In September of 2019 Microsoft released into General Availability a VDI solution called Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) on Microsoft’s cloud platform – Azure. This solution mixed the power of cloud virtualization with a new version of Windows 10 – Windows 10 multi-session. For the first time, multiple people were able to remotely use a single virtual machine/computer running Windows 10. Whereas, previously only one person could log into a single computer using windows 10. This change is important due to being able to share resources. Often one person is not using all of the resources (computing capability) of their computer. With multiple people connecting to one computer you are maximizing the use of that computers resources.
For example, Sally uses her computer to access financial applications and excel. Alone her average use only takes up 40% of her computers resources. That means on average, 60% of her computers resources goes unused. Say another person, lets call him Bob, has the same type of job as Sally and he uses only about 40% of his computer’s resources too. Well instead of paying for two computers, we can combine them to use the same computer, giving them each their own desktop that shares the same computers resources. Now 80% of the computers resources are being used and we’re only paying for one computer. This is the basic concept of the main advantage WVD gives over other Virtual Desktop Solutions.
I wrote a white paper on the use of WVD as a Virtual Desktop Solution if you are interested in more details of the solution: White Paper: Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) as a VDI Solution
A new way to work
Since the release of WVD, in a short amount of time, the world has had to change how it approaches work. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the whole world suddenly had to adopt a remote workforce approach – if it was possible to work from home, it suddenly became necessary to work from home. Many companies threw together rough solutions using a mix of VPN technologies and laptops, or remote access programs such as Log Me in or teamviewer, whatever it took to get through quarantine. But here we are now, in a world with a new view of remote work. What should your company or organization do for a long term solution to a remote workforce?
Honestly there is a lot of options, but I’m going to talk you through what a WVD solution would look like in meeting your long term remote work force goals.
The Microsoft Cloud
To start, you have to understand the power of the cloud. A cloud platform like Microsoft Azure, is simply a network of high quality, incredibly secure, data centers operated and maintained by Microsoft throughout the globe. Through something known as virtualization, you are able to create virtual computers, networks, and applications for your organization to use. Microsoft has a great little video on how Microsoft Azure works:
Through a cloud platform like Azure, you can create and build an entirely virtualized environment for your business or organization and not have to pay for all the hardware and staff to maintain it. Instead you simply pay for what you use, as you use it.
With the cloud you can create in minutes what would often take hours, or if you didn’t have the hardware on hand, would sometimes take days or weeks. This allows you to grow your environment almost instantly. As your business or organization grows, your virtual infrastructure (servers, networks, and desktops) can easily grow right along with it.
Cloud Desktop Solution
With that in mind, lets go back to talking about Windows Virtual Desktops. Imagine you have WVD setup in the cloud, where it is able to securely connect to all the business applications and services in your network required for people to do their jobs. You can instantly assign a new person a Desktop with all the applications they need, a desktop that can be accessed from nearly anywhere with an internet connection from nearly any device.
A New Hire
Now lets imagine you have a new hire, named Beth. Instead of ordering a laptop or desktop, installing your company/organization image and applications and setting email and office on it, you can instead, simply assign a WVD desktop to her. Using the same username and password that she will use for her email, she can remotely access her new work desktop from her home computer or tablet or mobile phone.
Or say she has a Samsung galaxy phone, she can plug an HDMI cable into her phone to hook it up to a monitor and a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse and use Samsung DEX to access her WVD Desktop in a full desktop experience.
What if she doesn’t have her own device? Then your company can provide a ‘thin client’ such as a chrome book or other laptop or desktop type device with very little computing resources of its own that can be used to access the WVD Desktop, something that can be purchased for very little by comparison.
In an instant you have enabled Beth to be able to work from anywhere without having to compromise on the security of your network or data. From a management perspective that Desktop still lives internally on your network and you have full control over its configuration and setup and all its data is secure.
Now imagine you’re company has acquired another business with 2 offices with 50 people in each office. With WVD you can instantly scale the number of hosts and computing resources to match new workloads, then all you have to do is assign those users to a WVD desktop and they already have a corporate joined desktop on your network they can use right away – whether it be from the office or from home or while traveling – from anywhere.
The benefits go on. Thin client dies? No corporate data loss, they can just hop onto a different device to access their virtual desktop. Their personal laptop gets stolen – no corporate security concerns or data loss as all their work related data was on the virtual desktop – and again the person can hop right onto a different device and continue working where they left off. Because WVD is virtualized on cloud resources you dont need to worry about hardware upgrades and assets becoming out of date, no more hardware refreshes. What about users who need to do graphic intensive work like the marketing department? Azure has GPU enabled virtual machine sizes ideal for graphic intensive workloads.
Whatever your needs are, Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) is worth serious consideration for your long term remote workforce solution. Reach out to us today to start a conversation on how WVD can be used to benefit your business or organization.