Windows Virtual Desktop is a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution, which also is sometimes called "desktop-as-a-service." The service lets organizations access applications remotely that are running on top of Windows 7- or Windows 10-based client operating systems.
IT teams face enormous pressure to modernize their environments, go “cloud native” and embrace “digital transformation.”
Yet doing these things hasn’t always been easy. Your team may be able to move certain applications and data to the cloud easily enough. But it has traditionally been much harder to modernize legacy systems, like desktop computers, that have been in place for decades. Finding a way to move those systems to the cloud without breaking the bank, introducing new security problems, or increasing your management burden is a real challenge.
Or at least, it has been a challenge, given that conventional platforms for hosting desktops in the cloud haven’t always been easy to optimize for cost, security and manageability.
That changed with the introduction in 2019 of Azure Virtual Desktop, or AVD, Microsoft’s Desktop-as-a-Service platform hosted in the Azure cloud. For the first time, AVD provides a cloud desktop solution that allows enterprise IT teams to square the circle between legacy infrastructure and cloud-native technology.
Here are five reasons why AVD is the desktop solution enterprise IT teams have been missing for years.
1. Cost-effective cloud desktops
Azure Virtual Desktops features simple, predictable pricing. Unlike most other Desktop-as-a-Service platforms, AVD charges just for the Azure resources that your AVD virtual machines consume. You don’t pay extra for orchestration layers or tooling.
Thanks in part to these savings, the total cost of an AVD-based desktop is about 90 percent lower than that of a conventional, physical desktop, according to research conducted by Anunta. That’s a fact that anyone responsible for enterprise IT budgeting can love.
On top of this, AVD offers a pay-as-you-go pricing model, meaning you don’t have to make upfront capital investments or commit to long-term fixed spending. IT budgeters will love that, too.
2. Support for graphical workloads
A chief limitation of many conventional cloud desktop services is that they let you run only basic applications that depend on standard virtualized hardware.
AVD goes further. It supports GPU acceleration, making it possible to run specialized applications that don’t work on a conventional virtual machine. This is an especially important advantage for IT teams that need to support users in industries like engineering and manufacturing, where GPU-accelerated applications are sometimes a necessity.
3. Multi-tenant Windows 10
Azure Virtual Desktop is the only cloud desktop platform that allows for multi-tenant use of Windows 10. That means multiple users within your organization can share the same cloud desktop.
Multi-tenant desktops drastically reduce total costs while also making desktops easier to manage. If multiple users can share each desktop, you have fewer total desktops to pay for and maintain.
Azure Virtual Desktop is built from the ground up to be highly scalable. Not only can you add more virtual machines whenever you need to increase your number of cloud desktops, but you can also easily provision additional users directly from within Azure.
With AVD in place, IT departments no longer have to relive the struggles they faced to scale up their desktop infrastructure during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can quickly increase (or, just as important, decrease) capacity whenever you need.
5. Built-in licensing and compliance
Azure Virtual Desktop also simplifies cloud desktop management and deployment by offering built-in software licensing and compliance certifications. You don’t need to obtain and manage your own Windows licenses, and the Azure cloud’s broad set of compliance certifications ensures that your desktops comply with whichever regulatory laws are in effect in your jurisdiction.