What Is Windows Virtual Desktop and How Do You Migrate?

February 28, 2020
Windows Virtual Desktop

What is Windows Virtual Desktop? Here’s an overview of the service, including why it could mean such a big deal to you, more about Windows Virtual Desktop pricing and how to get started.

What Is Windows Virtual Desktop?

There’s a great playlist of videos available at the moment by the Azure Academy that gives you a good introduction to WVD. In the beginning of the first video, it explains nicely what the big deal here is. To put it in a nutshell, Windows Remote Desktop Services has been around for ages, but it really needed a modern version which was cloud focused, scalable, more cost effective and easier to manage.

This is exactly what Microsoft now offers with its WVD service.

6 pointers for a quick overview:

  1. Windows Virtual Desktop is the only service which offers fully-managed multi-session Windows 10 Enterprise with Office 365 ProPlus from the cloud.
  2. The service supports a number of operating systems including Windows 10 multi-session, Windows 10 single-session, Windows 7 single-session, Windows Server 2012 R2 and newer operating systems.
  3. On the hardware side, you can provide WVD to all kinds of devices including Windows PCs, Macs as well as iPads, iPhones, and Android devices. It is also accessible via any modern browser with the HTML5 client.
  1. The advantages over traditional remote desktop services (RDS) are numerous (watch Microsoft’s 9-Minute introductory video if you want to hear them all), with the most significant advantages being its pay-what-you-use model and the ability to pool resources, which drastically lowers costs. On top of that, there’s easier scalability and deployment, as well as a much more “natural” desktop performance for users. Finally, everyone can access desktop and applications centrally, while admins no longer need to manage and secure windows, applications and data on every user’s local computer.
  2. The main requirement for WVD is an Azure subscription, which will include the amount of storage your business requires, the virtual machines and the compute resources they consume. Full and up-to-date details are available on the Microsoft Azure site.
  3. Remember, Windows Virtual Desktop is no one-stop shop for all your needs. As you can imagine, just providing a desktop isn’t going to be a lot of use to your team – you’ll need to leverage the network of supporting integrations to make it work for you. Official launch partners include CloudJumper, IGEL and ThinPrint (that’s us!). Our ezeep product, which we showcased at Microsoft Ignite 2019 enables you to connect to existing print infrastructure from WVD, bridging the gap between hardware and the cloud for the best Windows Virtual Desktop printing experience possible.

What About Windows Virtual Desktop’s Pricing?

One of the best things about Windows Virtual Desktop is that you only pay for the Azure Virtual Machines and Azure Storage consumed by users during use.

Compared to other remote desktop offerings, the amount of costs that can be saved here are potentially enormous.

That being said, is not so easy at first to get a ball-park figure of Windows Virtual Desktop pricing due to the large number of variables which make each environment different. Decision-makers need to consider a couple of things, like the number of VMs and the level of micro-management you’re willing to take on.

Your best bet is to consult the WVD portal and work out which plan is most suitable. For example, if you’re willing to reserve your virtual machines in advance on a yearly or 3 year period, check out the Azure Reserved VM Instances (RIs) page. Microsoft provides a few Windows Virtual Desktop pricing examples on the Azure website too. There’s also a pricing calculator which you can try out.

Deploying Windows Virtual Desktop

The overall flexibility and savings which can be made year in, year out, coupled with appealing licensing, will make Windows Virtual Desktop an attractive option for most. Once you are sure that WVD is the right fit for your organization, you’ll just need the required technical know-how to for migration. The process is not 100% self-explanatory however, so a good way to get started is to consult other deployment videos online.

Windows Virtual Desktop #1 Deployment, is one of the best ones you can watch, and although it was released while WVD was still in public preview, it’s still pretty consistent on what you need to do.

Related Posts

  1. Reviewing the User Experience with Windows Virtual Desktop
    We’ve tested the solution in house extensively, so how does WVD feel in the real world? We give our impressions on the user experience.
  2. Setting Your Own Custom URL for WVD’s HTML 5 Client
    Right now, all users access their browser-based virtual desktops via the same link. This can be changed with Azure Functions.
  3. What is Microsoft App Attach?
    Microsoft designed a new type of technology, called App Attach, especially for WVD. Read on to learn how applications can be stored outside a virtual machine.
  4. Using Windows Virtual Desktop with iPadOS
    Why the ezeep team is especially happy about two iPadOS innovations and what they have to do with WVD can be found in our video and blog post.
  5. Windows Virtual Desktop Printing with MacOs, iPad and iPhone
    Working with WVD on Mac, iPhone and iPad can be done with full printer support and minus the clunky printing procedures. We explain how.

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