Windows Virtual Desktop: Cloud OS Through Azure

Hosted on Microsoft’s Azure cloud infrastructure, Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) is a powerful virtualisation service that empowers businesses to create rapidly-scalable instances of desktops and apps and access them from almost anywhere.

At the time of writing, it’s a recent addition to the Microsoft lineup, having been announced in late 2018, released for public preview in early 2019, and finally made available throughout the world in late 2019. Most business-level Windows users gain access to it by default, meaning the only cost comes in the use of Azure’s cloud resources.

What makes Windows Virtual Desktop a gamechanger?

Virtualisation is a prominent ingredient of enterprise business well before cloud processing began its exponential growth. Companies could use VDI, or Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, to provide virtualisation — but only over their local networks. The problem with that was that it required local hardware to run effectively, limiting its performance, scalability, and reliability.

Ably supported by the robust Azure platform, Windows Virtual Desktop offers DaaS, or desktop-as-a-service. This improves upon VDI in almost every way by bolstering it with the immense power of the cloud, granting it exceptional performance, security, and accessibility.

In essence, WVD is a future-proof solution for replicating and using Windows software of all kinds. Used with the Microsoft 365 suite and the wider features of the Azure platform, it makes it faster, easier and cheaper to run a modern business (even on low-end hardware).

How WVD can help your customers

As a tool, WVD is as versatile as the desktops and programs it virtualises, but there are some core motivators that really make it appealing for even the most reluctant companies. Here are some of the key ways in which it can help your customers:

  • It can hugely speed up IT setup. More than just making deployment more efficient, WVD can make it as close to immediate as possible. A fresh virtual server can be up and running within minutes, and all that’s needed to connect is a secure network. The implications are obvious: no more messing around with awkward computer setup.
  • It can drastically lower hardware requirements. Because all the processing takes place in the cloud, top-of-the-line computers aren’t needed to make good use of WVD. Provided the hardware can connect to the internet and support the basics protocols, it can offer a WVD experience in line with that of a high-end machine.
  • It can allow people to work from mobile devices. WVD can be accessed through clients for Windows, MacOS, Android, and iOS. There isn’t currently direct Linux support, but since it will work with any HTML5-capable browser, it can still work on a Linux machine.
  • It can massively improve security. When a business is built around virtual desktops stored safely in the Azure cloud, there’s no need to worry about local machines being hacked into or laptops being lost. WVD supports biometric logins and Windows Hello, so with secure online logins, a cloud-based business can be extremely well protected.
  • It can be more efficient with resources. Windows 10 Enterprise Multi-Session is a version of Windows created to make best use of virtual machines. Using it, you can create individual user accounts on one virtual machine and have them all logged in and working at the same time, with the allocated resources distributed evenly.
  • It can keep older Windows versions viable. Because Windows 7 is almost at the end of its operational lifespan, its avid users will face security issues if they continue to use it — but if they use Windows 7 systems on WVD, they’ll not only get extended security updates, but also get to work knowing that any security problems would be kept isolated.

For all of these reasons and more, Windows Virtual Desktops can radically transform the daily operations of a forward-thinking business — and the costs can be remarkably low relative to just owning and maintaining high-end hardware, even if you discount the initial purchase cost.

Why resellers should make it a priority?

Having looked at how businesses can benefit from using WVD (all of the above can be used to make a strong case to a client), we can now consider why IT resellers should care about it. Why should you want your clients to move into virtualisation?

Well, the main reason is fairly simple: it can keep you involved for everything fundamental (identifying relevant tools, handling resource payment, providing training, etc.) but mostly pass the buck when it comes to the more arduous tasks such as resolving errors and navigating past hardware failure. This can be great for your bottom line.

And given how much of a knock-on problem outdated software can be (a client lingering on an old version of Windows can lead to various issues that you may be called upon to help with), there’s a clear benefit in your clients moving to the cloud. It can also make it much easier to help out with pressing issues because you can just log in to the necessary virtual machine (or machines) without needing to set up remote desktop viewing.

Overall, Windows Virtual Desktops is a glimpse into the future of IT systems, and it has a lot to offer for both you and your clients. If Azure is on the table, it’s absolutely worth discussing.

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