Decide when to use Azure Virtual Desktop

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In addition to the challenges that Tailwind Traders has been facing with application scale, your manager has asked you to put together a new development team of remote workers.

This task would normally require setting up several new computers with all of the requisite development tools for your new team. Then you would need to ship them to the respective developers. The time to procure, set up, and ship each of these computers would be costly. Also, all of your new developers have their own computing devices that are running a mixture of Windows, Android, and macOS operating systems.

You want to find a way to expedite the deployment process for your remote workers. You also want to keep your management costs to a minimum. With that in mind, you want to see how Azure Virtual Desktop can help your organization.

What is Azure Virtual Desktop?

Azure Virtual Desktop on Azure is a desktop and application virtualization service that runs on the cloud. It enables your users to use a cloud-hosted version of Windows from any location. Azure Virtual Desktop works across devices like Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux. It works with apps that you can use to access remote desktops and apps. You can also use most modern browsers to access Azure Virtual Desktop-hosted experiences.

The following video gives you an overview of Azure Virtual Desktop.

Why should you use Azure Virtual Desktop?

Provide the best user experience

Users have the freedom to connect to Azure Virtual Desktop with any device over the internet. They use a Azure Virtual Desktop client to connect to their published Windows desktop and applications. This client could either be a native application on the device or the Azure Virtual Desktop HTML5 web client.

You can make sure your session host virtual machines (VMs) run near apps and services that connect to your datacenter or the cloud. This way your users stay productive and don't encounter long load times.

User sign-in to Azure Virtual Desktop is fast because user profiles are containerized by using FSLogix. At sign-in, the user profile container is dynamically attached to the computing environment. The user profile is immediately available and appears in the system exactly like a native user profile.

You can provide individual ownership through personal (persistent) desktops. For example, you might want to provide personal remote desktops for members of an engineering team. Then they can add or remove programs without impacting other users on that remote desktop.

Enhance security

Azure Virtual Desktop provides centralized security management for users' desktops with Azure Active Directory (Azure AD). You can enable multifactor authentication to secure user sign-ins. You can also secure access to data by assigning granular role-based access controls (RBACs) to users.

With Azure Virtual Desktop, the data and apps are separated from the local hardware. Azure Virtual Desktop runs them instead on a remote server. The risk of confidential data being left on a personal device is reduced.

User sessions are isolated in both single and multi-session environments.

Azure Virtual Desktop also improves security by using reverse connect technology. This connection type is more secure than the Remote Desktop Protocol. We don't open inbound ports to the session host VMs.

What are some key features of Azure Virtual Desktop?

Simplified management

Azure Virtual Desktop is an Azure service, so it will be familiar to Azure administrators. You use Azure AD and RBACs to manage access to resources. With Azure, you also get tools to automate VM deployments, manage VM updates, and provide disaster recovery. As with other Azure services, Azure Virtual Desktop uses Azure Monitor for monitoring and alerts. This standardization lets admins identify issues through a single interface.

Performance management

Azure Virtual Desktop gives you options to load balance users on your VM host pools. Host pools are collections of VMs with the same configuration assigned to multiple users. For the best performance, you can configure load balancing to occur as users sign in (breadth mode). With breadth mode, users are sequentially allocated across the host pool for your workload. To save costs, you can configure your VMs for depth mode load balancing where users are fully allocated on one VM before moving to the next. Azure Virtual Desktop provides tools to automatically provision additional VMs when incoming demand exceeds a specified threshold.

Multi-session Windows 10 deployment

Azure Virtual Desktop lets you use Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session, the only Windows client-based operating system that enables multiple concurrent users on a single VM. Azure Virtual Desktop also provides a more consistent experience with broader application support compared to Windows Server-based operating systems.

How can you reduce costs with Azure Virtual Desktop?

Bring your own licenses

Azure Virtual Desktop is available to you at no additional cost if you have an eligible Microsoft 365 license. Just pay for the Azure resources used by Azure Virtual Desktop.

  • Bring your eligible Windows or Microsoft 365 license to get Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 7 Enterprise desktops and apps at no additional cost.
  • If you're an eligible Microsoft Remote Desktop Services Client Access License customer, Windows Server Remote Desktop Services desktops and apps are available at no additional cost.

Save on compute costs

Buy one-year or three-year Azure Reserved Virtual Machine Instances to save you up to 72 percent versus pay-as-you-go pricing. You can pay for a reservation up front or monthly. Reservations provide a billing discount and don't affect the runtime state of your resources.