Special Guest Blog: Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) with Azure: User and Workspace Management from Liquidware Webinar – by Symon Perriman

SymonSpecial Guest Blog
Author: Symon Perriman
(Symon@SymonPerriman.com, Twitter @SymonPerriman)

Desktop virtualization (or “VDI”) has become commonplace for organizations which need to offload processing from their end user devices to managed desktops due to performance or security needs.  Over the past decade, millions of these temporary virtual machines (VMs) have been created and destroyed by enterprises for their remote site workers, task workers, power users, or those operating in regulated industries with strict compliance needs.

For those who want to run Windows desktops at scale on the Microsoft virtualization stack, they usually have to set up dedicated hosts and clusters, which often made VDI unaffordable to small companies that do not have the resources or skills to configure, operate and scale a remote desktop infrastructure.  Even if they are successful, these configurations usually lack disaster recovery capabilities, and adding new users is time consuming due to the hardware procurement cycle.  For those workers which need high-quality graphics capabilities, using a VM running Windows Server with Desktop Experience may not even be an option as that feature is only available in the semi-annual servicing channel, which means that they would be restricted from getting access to other new features.  These problems are all in the past now that Microsoft is introducing Windows 10 Enterprise for Remote Sessions and Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) for Microsoft Azure.

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Figure 1 – Deploying Windows Virtual Desktop in Microsoft Azure

As a former virtualization engineer on Microsoft’s product team, I know how important delivering a world-class VDI experience has been for the company.  To ensure a rich UX while releasing features on a regular cadence, Microsoft needed to provide a version of Windows 10 which allowed for multiple simultaneous users to access it.  The new Windows 10 Enterprise for Remote Sessions SKU allows for up to 10 users to independently access the same Windows 10 virtual machine, and this user count may even increase with time.  This is a game changer for organizations which previously had to give each VDI users their own VM, as they can now share a VM which significantly reduces operating and hardware costs.

Microsoft decided to go one step further by eliminating the need for on-premises management entirely, by providing full support for multi-session Windows 10 VDI running in Microsoft Azure.  In the past, there were a myriad of technical and licensing restrictions which impeded a robust virtual desktop solution running in the public cloud.  Today, with Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD), Microsoft Azure is providing a first-class experience with optimizations for using Windows 10 and the full suite of productivity tools with Office 365 ProPlus.  These optimizations will help with migrating or co-locating Windows OSs, user profile management, application rights management, application compatibility, and centralized management while reducing the costs of delivering VDI.

However, Microsoft cannot do all of this alone.  While they are providing the infrastructure, they are still relying on their partner ecosystem to help customers evaluate, migrate and operate this new VDI infrastructure.  Liquidware (www.liquidware.com) is leading the way with their suite of tools to help organizations become successful using WVD.  Stratusphere UX is used to provide visibility into the health of key desktop infrastructure components which helps administrators evaluate user candidates, size for Azure storage, plan for application delivery, design base images, then monitor the user experience while they are in production.  ProfileUnity centralizes user management by harvesting user profiles, document and data, making them accessible and compatible across different products while providing ongoing secure policy management.  For the applications, FlexApp layers the apps within the desktop to enable streamlined application delivery, image management and packaging.

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Figure 2 – Tools from Liquidware to evaluate, migrate and operate Windows Virtual Desktop in Azure

To learn more about Windows 10 Enterprise for Remote Sessions, Windows Virtual Desktop for Azure, and Liquidware’s solutions, please check out our webinar which was recorded on February 21, 2019.  In this 1-hour video, you will hear from myself along with Liquidware’s experts Jason E. Smith and Robert Corradini.  Check it out to learn the benefits of virtualizing desktops in a public cloud, why Microsoft Azure is a premier VDI platform, and how Liquidware provides a suite of adaptive workspace management tools with Stratusphere UX, FlexApp and ProfileUnity.  Now organizations can easily evaluate, migrate, and manage their desktops in Microsoft Azure using advanced security with policy management, application restrictions, granular privilege elevation and much more.