Windows Virtual Desktop – The best virtual desktop experience, on Azure

At Ignite Microsoft announced the public preview of Windows Virtual Desktop in Azure. This announcement is critical in the modern approach to desktops not only for some of the new and innovative ways Azure can be leveraged, but also coupled with technologies acquired from FSLogix that render and manage virtual desktops.  This technology provides a new innovative way to deploy your virtual desktops in a way that suits your organization best from a cost perspective.

The key here is resource utilization. Traditional models with a single virtual desktop for each user typically meant that you were underutilizing your resources as you sized each desktop for peak usage. With Windows Virtual Desktop on Windows 10 multi-user sessions you can reduce the required underlying hardware and maintain a great user experience.  These new capabilities can drive significant cost savings!

Some important things to consider when considering virtual desktops:

Persistent / Nonpersistent Storage?
Office apps like Outlook require persistent storage and traditional VDI is typically nonpersistent or require a one user per virtual desktop design to provide that persistent storage. Now, with Windows Virtual Desktop in conjunction with technologies from FSLogix you can deploy a Windows 10 multi-session and still have your persistent data roam with you.

This is done by containerizing the user profile which can then be attached in real time to the session that you get brokered to. This also allows for better performance in that your PST file is fully hydrated and indexed in full cached mode when Outlook is opened just like a traditional desktop.

Managing Host Pools
Host pools are created within your Windows Virtual Desktop tenant. A host pool is a collection of Azure virtual machines that register to the Windows Virtual Desktop as session hosts. Administrators can create host pools that contain one or more virtual desktops that are configured for a certain set of users. For instance, you could set up a host pool for Accounting that has a specific requirement on different applications they may need to use.

There are two types of host pools:

–          Personal – where each session host is assigned to individual users

–          Pooled – where session hosts can accept connections from any authorized user

Host pools have their own individual settings such as region, Size of the VM, OS disk type, load-balancing behavior and several others. Within the host pool you can configure App groups that allow you to customize the virtual desktops within the pool to make available specific applications.

These management capabilities are available in the Azure portal.

Methods of load balancing and cost structure
Optimized for performance – Here you can determine the number of virtual machines and use breadth mode to evenly allocate users across the virtual machines.

Optimized for cost savings – Configure the host pool for depth mode in which users are allocated to a single VM until the desired limit is reached before leveraging an addition virtual machine. Combined with the ability to scale new virtual machines as needed ensure the resources you need are always available to you.

Getting started
While we have highlighted many of the core featured within Windows Virtual Desktop on Azure as with anything in the cloud it is important to both ramp up your organization’s internal knowledge on the full solution as well as architect the environment following best practices that fit your organization. At Planet technologies, we have a Proof of Concept offering that includes not only assisting with the architecture and testing of the design but also interactive workshops that allow our engineers and your team to work seamlessly on the right solutions for you.

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