What is Azure Virtual Desktop?
Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) – initially coined Windows Virtual Desktop – launched in September of 2019. AVD allows for a fully managed desktop virtualization solution in Microsoft Azure. But what does this mean exactly?
AVD enables users to virtualize their desktop (which consists of user data, applications, and the operating system) and position these systems in the cloud. What you’re left with is a full desktop experience that is accessible from almost any device, in addition to the peace of mind that company data is not free flowing on end-user devices. This data stays in the cloud and remains separate from user hardware which is susceptible to being lost or stolen. Additionally, this enables IT departments to centrally manage the user environment and ensure compliance.
AVD distinguishes itself from other virtual desktop solutions of the past in that it is a fully managed offering in the cloud. This allows for scalability, load balancing, and the easy configuration of user profiles within Microsoft Azure. Further climbing down the rabbit hole: administrators can configure multi-session capabilities in host pools to drastically reduce cost by having multiple users per virtual machine – all running Windows 10 or 11. This reduces the complexity of managing larger environments.
With the recent push and demand to migrate to a hybrid workplace, virtual desktop solutions have become even more sought out. Organizations are experiencing a need to onboard and offboard employees at a rapid rate, some of which have rotating employees across the globe. Not only that, but these employees may need varying levels of performance to accommodate their workload. AVD offers a secure, scalable, and cost-effective solution for these companies to equip their staff with Windows 10 and 11 desktops that are fit to their needs – at lightning speed – no matter where they are.
Microsoft has taken AVD to the next level by constantly updating and making the virtual desktop experience even closer to the on-premises experience. At Microsoft Inspire 2022, Kam Vedbrat, the Director for AVD at Microsoft, presented some of the newest updates that have enhanced the AVD experience. He mentioned, “The scenarios we hear about from our customers and partners drive all the new features and updates we release.” Some of the new features include:
- New flexibility for AVD to include higher-end GPU-enabled machines
- Enhanced capability of Microsoft Teams
We’ve experienced the benefits of these updates firsthand at Cloudforce. Most notably, the enhanced capabilities of Microsoft Teams have been a breakthrough for creating solutions with AVD. Many of our clients that use Microsoft Teams as their collaboration platform naturally want to extend that capability to their AVD users. Previously the full set of features Teams’ users were used to on a local machine weren’t available for the media-optimized version. This had been a small but very limiting reality for AVD users when virtual collaboration was essential for those remote users. This past spring, Microsoft updated the media-optimized version of Teams to include key features such as background effects, multi-windowed clients, live captions, and give-and-take control features.
New features like the ones mentioned are fundamental to many organizations’ workflows. Now equipped with these features, we at Cloudforce can be even more confident in the solutions we’re creating for organizations, and likewise, organizations can be confident in the quality of the solutions we’re delivering.
Recently, the increased demand that we’ve seen for a reliable virtual desktop experience has motivated us at Cloudforce to pursue the Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop Advanced Specialization, which we hope will soon be in our hands. This will enable us to bring this solution to more and more organizations, unlocking new business potential, and creating lasting partnerships.
Have you struggled with equipping your hybrid workforce with the necessary tools needed for collaboration? Talk to one of our many experts who can create customized solutions to fit your needs via the links below.