Microsoft Azure: Making Virtual Desktops Simpler

If the results around workplace performance, employee efficiency and worker morale are anything to go by, remote working is no passing trend; it’s a fixture of the modern workplace, and one we can expect to drive the future of enterprise.

If the results around workplace performance, employee efficiency and worker morale are anything to go by, remote working is no passing trend; it’s a fixture of the modern workplace, and one we can expect to drive the future of enterprise.

Solutions such as Microsoft 365 have helped to keep our workplace software available, but they don’t provide the flexibility of a full desktop experience; and while remote desktop services do provide more features for remote workers, they’ve always been rather complicated.

Remote working solutions are simple to grasp - so why can't remote desktop services be?

What is Azure Virtual Desktop?

Azure Virtual Desktop is a full Windows 10 saved into the Cloud. It’s accessible from any connected device, allowing users to access an entire desktop’s worth of technology without being tied to a workplace device or location. Azure Virtual Desktop is Microsoft’s new approach to the Virtual Desktop environment, and it seeks to simplify remote working for users worldwide.

Azure Virtual Desktop replaces Microsoft’s previous solution, Remote Desktop Server, which was complicated and lacking the usability features of the Cloud. Now, with Azure Virtual Desktop, working remotely is easier and has far more options for flexibility.

Here’s how.

Simpler Licensing

Previously, Remote Desktops required a Windows Server operating system license and a separate Remote Desktop Server access license. Microsoft, taking adoption of their AVD seriously, now deliver the license as standard to every user with an M365 license.

There’s no longer any need to license a Windows Server operating system either, which is how Microsoft’s older virtual desktops operated. For users already in a Microsoft workplace, it’s now much simpler to get into the Virtual Desktop environment.

Your entire team can be moved to Azure Virtual Desktop without any need to apply for licenses – and without any extra cost per-user. The only other requirement is an Azure license, and the only cost consideration is the running of your virtual machines, which we’ll cover shortly.

Remote Desktop Services

Management and Monitoring

By moving our remote desktops into the Cloud, they become much easier to manage and maintain; partly because the bulk of that work is now handled by Microsoft’s data centres. Remote Desktop Server left it up to admins to install operating systems, support the service and apply important upgrades. They’d also need to manage the on-premises hardware that powered the remote desktop.

With Azure Virtual Desktop, Microsoft’s Cloud data centres take care of all the above, without sacrificing any flexibility. Owners can still scale, amend and fine-tune their Virtual Desktop, but the distraction of hardware maintenance is no longer an issue when Microsoft’s data centres take care of their security and stability.

One Solution for Multiple Users

Arguably one of Azure’s most transformative developments, Azure Virtual Desktop allows multiple users to work from the same desktop environment at once, essentially supporting an entire workforce from one virtual computer.

To avoid conflicts between users, Microsoft uses a technology called FSLogix. Put simply, this technology means that users can amend their Virtual Desktop experience without compromising the settings for everyone else. That includes providing language options for bi-lingual team members, for example.

These changes are saved to a user-level and presented to the user when they log in, leaving the virtual desktop you’ve developed completely untouched and still set up within your company policy. Not only do your workers have added flexibility, but you can provide it while still maintaining a standardised working environment.

…And More Besides

We’ve touched upon the licensing, managing and user experience, but there are plenty of other user-friendly benefits to Azure Virtual Desktop, including:

  • - Virtual Machine maintenance provided by Microsoft
  • - Support for OneDrive
  • - Microsoft Teams Compatibility
  • - Service Support from Microsoft
  • - Automatic updates and upgrades

It’s clear that Microsoft wants to shake the stigma of complex virtual desktops, making AVD easier to access and simpler to manage. For any modern enterprise looking to expand their remote working capabilities – especially those already relying on Microsoft solutions – Azure Virtual Desktop might be the most user-friendly place to start.

Still unsure if Azure Virtual Desktop is the right solution for your business? Our free eBook explores Azure Virtual Desktop – its business benefits, its cost-cutting potential, and its potential for productivity.

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