Cloud-based DaaS offers several benefits to the workforce. This Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop (formerly Windows Virtual Desktop) guide evaluates the platform and its capabilities.

Image: iStock / DragonImages

Unprecedented conditions COVID-19 and the ensuing global pandemic have caused many businesses to mingle in search of ways to accommodate an increasingly remote and virtual workforce. Some companies have found that labor productivity is the same, if not better, within a virtual system. These companies are likely to adopt platforms such as Desktop as a Service (DaaS) and the continuation of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), even pandemic has calmed down.

Cloud-based DaaS and VDI services are provided by several vendors, including Microsoft, through Sky blue cloud platform. Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop provided free service to certain Microsoft 365 and Azure subscribers. Licenses for individual Azure Virtual Desktops licenses are also available at a cost that varies by server location and virtual machine type.

LOOK: Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop: Scam Sheet (Free PDF) (TechRepublic)

These are many benefits to Azure Virtual Desktop, but there are also several caveats to consider before your company decides to deploy the platform. As with all business decisions, planning and analysis before making decisions is justified and highly recommended. This scam sheet from Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop: TechRepublic will help you evaluate what the platform is and what it can offer so you can make the best decision for your business.

What is Azure Virtual Desktop?

Leveraging the power of Microsoft cloud services, Azure Virtual Desktop is an installed virtual machine that hosts a cloud-based desktop and application virtualization service. Azure Virtual Desktop provides a virtual desktop experience and remote applications to any device. Depending on its configuration, the platform can bring Microsoft 365 and Azure to provide users with multiple sessions Windows 10 an experience that includes scaling and lower IT costs.

Azure Virtual Desktop can be configured to run on Windows 10 Enterprise, Windows 7 Enterprise, or Windows Server 2012 R2, 2016, 2019. Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 are not supported.

LOOK: Virtualization policy (TechRepublic Premium)

The following remote desktop clients support Azure Virtual Desktop:

LOOK: Software as a Service (SaaS): Scam Sheet (Free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Why is Azure Virtual Desktop Important?

Whether necessary or as part of an overall productivity strategy, the modern workforce is increasingly a remote and mobile workforce. To access the systems and applications it needs to do its job, the workforce is increasingly dependent on cloud platforms and virtual machines that can be accessed from anywhere, anytime, on any device.

Azure Virtual Desktop provides workforce access a a Windows virtual machine Using any application, a typical IT-forced Windows computer should be running for your business. Leveraging Azur’s cloud infrastructure, companies can configure multi-session installations of Windows 10 that are optimized to run in multi-user virtual scenarios.

From an employee’s perspective, their Azure Virtual Desktop is exactly the same as their desktop’s traditional PC setup. From a company perspective, the cost of purchasing, installing, deploying, and protecting physical hardware can be saved by enabling Microsoft and Azure to address these features in the cloud service.

LOOK: Microsoft sees demand for cloud services growing during the outbreak of the coronavirus (TechRepublic)

What are the benefits of Azure Virtual Desktop?

Whether it’s a choice or an event, if employees work remotely, sensitive business information is transferred and stored locally at some point, albeit only for a moment. Even with best security measures, this transfer of sensitive data is dangerous. Add variations of employees on their own personal devices and networks to work and you have a recipe for disaster.

Azure Virtual Desktop provides employers with virtual machines that are configured exactly as they need, securely installed in the Azure cloud. Basically, sensitive enterprise data is never transferred out of the enterprise control structure because all data transfers are only between Azure cloud instances. In the Microsoft Azure cloud, data is protected by all types built-in security protocols, including Azure Firewall, Azure Security Center, Azure Sentinel, and Microsoft Defender ATP.

LOOK: How SMEs build their technology stacks (TechRepublic)

In Azure Virtual Desktop, the use of desktop instances is controlled by the conditional access protocol, including multi-stage authentication. The Azure infrastructure can be deployed to enable role-based access control (RBAC) and threat detection through the Azure Security Center. Azure Virtual Desktop certified to ISO 27001, 27018 and 27701, PCI, FedRAMP High for Commercial and HIPPA.

If your company has already subscribed to Microsoft 365 or Windows Enterprise, it can create a desktop instance for each user for free using Azure Virtual Desktop. Therefore, remote users can access the built-in Windows operating system from anywhere, anytime, on any device at no extra charge.

Because Azure Virtual Desktop is managed through the Microsoft Azure Portal, your business can scale desktop instances to meet business needs on the fly. Administrators can add virtual processors, increase virtual RAM, share more virtual hard disk storage, etc. with a few mouse clicks and an administrator login account.

What are the warnings for Azure Virtual Desktop?

The primary consideration to consider when deciding to deploy Azure Virtual Desktop to telecommuting is the quality of your network connections. No matter how well you plan and design your virtual desktops, they are only worth the effort if your employees have the ability to get to the cloud effectively. Slow internet access, intermittent connections and no internet connection are all a real possibility and all need to be mitigated for cloud-based virtualization to work effectively.

LOOK: DaaS and VDI: The new report highlights the high costs and challenges of the virtual workforce (TechRepublic)

In addition to the technical aspect of network connections, employers also need to consider how much employee training is needed. Technically skilled employees and IT professionals are unlikely to have difficulty connecting to Azure and Azure Virtual Desktop servers, but some employees may need at least some instructions to connect. Who gives help, how do they provide it, what if it is not effective? There must be acceptable answers to these questions.

Other answer questions are, when in operation, how do employees ask for additional resources if they need them? Is there a ticketing system where IT staff is responsible for resolving them? Is that infrastructure in place? Configuring the procedures for maintaining the Azure Virtual Desktop system should be completed before deploying the actual virtual instances.

Who are the main competitors to Azure Virtual Desktop?

Competition among cloud vendors in virtual desktop mode is fierce and includes dozens of different companies, many of which are well known and familiar. Obvious competitors include the usual big suspects in cloud services Amazon AWS and Google Cloud Platform. Other significant competitors are Citrix and VMware. Other smaller competitors offer specialized desktop services to engineers, architects, artists and researchers.

LOOK: Research: Stacking decisions by SMEs based on business needs (TechRepublic Premium)

Here is a short list of virtual desktop competitors:

Throughout this competition, Microsoft will continue to pressure to keep prices and fees low on its Azure Virtual Desktop service. This competitive pressure helps explain why Microsoft is willing to offer Azure Virtual Desktop for free to existing customers who have already ordered Microsoft 365 or Windows enterprise versions.

LOOK: All TechRepublic scam sheets and smart man guides

How do you get Azure Virtual Desktop, and when will it be available?

Azure Virtual Desktop is available through the Microsoft Azure Portal. For current subscribers to Microsoft 365 and Windows Enterprise, desktop instances are available to each user at no additional charge. Non-subscribers must pay a subscription fee that is determined by the specifications of the virtual machines used for each desktop example. Note: Microsoft will provide free access to Azure Virtual Desktop until the end of the year beginning July 14, 2021.

Subscribers to these existing services have free access to instances of Azure Virtual Desktop running specific operating systems on a per-user basis:

Operating system

License required

Windows 10 Enterprise session or Windows 10 Enterprise

Microsoft 365 E3, E5, A3, A5, F3, Business Premium or Windows E3, E5, A3, A5

Windows 7 Enterprise

Microsoft 365 E3, E5, A3, A5, F3, Business Premium or Windows E3, E5, A3, A5

Windows Server 2012 R2, 2016, 2019

RDS Client Access License (CAL) and Software Assurance

For companies that do not have an existing subscription, the price of an Azure virtual desktop through Azure depends on the configuration selected for each desktop instance. For example, a pay-as-you-go instance with 2 processors, 8GB of RAM, and 50GB of storage is estimated to cost $ 137.29 per month. Quotation Azure price calculator which is significantly more than the Microsoft 365 Business Premium subscriber, which costs $ 12.50 per month / user. Of course, prices can and probably will change over time.

see also


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here