Brief Overview: Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) was announced a few days ago at Microsoft Ignite in Orlando. We at Liquidware think it’s a really big deal. You may have seen that Liquidware is mentioned in Microsoft’s announcement blog as already having incorporated support for WVD.
What is Windows Virtual Desktop and Why It’s a Really Big Deal!
With Microsoft’s announcement they are evolving their modern desktop technologies (formerly RDmi) to deliver, for the first time ever, a turnkey Windows Virtual Desktop hosted exclusively on Microsoft Azure Cloud. More specifically, WVD is a multi-user version of Microsoft Windows 10 that is only available on Microsoft Azure – workloads and storage will be hosted on Azure. This is significant because previously customers had to procure everything they needed on prem or in the cloud of their choice and then assemble the parts. The solution is touted to be cost-effective because, as of now, any customer with a Windows 10/Microsoft 365 and E3/E5 or F1 subscription is eligible for WVD at no additional charge except for Azure compute and storage costs (which you’d have to pay in any cloud scenario).
Microsoft is marketing WVD as truly turnkey saying you can, “Quickly virtualize and deploy modern and legacy desktop app experiences with unified management—without needing to host, install, configure and manage components…”
In short, customers will have everything they need to deploy enterprise scalable Windows Virtual Desktops on Azure, directly from Microsoft. Solutions from Microsoft ecosystem partners, including Liquidware, can then be added to provide application layering, robust Office 365 and OneDrive profiles, and user experience monitoring, and more. Liquidware was honored to be on Microsoft’s RDmi panel discussion at Microsoft Inspire just a couple of months ago where several value added solutions were discussed.
Customers Will Be Compelled to Re-evaluate Their Desktops
Microsoft’s WVD approach with modern infrastructure like Azure Active Directory and all of the components you need for WVD turnkey ready in Azure is a game changer. Organizations that leverage virtual desktops or want to move to virtual desktops will be compelled to give it a hard look. Essentially, Microsoft WVD will give the customer the opportunity to streamline the way they are delivering desktops by providing an end-to-end solution where customers can choose add-on vendors that meet their needs for their specific enterprise use cases.
A Huge Opportunity for Microsoft Partners!
Although Microsoft will now have a more direct relationship with customers there are really big opportunities for partners, system integrators, and solution providers. For years the industry has waited for a true turnkey cloud desktop solution. With this announcement, Microsoft has stepped up to the plate and looks to be the desktop that millions of organizations will rapidly adopt. So what are the opportunities?
For starters, partners can register to be a “Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider” to sell Windows Virtual Desktops themselves. And just like RDS and on-prem VDI, there will be integration/consulting services that enterprise customers will require, and there will be value added solutions from vendors like Liquidware that add functionality like application layering, environment/profile management, and user experience monitoring. You can register on the Liquidware web site to become a partner of ours if you aren’t already.
Windows Virtual Desktop + Liquidware Essentials – A Complete Azure Desktop
We have been honored to have worked closely with Microsoft’s RDS/Azure Virtual Desktop product management team since very early this year to ensure compatibility across our Application Layering, User Environment Management (including profiles and Office 365/OneDrive cache), and Monitoring and Diagnostics. We’re pleased to announce that we’ve already been fully supporting Microsoft’s own internal testing of Microsoft WVD across our entire product line including FlexApp Application Layering, ProfileUnity User Environment Management, and Stratusphere monitoring and diagnostics.
With Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop and Liquidware, joint customers will have an end-to-end solution that delivers high-fidelity Azure-hosted desktops at scale and at a cost-effective price. Liquidware solutions enable the following benefits with Windows Virtual Desktops on Azure.
- Plan, grow, and scale with the industry leading user experience metrics – Stratusphere has been used by thousands of organizations to assess for virtual desktops and assessments for Windows Virtual Desktops are quick and easy. Solution providers and customers alike can plan and size their WVD enterprise with confidence with Stratusphere. After deployment, Stratusphere is leveraged to know User Experience at a glance and enables administrators and help desk staff to quickly diagnose negative trends before they impact end-user productivity.
- Seamless user migrations from your current virtual or physical desktops to Microsoft Virtual Desktops with zero downtime – Profiles, applications, policies, and user data are all available at first logon. Even if you are upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 10, ProfileUnity automatically makes user profiles compatible in seconds at logon.
- Streamlined base image management – FlexApp has already been tested with the latest Microsoft modern desktops to layer applications on Windows 10 multi-session desktops.
- Enterprise grade profile management -Office 365 caches and OneDrive necessitate a fast profile cache in virtual desktop environments. ProfileUnity’s Profile Disk technology enables quick logons for persistent and non-persistent desktops and once Microsoft launches a single user version of WVD (also thought of as VDI), ProfileUnity Profile Disk will be of even greater benefit. When coupled with ProfileUnity’s cross OS profile compatibility for Win 7/10/Server environments, there is no comparable solution today.
- Process Optimization- Stratusphere’s process optimization features for desktops was built with virtualized environments in mind. The solution automatically adjusts workloads with process optimization for CPUs to provide the best desktop performance available.
- Quicker Overall Logons – Stratusphere can be leveraged to analyze logons while ProfileUnity can be leveraged to dramatically improve overall logon times with centralized profile and policy management. Microsoft Azure Active Directory look-ups are streamlined with ProfileUnity to apply policies to any of over 144 context aware settings.
Current Liquidware Customers Are Prepared!
If you are currently a Liquidware customer you are prepared to seriously consider Windows Virtual Desktops as soon as they are available. Regardless of the virtual desktop platform you are using today, because you’ve chosen industry leading workspace management from Liquidware, our products will make your transition to Windows Virtual Desktops easy and simple. If you are not a customer or partner, you can try our solutions for free today here.
You can learn more and sign up for Microsoft’s Public Preview of WVD here.
Footnote: Another excellent source of information on WVD is Rob Beekman’s Blog which can be found here.