it uses the only true multi-session Windows 10 experience.

Here we’ll explore Windows Virtual Desktop features and benefits, along with some technical considerations.

Windows Virtual Desktop

Microsoft has developed a platform that gives users the ability to access a true multi-session Windows 10 and Office 365 virtual desktop. As well as app experience that you can access from any device.

This technology has been in preview for the past several months. But as of Monday 30th October 2019, It’s been officially released. And it offers a brand-new Microsoft Virtual Desktop Infrastructure experience (VDI). 

If your business is looking for a more efficient, productive and secure approach to virtualisation then Windows Virtual Desktop provides for a fully managed solution. This is within the cloud and it works with all of your current apps and devices.

As well as this, it provides full feature, native support features for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. In addition to HTML5. So you can access your remote desktops and apps from almost any modern browser.

Getting Ready for Windows Virtual Desktop

Below, we’ll take a look at the key requirements you need to consider for Windows Virtual Desktop.

  1. You will need Azure Active Directory and a valid subscription, assigned for the user, to access the Windows Virtual Desktop. This can be either a Microsoft E3/E5/A3/A5, Microsoft 365 FA/Business or Windows 10 Enterprise E3/E5. In addition to Windows 10 Education A3/A5 or Windows 10 VDA for each user
  2. You must join The Windows Virtual Desktop device to your Azure AD but not via Azure AD-Join.
  3. Virtual Desktop only should be running either Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session, Windows Server 2016 or Windows Server 2019.
  4. The Windows Virtual Desktop device should be on the same subnet to the virtual network in Azure AD.
  5. You should configure the Azure AD and the Windows Virtual Desktop device within the same region.

In addition to this, you’ll also need to decide on:

a. User Profile type – Light, medium, heavy or custom.

b. The total quantity of users.

c. Spec – The quantity of virtual CPUs (VCPUs), and RAM for example.

d. Disk type – HDD or SSD.

Windows Virtual Desktop – Key Benefits

With a virtual desktop, you can create a full desktop virtualisation environment within your Azure subscription. You can do this without having to run any additional Gateway Servers.

You can also publish as many host pools as you need to accommodate variable workloads. In addition to bringing your own image for production, workloads or tests from the Azure Gallery.

Ultimately, a virtual desktop will reduce costs because of the pooled, multi-session resources. It’ll also provide individual ownership through personal (persistent) desktops. And a Multi-session Windows 10 deployment that delivers a full Windows 10 with scalability.

Other benefits include optimization of Virtualize Office 365 ProPlus to run in multi-user virtual scenarios. And it will provide Windows 7 Virtual Desktops with free Extended Security Updates (until January 2020).

With Windows Virtual Desktop, you can bring your existing Remote Desktop Services (RDS) and Windows Server desktops and apps to any computer. And you can virtualize both desktops and apps.

On top of this, you can manage Windows 10, Windows Server and Windows 7 desktops and apps with a unified management experience. And WVD supports Windows Hello for Business.

And you’ll have containerized User Profiles (FSLogix) with fast VHD load times. As well as uncompromised Office 365 Email and Calendar performance and Real-time Outlook search.

With WVD, users have the freedom to connect with any device over the internet. And from a business perspective, you don’t have to worry as much about the device that’s connecting. So long as the network connection is secure.

Extra Note

The new Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session capability is exclusive to Windows Virtual Desktop and Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH) role on Windows Server. With it, you can reduce the number of virtual machines and operating system overheads. Whilst providing the same resources to your users. Linux support will be available to connect from in the near future.

Why use Windows Virtual Desktop in my Business?

Windows Virtual Desktop requires less IT management overheads. Therefore this approach separates your operating systems, data and apps from local hardware. This is appealing because the risk of confidential information being left on a personal device is greatly reduced.

Deploying a Virtual Desktop Experience like Remote Desktop Services (RDS) has traditionally been expensive, complex and time consuming.

Using WVD can provide security, help with mergers and acquisitions, short term employees and contractor and partner access. Additionally, it can help with BYOD and mobile, call centres, brand workers, as well as with specialised workloads. Such as legacy apps and software development testing. 

Secure and Efficient

Consequently, this allows you to take a secure and efficient approach to centrally managing your PC and devices state. And you can do this without compromising user productivity within your organisation.

If your business uses Windows 7 desktops, WVD offers a unique advantage. They allow you to run them in the cloud for up to 3 years without having to pay for extended security updates. This is all past the January 2020 end of support date.

Windows Virtual Desktop Security

Windows Virtual Desktop Security uses reverse connect technology. Which eliminates the need to open inbound ports directly into the WVD. This reduces the risk of attack.  And you can fully utilise and control the environment using Azure AD Security Services via Azure MFA and/or CA. 

Windows Virtual Desktop also has a role based access control to simplify the risk of incorrect access being assigned. You can also isolate a user’s session in both single and multi-session environments.

Consequently, this means providing an added layer of security, permitting who or which departments are connecting to a specific WVD. A multi-session provides concurrent interactive sessions for multiple users at a time. Whereas a single allows for just 1 connection at any one time.

For example, you may have a WVD that hosts an application. But only one department within the business should have access to it. Therefore you’ll want to provide multi-sessions to the WVD but only for the department in question. 

What are Host Pools?

Host pool is a collection of virtual machines which will serve the users as session hosts.  Each machine in the pool should have the same OS and configuration. There are two categories of Host pool operations:

  1. Personal – Individual users will get their own session host.
  2. Pooled –This will allow multiple users to login into any session host within the pool.

What are App Groups?

App group is a logical group that includes applications installed in host pool’s sessions hosts. There are two types of app groups:

  1. Remote Apps – Users can launch published apps without launching a full desktop.
  2. Desktop – Users have full desktop access.

When a host pool is created, by default, the system generates a desktop app group called “Desktop Application Group”. A host pool can only have one desktop app group but it can contain multiple remote app groups.

Windows Virtual Desktop – Summary

In summary, Windows Virtual Desktop is the modern desktop experience redefined to a Windows 10 desktop experience from any location and any device. It improves on the traditional Remote Desktop Services or Terminal Server approach which are based on Windows Server. Windows Virtual Desktop is the best virtual desktop experience, delivered within Azure.

Further information on Windows Virtual Desktop is on the product page. And if you have any questions then please contact us.