Windows Virtual Desktop Service offers Windows on the cloud

As more, and more enterprise are moving to the cloud, Microsoft has introduced Windows Virtual Desktop. It helps a company deploy and scale Windows and Office on Azure with no comprise in security and compliance. Imagine this as Windows on the cloud where you buy desktop space, pay for hourly usage. The most significant advantage that Microsoft is proposing is that if the business doesn’t want to maintain infrastructure, manage a full fledge IT department; this can be your choice.

Windows Virtual Desktop

Windows Virtual Desktop

Before we start, I would like to point to a discussion we did in 2014— Windows as a Service or Windows as a SaaS. It is what is now is finally happening. If you are a company which doesn’t have a lot of in-premises requirement, you can move everything to the cloud. If not everything may be partially lowering the overall cost.

Windows Virtual Desktop is now in Public Preview. Here are the key features and functionality:

  1. Services like a gateway, licensing, diagnostics are offered as a service in Azure.
  2. Migrate Windows Server remote desktops and apps to Azure
  3. Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) as the identity provider. You can use security controls like multifactor authentication (MFA) or limited access.
  4. Access to Active Directory joined virtual machines (VMs) will be provided using Azure AD identities.
  5. If you use Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) for single sign-on (SSO), then the sign-on experience will be seamless.
  6. Virtual machines in Windows Virtual Desktop run isolated using a private IP without exposing itself to the internet.
  7. Windows 10 multi-session offers Windows 10 Enterprise experience where multiple users can log into the same Windows client VM simultaneously via RDP.
  8. Access to FSLogix technology, making your Office experience in a non-persistent environment feel like you are using a traditional PC.
  9. It supports full desktop, RemoteApp, and persistent or non-persistent, dedicated or multi-session experiences.
  10. Quickly virtualize and deploy modern and legacy desktop apps to the cloud in minutes

If you still want to use Windows 7, you get extended support for Windows 7 which is ending January 14, 2020.

List of supported Operating System

  • Windows 10 multi-session and single-session
  • Windows 7 single-session
  • Windows Server 2012 R2 and newer operating systems.

The Business mode for Windows Virtual Desktop

Microsoft has tied up this with Windows 10 Enterprise and Microsoft 365 licenses.  If you have it, you can access Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 7 Enterprise at no extra cost. If you have Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (RDS) Client Access License (CAL), then there is no additional cost. Here is the list

Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session or Windows 10 Enterprise

Microsoft 365 E3, E5, A3, A5, F1, Business Windows E3, E5, A3, A5

Windows 7 Enterprise

Microsoft 365 E3, E5, A3, A5, F1, Business Windows E3, E5, A3, A5

Windows Server 2012 R2, 2016, 2019

RDS Client Access License (CAL) with Software Assurance

However, you pay only for the Azure compute, storage, and networking associated with the virtual machines you use in your environment. Microsoft is also offering a 72% discount if you choose one-year or three-year Azure Reserved Virtual Machine Instances. You can always exchange or cancel reservations as your needs evolve.

Find more details on WVD documentation page.

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.

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