Windows 10 VDI with Windows Virtual Desktop

Windows Virtual Desktop is a Desktop as a Service (DaaS) product from Microsoft Azure. Windows Virtual Desktop offers organizations the capability to deploy Windows virtual machines (VMs) accessible from anywhere using any compatible device, making it ideal for remote work. Once the initial complex setup is completed and you have provisioned the VMs from your operating system images, all your users need to do is run their Windows VMs, start working, and Azure does the rest, ensuring that your infrastructure is able to handle the workloads efficiently.

What is Windows Virtual Desktop?

Windows Virtual Desktop is an instantiated VM that hosts a Windows desktop and relevant applications, including Microsoft 365, on the cloud. Windows Virtual Desktop leverages the capabilities of Microsoft Azure, allowing it to be accessed easily from anywhere using any device.

With Windows Virtual Desktop, you can do the following:

Unlike VDIs that can be costly and difficult to set up and maintain internally, Windows Virtual Desktop uses Azure to securely host your VMs and the data that pass through them on the cloud, leaving you free from maintaining the infrastructure underneath. Though initial setup may be complicated, once you have your Windows Virtual Desktop platform up and running, provisioning additional VMs is straightforward using the Azure management portal, PowerShell and REST interfaces.

Licensing Options

Windows Virtual Desktop is free on a per-user basis for select Microsoft 365 and Enterprise Windows customers on Azure. RDS Client Access Licenses (CALs) with Software Assurance is required for Windows Virtual Desktop running Windows Server VMs. If you want to try out Windows Virtual Desktop, you can sign up for a one-month free Azure trial.

If your organization is not an existing Microsoft 365 or Azure customer, and you have not acquired Windows Virtual Desktop licenses yet, you may want to take a look at other competing services. These options include Amazon AWS or Google Cloud Platform, or even Citrix or VMware, since Windows Virtual Desktop licenses may be higher-priced for non-Microsoft customers. License costs may vary depending on server location and VM type.

What Are the OS and Network Requirements?

You can provision Windows Virtual Desktop to run VMs installed with the following x64 Windows operating systems:

Windows 7 Enterprise does not support profiles on managed Azure Storage that are based on Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) or VHDX (the second version of VHD).

In addition, before implementing Windows Virtual Desktop, you need to assess if your network connections are robust enough to meet virtual desktop demands. Like any cloud-based solution, Windows Virtual Desktop requires high-quality network connections to ensure that your employees are able to access their desktops on demand. If your network infrastructure is inadequate, your employees might end up frustrated trying to access your network, defeating the purpose of a virtual workforce.

To ensure optimum performance, it would be best to check for a round-trip time (RTT) latency of less than 150 milliseconds, originating from your network to the Azure region where you plan to deploy host pools. Azure has a tool that allows you to view this parameter. VMs also should be in the same Azure region as the management service.

If your organization is subject to data regulations, take note that connecting to the Azure management service may lead to network traffic flowing outside your country/region borders and into the United States.

What Are Other Setup Requirements and Procedures?

Windows 10 VDIAnother consideration when setting up Windows Virtual Desktop is how tech-savvy your employees are. While network pros will probably not have any trouble with Windows Virtual Desktop, you should at least set up a training program for employees to ensure that they will not have any major issues with the system when it gets implemented.

Once you have the required Windows Virtual Desktop license, go to your Azure Dashboard, provide your consent to the use of the service, accept the required permissions from Microsoft and you can start provisioning the VMs you need.

When setting up your Windows Virtual Desktop infrastructure, experienced Windows IT administrators should have no problem following the detailed instructions from Microsoft. Azure ensures that your VDI is able to scale up, so your IT staff is also freed from the additional responsibility of managing your virtualized environment’s underlying physical infrastructure. Using the Azure management portal, IT staff can concentrate on ensuring that virtual desktops and applications are deployed to your users when needed.

Once you have set up your Windows Virtual Desktop infrastructure, your users can access their VMs using Remote Desktop clients built specifically for Windows, macOS, iOS and Android. For employees running Linux and other operating systems, an HTML5 web-client capable of running on all major web browsers is also available.

What Are Some Benefits of Windows Virtual Desktop?

Windows Virtual Desktop brings major benefits to your organization, including the following:

Parallels RAS and Windows Virtual Desktop

Parallels® Remote Application Server (RAS) extends and simplifies the capabilities of Windows Virtual Desktop by integrating and managing all workloads and resources from a single pane of glass. Organizations can integrate Parallels RAS deployments with Windows Virtual Desktop, delivering a unified solution to end-users.

There are many other advantages to managing and deploying both Windows Virtual Desktop and applications and desktops on Parallels RAS, including:

Manageability: Administer Parallels RAS and Windows Virtual Desktop environments, users, sessions and processes efficiently with advanced metrics and comprehensive management capabilities.

Automation: Easily automate and streamline administrative routines with a range of automation tools.

Flexibility: Deploy apps and desktops in hybrid and multi-cloud environments.

Legacy apps: Support and deliver legacy applications along with newer Windows Virtual Desktop workloads.

Auto-scaling: Scale Azure and on-premises infrastructures up or down depending on demand.

Advanced functionality: Access cutting-edge features such as Session Pre-launch (ultra-fast logon), drag and drop functionality, accelerated file retrieval and Universal Printing and Scanning.

Download the Parallels RAS trial and see how straightforward it is to use with your Windows Virtual Desktop infrastructure.