Six months after Windows Virtual Desktops (WVD) went to public preview, Microsoft announced on Monday, September 30th that WVD is now generally available worldwide!
If you are not familiar, Microsoft now provides customers with the ability to host a virtual desktop environment within Azure that will allow users to connect to a guest OS that has been preconfigured with applications mandated by IT.
DMC has already had the opportunity to assist with the implementation of WVD in production for one of our top clients – which is going quite well.
This technology, which was mastered by Citrix 20 years ago for on-premise environments, is a game-changer now hosted in the cloud. No longer will you need to set up on-premise resources to build & host what was a fairly complex farm needing lots of horsepower (RAM/CPU) and large amounts of storage.
This can all be done within a secure environment in the cloud, which is important, that allows you to use Microsoft services such as Intune, Information Rights Management (IRM), Conditional Access, Sensitivity Labels --- in other words, everything that Microsoft has done to make Office 365 and Azure secure, can be leveraged within your secure Virtual Desktops your users are logging into.
Benefits & Features
Let’s break down some of my favorite benefits and features of WVD:
- WVD can use Azure Active Directory (AAD) as the identity provider. This gives you the ability to use features like MFA and SSO.
- This is one of my favorites -- No inbound ports need to be opened! Because it is using “reverse connect technology”, an outbound agent creates a secure outbound connecting over TCP/443 into the WVD management environment. Because of this, you do NOT need to allow TCP/3389 (RDP port) on the firewall for your users to connect to their desktops.
- Traditional on-premise RDS (Remote Desktop Services) Roles such as the RDS Gateway, Broker, Licensing and Diagnostics are now provided to you by Azure meaning that you do not need to manage any of it!
- Virtual machines hosting the WVD environment are not exposed to the Internet directly. Again, reverse connect technology allows the VMs to be accessed.
- The service supports multiple OS platforms, such as Windows 10 Multi-Session, Windows 10 Single-session, Windows 7 Single Session and Windows Server 2012 R2 and newer operating systems.
- IT gets full control over software, and businesses will not need to purchase expensive traditional desktops. The only requirement is a device that has an HTML 5 capable browser, which could be a company-owned device or a personally owned device.
- Once logged into the Remote Desktop URL where the desktop is hosted, users simply just need to double-click the desktop that is assigned to them, and they are in (see below screenshots)!
This technology really is a game-changer in the IT world. I’m expecting a good portion of small and mid-size businesses, as well as Fortune 500 companies, to start using WVD over the next 12 months. And with Microsoft’s partnership with Citrix whereby they have announced Day 1 support for WVD, they are getting support from the people that know this technology the best.
If you are interested in starting a WVD deployment at your organization or want to learn more about Microsoft’s Virtual Desktop solution, contact us today!
Senior Systems Consultant
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