To keep desktops performing their best and with the lowest cost, Microsoft WVD desktops are best managed with a non-persistent (stateless) design. With the GA of WVD, Microsoft has introduced an ephemeral OS disk as an option to deploy VMs on Azure. A VM on an ephemeral disk enables the VM is designed to last for only a short time so it can be refreshed to its original state. This is a little different than non-persistent workspaces from Citrix Desktop (formerly XenDesktop), and VMware as an ephemeral desktop only gets when the administrator opts for it to be reset. In contrast, a Citrix or VMware desktop usually gets destroyed at logoff.
Microsoft WVD can run either an OS like Windows 10 multi-session or a desktop OS such as Windows 7 or 10. Most people seem to be exploring the Windows 10 multi-session option. As this is true multi-session computing, many users may be logged into the Windows 10 multi-session host at any given time. Therefore, you must ensure any host you reset is not in use, lest you interrupt users’ sessions while in production. For this reason, the Windows 10 multi-session host cannot be truly non-persistent and destroyed at logoff. To keep the host clean it can only be reset from time-to-time or ephemeral, lasting for a period of time. Therefore, to invoke best practices, treating Windows 10 multi-session hosts as ephemeral desktops is a vital way to make keep these Windows host machines clean.
An ephemeral OS disk essentially lets you roll back a machine to a known good state. If you do not leverage ephemeral disks for WVD, you must recreate the host for rollbacks, which may be done with other technologies such as image management tools.
There are many benefits touted for the new ephemeral disk usage. However, describing the difference of non-persistent disks and ephemeral disks is mainly splitting hairs because for most intents and purposes because Microsoft WVD should be managed as if it is a non-persistent desktop. What is common to both is that non-persistent or ephemeral desktops are deleted (virtually destroyed) at logoff or at a determined interval. They are recreated (provisioned) from a base image. The newly created desktop is then kept fresh and runs at top performance and does not suffer from the degradation a traditionally managed OS suffers from overtime.
Since WVD machines are managed in this ephemeral way, Microsoft’s FSLogix technology becomes essential to the user experience. FSLogix allows the user to pick up right where they left off when a new WVD VM is recreated because the profile, in its entirety, rejoins the user from a virtual disk on Azure at the next login. To extend and complement this ephemeral desktop design even further, Liquidware is a key Value Added Partner in the WVD ecosystem and delivers the following additional benefits:
- FlexApp dynamically attaches applications to VMs at every login, enabling applications to be rejoined to WVD VMs without continually manipulating the base image. This dramatically simplifies app management with dynamically attached apps and;
- Reduces image management overhead by eliminating native application installs
- Enables you to leverage one base image and assign FlexApp application attachments on a per-user or per-group basis
- Enables applications to remain persistent in non-persistent (ephemeral) desktops
- Integrates seamlessly with existing app lifecycle management workflows
ProfileUnity speeds adoption of WVD with seamless zero-downtime user migrations to FSLogix profiles from any legacy Windows workspace platform and;
- Peforms smart user profile and data harvesting for efficient, repeatable zero user downtime migrations to WVD
- Automatically hydrates FSLogix profile containers with select user profile data and access to user-authored data
- Enables backup / fast restoration of FSLogix profiles, complementing FSLogix Cloud Cache
- Delivers full User Environment Management features such as context-aware advanced policy management, application rights management and more
Discover how Liquidware’s entire Adaptive Workspace Management suite enables easy adoption and management of WVD by visiting this resource page.
What you may have missed…
Microsoft Ignite was in Orlando last week as many have occurred before. This Ignite was different though mainly because there was no way to ignore the major spotlight that Microsoft was shining on Windows desktop delivery. More specifically, Microsoft had many sessions and announcements around Microsoft WVD (Windows Virtual Desktop). More on that later below.
We co-hosted go-kart racing with IGEL and CloudJumper and were able to accommodate hundreds of registrants. Hundreds of others were waitlisted (our apologies and we’ll plan something even bigger next time). It was a great event.
By our conversations with attendees in The Hub (the show floor), not every desktop architect was there for WVD information. We held discussions with many large enterprise desktop on-prem accounts that are running Citrix and/or VMware desktops. Many had a mixture of Citrix, VMware, cloud and on-prem and were discovering that Liquidware was a perfect fit for workspace management that adapts to the desktop without compromising user productivity. Some of these large Microsoft customers had not even heard of WVD yet and that’s perfectly fine (they will). Microsoft Ignite served as a reality check for Liquidware – with us realizing that many organizations are not in a hurry to change up their on-prem desktop delivery for cloud based desktops. What we did validate was that many organizations want to leverage more and more of the cloud.
It’s a perfect scenario for customers to leverage Liquidware because our workspace management can effectively perform “Cloud Staging” of user profiles, applications, and metrics of the user experience. In short, customers can leverage Microsoft Azure, Amazon, and/or Google clouds today with their on-prem desktops to seamlessly pave the way for transitions when ready. Our innovative support of cloud and object-based storage for user profiles, data, and apps serves as a pathway to the cloud while modernizing your legacy on-prem deployments today.
Back to Microsoft WVD. There were many sessions but the main one was on the first day of the show. The session was delivered by Scott Manchester, Group Program Manager, Microsoft, it was well attended. Highlights of that session and others included:
- WVD will expand to more regions by early next year, beyond the Americas and Europe. No matter where you are, you can now deploy WVD but the increased geographies will decrease latency for far hosted regions in the world.
- Support for Linux thin clients with IGEL, a Liquidware alliance partner.
- Native Domain Controller (AD) support for Azure File Storage.
- Microsoft Teams support
- Improvement with the admin experience is coming soon
- Enhanced integration with Office 365
- WVD will be supported on Azure Stack Hub. That means you’ll be able to run WVD on-prem https://azurestack.blog/2019/11/azure-stack-ignite-2019-updates/. The Native WVD Management Plane will continue to only be available on Azure.
- Preview of MSIX App Attach – and a shout out by Scott (thanks) of working with Liquidware for additional app capabilities with FlexApp
There were tens of thousands in attendance at Microsoft Ignite this year. Wherever you are exploring emerging cloud desktops such as Microsoft WVD, Amazon WorkSpaces or Nutanix XiFrame or you’re looking to leverage more cloud storage to pave the way, Liquidware is the only source for Adaptive Workspace Management that works across all of your desktops. Start your trial today or contact us to let us know how we can assist.
Microsoft WVD (Windows Virtual Desktop) is now generally available and a robust public preview is well underway. Customers familiar with virtual desktops, such as those running Citrix or VMware, may be early adopters.
Many organizations are asking how they can automatically harvest their existing user environments from Citrix or VMware and automatically hydrate FSLogix profile containers on a Native WVD environment. Still others may be looking at using some of their WVD entitlements, such as Windows 10 Multi-Session OS, in a Citrix or VMware environment hosted on Azure. With Liquidware ProfileUnity, it is easy automatically migrate users from any Windows desktop to Microsoft WVD.
Updated: 10/01/2019 – Microsoft WVD (Windows Virtual Desktop) has set the Microsoft Windows world on its ear! Everyone is interested to learn more about Microsoft’s forthcoming Azure-hosted virtual desktop that promises to be more turnkey then any solution we’ve seen to date.
Microsoft WVD is now available so you can get started with one of the most anticipated desktop delivery platforms Microsoft has ever launched. Liquidware is a chosen inaugural partner of the Microsoft WVD partner ecosystem. As a Microsoft partner of WVD we’ve been aware of the development and the solution for the past two years.
Special 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.
(2 minute read) – Microsoft WVD (Windows Virtual Desktop) is coming and Liquidware is hearing from many customers that they plan to deploy a proof-of-concept or pilot to test the waters as soon as possible. Microsoft has a public preview program in the works and you can now register here to apply for access to the program. If you’ve been following Microsoft WVD you’ve seen that Liquidware has been named by Microsoft to the short list of focused partners that Microsoft is working closely with, as mentioned in this Microsoft blog.
The release of ProfileUnity and FlexApp v6.8 today is our best release ever! This release has several enhancements and new industry-first features that raise the bar.
With the widespread adoption of Microsoft Office 365, OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox Enterprise, etc., Windows user profiles are now more bloated than ever before. In virtual workspace environments this can be a big challenge because if your users don’t have very fast access to their large user profile, user experience suffers greatly. Some type of profile containers/disks are now available from most desktop virtualization vendors. Profile disks, offloading the user’s profile to a virtual disk hosted on an SMB or in the cloud, is the very baseline type of profile that you must have to have a profile persist in virtual non-persistent desktop environments.
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…”
If you missed VMworld 2018 this year, you missed some great End User Computing momentum! This was Liquidware’s 10th VMworld but it was personally my 12th show. The week before leaving I came across my VMworld backpack from the second VMworld in 2005 and decided it was time to put it to use, more on that below.