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Azure Virtual Desktop: A versatile cloud VDI platform designed for the hybrid workplace

by Spanish Point - Aug 3, 2021
Azure Virtual Desktop:  A versatile cloud VDI platform designed for the hybrid workplace

The Covid-19 pandemic forced millions of people to work from home, and organisations worldwide had to transfer critical apps and data to the cloud to improve business resilience and agility. To support the new remote workforce, many turned to Windows Virtual Desktop to give remote users a secure, easy to manage, productive personal computing experience with Windows 10 from the cloud.

Going forward, organisations will need to support an evolving set of remote and hybrid work scenarios. To help meet these new hybrid work demands, Microsoft is expanding its vision to become a flexible cloud VDI platform for nearly any use case—accessible from virtually anywhere. A modern VDI platform needs to be secure, scalable, and easy to manage while delivering a seamless, high-performance experience to end-users. It should also empower organisations with the flexibility to customize and build solutions with its core technology. This blog will discuss the new capabilities, new pricing for app streaming, and the rebranding of Windows Virtual Desktop service to Azure Virtual Desktop.

New platform capabilities for security and management

Microsoft is continually adding new capabilities to the core Azure Virtual Desktop platform to assist you in onboarding and managing your Azure Virtual Desktop deployment.

  • Enhanced support for Azure Active Directory: Azure Active Directory is a critical service used by organisations around the world to manage user access to important apps and data and maintain strong security controls.  Soon you will be able to join your Azure Virtual Desktop virtual machines directly to Azure Active Directory (AAD) and connect to the virtual machines from any device with basic credentials. You’ll also be able to automatically enroll the virtual machines with Microsoft Endpoint Manager. For certain scenarios, this will help eliminate the need for a domain controller, help reduce cost, and streamline your deployment. While this is a major milestone, it’s just the beginning of the journey towards full integration with Azure Active Directory.
  • Manage Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session virtual machines with Microsoft Endpoint Manager: Microsoft Endpoint Manager allows you to manage policies and distribute applications across devices. You can now enroll Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session Azure Virtual Desktop virtual machines in Microsoft Endpoint Manager and manage them in the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center the same way as shared physical devices. This simplifies management and provides a centralized view across both physical devices and virtual desktops.
  • Deploy in minutes with new onboarding experience: This new experience will validate requirements, kick off an automated deployment, and will also implement best practices. With only a few clicks, you can set up a full Azure Virtual Desktop environment in your Azure subscription.

New pricing options for remote app streaming

Many organisations are using Azure Virtual Desktop to stream apps to their own employees who are covered by existing license entitlements. However, many organisations also want to use Azure Virtual Desktop to deliver applications “as-a-service” to customers and business partners as well.

Microsoft has announced a monthly per-user access pricing option for organisations to use Azure Virtual Desktop to deliver apps from the cloud to external users. For example, this would enable software vendors to deliver their app as a SaaS solution that can be accessed by their customers. In addition to the monthly user price for Azure Virtual Desktop, organisations also pay for Azure infrastructure services based on usage.

Try it during our promotional period

The new per-user access pricing option will be effective on January 1, 2022. To help organisations get started now, there is a special promotion with no charge to access Azure Virtual Desktop for streaming first-party or third-party applications to external users. This promotion is effective from July 14, 2021, to December 31, 2021.

Pricing for monthly user access rights effective on January 1, 2022, will be:
•    $5.50 per user per month (Apps)
•    $10 per user per month (Apps + Desktops)

This promotion only applies to external user access rights. Organisations would continue to pay for the underlying Azure infrastructure. Organisations should continue to use existing Windows license entitlements, such as Microsoft 365 E3 or Windows E3 and higher, for app streaming to their employees. 

Getting started

To learn more about these announcements, please sign up for our upcoming webinar.