Microsoft has unveiled a Windows Virtual Desktop solution at this year’s Microsoft Ignite event in Florida and says companies like Citrix, CloudJumper, FSLogix, Lakeside Software, Liquidware and more are also working on integrations.
The Windows Virtual Desktop allows Microsoft Azure users to run Windows 10 completely in the cloud as part of an official Microsoft package. The new service offers multi-user Windows 10 capabilities that are optimised for Office 365 ProPlus.
The ability to run a Windows desktop in the cloud is a not a new one, but Microsoft has been surprisingly late to the party in offering the ability to do so itself.
Benefits of a Windows Virtual Desktop?
The company noted that for regulated industries like financial services and healthcare, a virtualised desktop experience ensures compliance regulations are met and access to sensitive data is securely managed.
“For mobile workforces and Firstline Workers, desktop virtualization makes managing and provisioning access to corporate data and apps easier. It also gives IT options in supporting scenarios such as giving access to specific apps to certain employees.”
Julia White, VP for Microsoft Azure, and Brad Anderson, VP for Microsoft 365 described the release in a blog as the “most scalable service to deploy and manage Windows virtual machines, using Azure for compute, storage, rich diagnostics, advanced networking, connection brokering, and gateway. You no longer need to host, install, configure, and manage these components yourself—so you can deploy and scale in minutes.”
Microsoft has assured its customers that the Microsoft Store will still be accessible to users running Windows 10 on Azure and that all standard applications will be available. Customers can make use of existing Windows ‘line-of-business’ applications within the server-based virtualisation.
Windows Virtual Desktop
The new service will allow developers to choose between providing users with the complete virtualised desktop experience, or it can be set so that it only makes available certain applications to a Windows 10 endpoint.
Nicholas McQuire VP of Enterprise Research at CCS Insight commented in an emailed statement: “Windows Virtual Desktop is part of a collective move from Microsoft over the past few weeks to reshape the desktop operations and end user computing industries”
“The announcement will no doubt set the pulses racing of both VMware and Citrix, who have come to dominate the desktop virtualisation market and want to capitalise on the industry’s growing shift to the cloud.”
Microsoft have also announced that they will be working closely with partners such as Citrix, CloudJumper, ThinPrint and Lakeside Software to further integrate and enhance the capabilities of its new Windows Virtual Desktop offering.
“Microsoft is aiming more at Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud with the offering however. Microsoft’s bet is that in the long run, the cloud players will dominate the desktop management industry,” McQuire added.
Microsoft 365 E3, E5, F1 customer or a Windows E3 and E5 customer are able to access the service for free once they establish an Azure free account.