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Azure – Windows Virtual Desktop (2020 Spring update)

How to Provision a Windows Virtual Desktop Host Pool - Petri

Microsoft has recently unveiled the new public preview and it’s a real game-changer. The previous iteration of WVD (Windows Virtual Desktop) was cumbersome to deploy and required a power shell guru to operate. Let’s explore some of the big changes and how virtual desktops are going to make a big come back in 2020.

Firstly, it’s important to note that Microsoft has made some great improvements to its licensing. They have released a new product range called Microsoft 365. This extends the Office 365 range to include a license of Windows 10. What’s more you can use this license for Azure Windows Virtual Desktops! Even better Windows 10 Enterprise adds Multi-session mode!! 

Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session, formerly known as Windows 10 Enterprise for Virtual Desktops (EVD), is a new Remote Desktop Session Host that allows multiple concurrent interactive sessions. Previously, only Windows Server could do this. This capability gives users a familiar Windows 10 experience while IT can benefit from the cost advantages of multi-session and use existing per-user Windows licensing instead of RDS Client Access Licenses (CALs).

Now we understand some of the great changes to licensing let’s check out the deployment process. Firstly, in Azure if you search for Azure Windows Virtual Desktop you will find the following:

The portal now adds functionality to deploy new host pools (Pools of virtual machines to host desktops), application groups (groups of applications from host pools to stream to clients), workspaces (groups of application groups to present to clients) and users.

The principles of virtual desktop infrastructure remain the same. For the best results you will want to create master images for different pools of users. These images will contain the operating system and different applications required for your users. Azure offers the ability to use built-in ones or upload your own. You can also deploy a virtual machine in Azure, configure the virtual machine to your requirements then save it as an image. Microsoft has also added the ability to configure host pools to power down when they are not in use. This can be a real cost-saver in Azure.

The process to get Windows Virtual Desktop up and running is as follows:

1 – Deploy and configure network infrastructure (Links back to your data centers or cross-connects to clouds)

2 – Deploy and configure Active Directory sync & Azure Active Directory

3 – Create a master image for your different users groups

4 – Deploy your host pool

5 – Deploy your application groups

6 – Deploy your Workspaces.

Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop supports streaming applications and desktops to Windows, Mac OS, iOS, and Android. Now you can enable your user’s abilities to access legacy applications from any device!

In conclusion Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop is Virtual Desktop brought back for the Cloud era. This new twist with the Cloud makes for a great deployment to enable bring your own device.

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