Understanding Windows Virtual Desktop

Windows Virtual Desktop is a comprehensive desktop and app virtualisation service running in the cloud. It’s the only virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) that delivers simplified management, multi-session Windows 10, optimisations for Microsoft 365 apps for enterprise and support for Remote Desktop Services (RDS) environments. Deploy and scale your Windows desktops and apps on Azure in minutes, and get built-in security and compliance features.
From <https://azure.microsoft.com/en-gb/services/virtual-desktop/>

But what does it actually mean?
Windows Virtual Desktop, usually referred to as WVD, is effectively a managed Remote Desktop Service (RDS) hosted in Azure.  The key difference to the traditional RDS is the ability to add to your pool a special edition of Windows 10 that allows multiple users to connect to it.  Yes! A multi-session Windows 10 operating system. Depending on your licensing WVD also supports single-session Windows 7 (yes, it is still supported!).

It also supports RDS Remote APP, enabling you to deliver applications to virtually any device.

Why would I use WVD instead of RDS?
Windows Virtual Desktop provides a level of agility and scalability hard to match on any on-prem environment. You can use out-of-the-box templates to spin up instances immediately or can tailor and customise your own image. It is also very cost effective.

Why would I use a multi-session Windows 10 OS?
Well, we have all been using RDS for a long time and the limitations are clear. Running some application on a server OS was always challenging and companies frequently stated that they would not offer support on it. The biggest advantage of the multi-session Windows 10 is the compatibility with all the apps that you already have running on your traditional desktop.

The multi-session Windows 10 OS also provides a significantly better user experience compared to the Server OS. As an extra benefit, we have the strong optimisations for the Microsoft 365 suite and enhancement on profile management with FSLogic (more on FSLogic on a future article).

What do I need to give it a spin?
If you don’t have an Azure subscription, signup for a free account. You will need a few pre-requisites. You may choose to sync it with an existing Active Directory on-prem or you can choose to use the Azure AD Domain Services. This pre-requisite is there because you must join the WVD machines to a domain.

There are also a couple of additional authorisations that need to happen, but the setup is quite simple.

More information here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-gb/azure/virtual-desktop/overview

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