The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on everyone’s professional life. Everyone was forced to stay indoors to prevent the spread of the virus while the situation became fearsome across the globe. But, technology comes to the rescue in such difficult times.
One of the best technological implementations that ensure the safety of employees is WVD (Windows Virtual Desktop) or Azure Virtual Desktop.
What is Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD)?
Windows Virtual Desktop, also known as Azure Virtual Desktop, is a service from Microsoft that virtualizes Windows OS. It offers cloud-based virtual desktops and applications to the end-users. By implementing a protective and threat-free environment, WVD remote working solution can perform all the tasks and functions of Windows 10. WVD also offers:
- Scalable Windows 10
- Virtualization of Microsoft 365 apps
- Reduced expenses by sharing resources
To understand more about the Windows Virtual Desktop, let’s check out its uses.
Windows Virtual Desktop: Uses
- WVD allows you to build a virtual environment by using your Azure subscription. Moreover, there is no need to set up any additional gateway servers to get started with this.
- It allows the option to publish as many host pools as you want for providing better assistance to the workloads.
- It provides a Windows 10 Enterprise multiple-session environment. This environment covers the methods used for controlling and managing the cost by sharing the resources.
- You can also group and manage your virtual desktop on your own by using supportive command-line tools like Virtual Desktop PowerShell, Azure portal, and REST interfaces. These tools let you perform the host pool sorting, application group designing, and user allocation.
- Another vital use of WVD is that it has an in-built function to allocate roles and collect all the diagnostic details.
- With WVD, you can also use it for connecting and assigning multiple users from your virtual desktop. After assigning the users, you can provide them access to your Windows desktop and applications.
But what makes Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) the best in the market? To find out, let’s learn about the significant benefits of this service.
Benefits of Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD)
1. In-Built Intelligent Security
Windows Virtual Desktop offers a platform to create a remote working environment. And, accessing files over the Internet creates a fear of data theft or cyberattack. So, for ensuring data security, WVD provides security capabilities that actively monitor and prevent any data threat or attack using Windows 10’s Enterprise Data Protection (EDP) feature. Also, you get additional compliance with multiple regulations such as HIPAA, SOX, SOC1, and more.
2. Virtual access to Windows 10 desktop and applications globally
Many top remote desktop clients like Windows, Web, macOS, iOS, or Android provide support in creating a better virtual environment. In other words, these clients permit users to access their applications and desktop anywhere around the world from any device. Further, for making this virtual experience better, Azure VM and Windows 10 multiple-session features combine to run multiple user sessions simultaneously.
3. A smooth experience of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Office
For every remote working solution, the primary responsibility is to provide the same virtual desktop to all the employees or users, whether they are working on a computer or laptop. However, to make this happen, Microsoft adds its in-built tools to the Windows Virtual Desktop. Using which:
- The users or employees manage their Microsoft 365 Outlook.
- They can use OneDrive for storing, managing, and sharing important files.
- Use MS Teams without any VPN to stay connected with colleagues and teammates.
4. Costs Effectiveness
This can be considered one of the most important benefits of WVD. The reason behind this is that managing cost is the biggest concern for these kinds of services. For this, Microsoft has designed Azure Virtual Desktop eligible for using Microsoft 365 or Windows per-user license without any further need for additional license costs. You have the option of scaling up if you need additional VMs and descaling if you do not need them. Thus, you can save up on those extra expenses and manage your finances better.
5. Quick deployment and management within the Azure Portal
Windows Virtual Desktop comes with an Azure portal management hub that provides simple ways to configure network settings, add new users, deploy desktop apps, and enable data security with a few clicks. Furthermore, this also performs automatic scaling and running images flexibly using Azure Shared Image.
6. Updating Citrix and VMWare virtual desktop infrastructure
Microsoft has taken care of all the essentials required to make WVD better. However, for expanding the investments and skills with the Citrix Virtual Apps & Desktop Service and VMware Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure, Azure Virtual Desktop has the ability to join the existing desktop and app virtualization environments. Further, the main benefit of joining with Citrix and VMware is that their customers can quickly deploy Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session on Azure VM.
Working of Windows Virtual Desktop
For a better understanding of Windows Virtual Desktop, check out its working:
First of all, application endpoints get placed in the customer’s on-premises network.
ExpressRoute extends the on-premise network into the Azure cloud.
Then, Azure AD Connect joins the customer’s Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) with Azure Active Directory (Azure AD).
In this step, the Windows Virtual Desktop control plane manages and runs the Web Access, Gateway, Broker, Diagnostics, and REST APIs.
After the above step, the customer has complete control over the AD DS and Azure AD, Azure subscriptions, virtual networks, Azure Files, and the Windows Virtual Desktop host pools & workspaces.
Lastly, for expanding the volume, the customer can make use of the two Azure subscriptions in a hub-spoke architecture by connecting them using virtual network peering.
Components of WVD
Windows Virtual Desktop service architecture performs the same functions as the Windows Server Remote Desktop Services. That is to say, Microsoft manages the infrastructure components, and customers manage their desktop host VMs & clients. Let’s take a look at these components used in the architecture.
Components Microsoft manages
Microsoft is responsible for managing the following Windows Virtual Desktop services:
1. Web Access
This service allows users to access virtual desktops and remote apps using an HTML5-compatible web browser from any device.
The Remote Connection Gateway connects remote users to Azure Virtual Desktop apps and desktops from any device compatible with the Windows Virtual Desktop client.
3. Connection Broker
The primary function of this service is to run user connections to virtual desktops and remote apps. It also reconnects existing sessions and performs load balancing.
Remote Desktop Diagnostics is responsible for monitoring and marking the action of every user or administrator on the WVD deployment as a success or failure. This way, the administrators can identify the events that fail.
5. Extensibility components
There are various components like Windows PowerShell and Rest APIs. Using them, you can manage Windows Virtual Desktop and make use of third-party tools.
Components you manage
The components that customers have access to manage Windows Virtual Desktop solutions include:
1. Azure Virtual Network
Azure Virtual Network enables a VM to communicate with other VMs and to the Internet. Here, you can define network topology by connecting Windows Virtual Desktop host pools to an Active Directory domain. Moreover, you can access an on-premises network using a VPN or use Azure ExpressRoute to extend the on-premises network into Azure cloud (with a private network).
2. Azure AD
Azure AD provides identity and access management in Windows Virtual Desktop. Using the IAM service combines the Azure AD security features such as conditional access, multi-factor authentication, and the Intelligent Security Graph. It also helps in maintaining the app compatibility in domain-joined VMs.
3. Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS)
This service performs the linking of users between the two services. To process this,
Firstly, AD DS must get synchronized with Azure AD.
Secondly, Windows Virtual Desktop VMs must domain-join an AD DS service for creating a remote connection.
4. Windows Virtual Desktop session hosts
A host pool is capable of running and managing the following operating systems (OS):
- Windows 7 Enterprise
- Windows 10 Enterprise
- Custom Windows system images with loaded apps and group policies.
- Windows 10 Enterprise Multi-session
This offers additional features like:
- You can choose VM sizes and GPU authorized VMs.
- Every session host has a Windows Virtual Desktop host agent.
- Every host pool can have one or more app groups.
5. Windows Virtual Desktop workspace
This workspace defines the management set up for running and publishing host pool resources.
Azure Virtual Desktop Environment
Azure Virtual Desktop service’s primary task is to provide an environment in which users can securely access their virtualized desktops and RemoteApps. Let’s learn more about the Virtual Desktop Environment terms that help in providing a better experience.
The Azure Virtual Desktop tenant provides a primary interface that allows over control for the Azure Virtual Desktop environment.
2. Host pools
A host pool is a group of Azure virtual machines that perform the Azure Virtual Desktop registration as session hosts during the execution of the Azure Virtual Desktop agent. However, there are two types of host pools:
Each session host is allocated to individual users.
Session hosts have permission to accept connections from any user approved to an app group inside the host pool.
3. App groups
An app group is a sensible grouping of applications installed on session hosts in the host pool. There are two types of app groups:
In this, users have permission to access individually selected RemoteApps and then publish them to the app group.
In this, the user has complete control and access over the desktop.
Further, while allocating users to the app groups, check the following things:
This provides a logical grouping of application groups in Azure Virtual Desktop. However, if the user wants to view the published remote apps and desktop then, every Azure Virtual Desktop application group must be linked with a workspace.
After allocating user’s app groups, they get access to an Azure Virtual Desktop deployment using any Azure Virtual Desktop clients.
Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) provides the best remote solution for having access to your applications and desktops from your own device globally. This service is used by most of the topmost organizations for providing in-built security for securing data using Azure. Moreover, the service is using conditional access for managing risks before you grant users access to your Azure Virtual Desktop environment. This makes it completely secure against all threats. So, start reading and understanding this service to learn more. And, feel free to ask any doubt in the comment section.
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