Full Disclosure: Nerdio Manager for Enterprise Costs and Licensing

To start, all of the information shared in this article is already “out in the open”, so to speak. We don’t “hide” anything from our (potential) customers or partners. Why would we? However, we do understand that sometimes it can be a bit confusing when it comes to licensing, the PaaS services involved, associated costs, how billing works, etc. Therefore, we decided to collect all of this information into a single post – full disclosure, if you will.

Throughout the last couple of weeks, I have had some very interesting talks around Nerdio Manager for Enterprise (NME in short), which included some of the above topics as well. Though, in some cases it was more about the bits and bytes; the technology involved than anything else. Like the talk I had with Claudio Rodrigues, for example.

Claudio was kind enough to take the time and go over our product. Not only during our meeting, but also in the days after. He provided some valuable feedback. You might have seen some of his tweets. A few of his Tweets were on the feature set of NME, it’s completeness, and how it stands out compared to others (thank you again for that, Claudio), others were on pricing, and “hidden costs” regarding the underlying PaaS services where NME is built on. Which, in all fairness, we didn’t cover during our talk.

To be clear, Claudio and I have been in contact afterwards as well. At one point he asked me what I normally see around the PaaS resource usage on a monthly basis from a financial perspective. From there, his tweet around the NME infrastructure costs was born. Claudio also offered his help providing input for this post.

We are an open and transparent company. What will follow is an overview of all associated components, their costs, our licensing model, how those costs are calculated on a monthly basis, and some explanations here and there regarding some of the choices we’ve made along the way. We try not to leave anything out, so if it turns out we have, it is by no means intentionally – trust me on that.

Let’s start at the beginning.

How and What is Installed?

Nerdio Manage for AVD is installed through the Azure marketplace. There is no other way to get it. NME is an Azure application, which is 100% PaaS based, meaning no virtual machines are used.

When we or one of our partners plans an installation/configuration session, the customer will always receive our QuickStart Guide beforehand, listing a few prerequisites that need to be in place for the installation to be successful.

This includes basic things like proper permissions, subscription owner rights, disabling MFA and conditional access just for the purposes of the installation, things like that. Here I’d like to note that downloading and executing an auto generated PowerShell script is optional as well. With the PowerShell approach, disabling MFA and/or conditional access won’t be necessary. All this will take the customer around ten minutes to check and/or set up. If they have any questions, we are always here to help.

During the installation, the account will only be used once, meaning, afterwards it will no longer be needed for NME to function. It is not stored somewhere, cached, etc. In fact, if you want to use a temporary account and delete it afterwards, you can.

The installation process will create the following resources within your Azure Tenant/Subscription:

  • App Service;
  • App Service Plan;
  • Azure SQL Database;
  • Application Insights;
  • Key Vault;
  • Storage Accounts;
  • Automation Account;
  • Runbook

Of course, not all of these services are free to use. On average, we see associated costs of somewhere between 250 and 300 euros on a monthly basis. This is based on the default configuration of a B3 App Service Plan and a Standard SQL pricing tier. At the time of writing, the B3 plan was priced at 184.68 EUR/Month and the SQL tier at 25.30 EUR/Month.

The default configuration makes sure you will be able to manage tens of thousands of machines. Note that you are able to scale down these plans via the Azure Portal. Just be aware that if your environment starts to grow this might impact the responsiveness of the NME console, including any manual and automated actions performed by the platform.

Some of the other PaaS costs involved are more variable and will differ slightly on a monthly basis.  

Design Considerations

The reason we designed NME the way we did cannot be answered in one sentence. To start, security plays an important role. We believe NME to be one of the most secure solutions in the market. NME is deployed directly into the Tenant/Subscription of the end customer.

That means the application is private to the customers’ environment and no one has access to it unless they are explicitly granted access by the customer (or via their IT partner).

It being based on PaaS services also makes the platform extremely flexible. Resources can easily be scaled up and down and developing the product becomes much easier as well. And by the way, adding multiple Subscriptions as part of your Tenant is also an option.

Going forward, this will even become more flexible – keep an eye on us in the weeks to come.

Usually, after only a few weeks we see the cost of Nerdio licenses + the PaaS services mentioned being saved many times over by using our unique autoscaling engine and the ease of use our product brings to companies. We also offer various reports where these savings can be viewed over time – on a per host pool basis even.

Compute and Storage Overview

When configuring auto-scaling on a host pool, it will show you the associated minimum and maximum monthly Azure compute and storage costs. For example, when you change the machine type for an host pool – or the OS disk to go with a virtual machine – you will see the minimum and maximum amounts change. If you add or remove machines to the base host pool capacity, the pricing will change accordingly.

However, please note, this is only meant for Azure compute and storage costs, nothing more, nothing less. Going forward, this will become more granular as well.  

Of course, depending on the configuration and overall usage, your actual monthly costs will be somewhere in between the minimum and maximum amount displayed


Nerdio Manager for Enterprise can be licensed in one of two ways:

  1. Per-named user ($4/month) – maximum number of unique users assigned to AVD host pools at any given time in the past month
  2. Per-concurrent user ($6/month) – maximum number of unique users connected to AVD hosts pools at any given time in the past month

Perhaps even more interesting, if you would like to change your licensing model in between, you can! On a monthly basis even. This is configured through the “Settings” page within NME.

To make sure everyone understands how the above mechanism works, let me explain in a bit more detail.

To start, we will always advise the license model that fits our customers best, meaning the least expensive model. So, when in doubt, we will help with that.

Every month (around the 1st), our system inventories how many unique users have been assigned or connected (depending on license type, see above) to the configured AVD host pools during the last month.

This will be the number of licenses that get billed through Azure. Preferably billing will take place through one of our NME partners. If not, we will bill the customer directly.

An example:

Example named license: if at any time within a month you have a maximum of 250 users assigned to one or multiple host pools (we will de-duplicate the assignments, meaning a single user being assigned to multiple host pools will only be counted once), license costs will be $1000 (250 x $4), regardless of how many users were connected at peak.

Example concurrent license: if at any time within a month you have a maximum of 325 users connecting to one or multiple host pools (we will de-duplicate the assignments, meaning a single user connected to multiple host pools will only be counted once), license costs will be $1950 (325 x $6), regardless of how many users were assigned at peak.

The only thing that is being sent back to Nerdio is a limited amount of metering data. No usernames, session information, host names, etc.

Support and Updates

Since Nerdio Manager for Enterprise is based on various PaaS services running natively on Azure, in general, we do not get a lot of technical support questions – if Azure is online, we are too. Therefore, most questions are related to the various configuration options we offer within the product. We are available for questions via email, phone, and video, and are well known in the industry for our world-class partner and customer support.

We have a ton of online material on our Zendesk page dedicated to Nerdio Manager for Enterprise, including a bunch of KB articles explaining how to set things up as well as a whole series of videos ranging from 2 to 10 minutes, clear and easy to digest.

Of course, if one of our partners is involved during the purchase/deployment process, they will be your main point of contact, and we have their backs if/when needed.

We are an extremely agile company. We have new versions of our software coming out monthly and to say that our roadmap is impressive would be an understatement. Throughout the weeks and months, we value the feedback we get from our customers, partners, and community members. It’s something we take very seriously, which shows in our product as well

Both the software updates and support are included into our license pricing.

Monthly “Minimum”

Nerdio Manager for Enterprise has been developed with bigger enterprise sized companies in mind – the aim is around 250 users and above. That’s also how we get to a minimum amount to use our service of 1,000 dollars per month (if you think or scroll back to the licensing model of $4 per named user) that you might have read or heard about.

The overall costs of the underlying PaaS services, as highlighted earlier will be less of an issue in bigger environments with hundreds or thousands of users, instead of dozens where it will have a bigger impact on the price per user, per month.

You don’t need deep technical expertise to operate NME; not at all. Though, when it comes to AVD you still need to be familiar with the terminology and some of the underlying technical aspects of the AVD service itself. This is where smaller shops and MSPs might fall a bit short, generally speaking. Exceptions to be made, of course, and it’s always something we can talk about, please remember that. 


And there you have it. We’ve discussed the core PaaS services, which lay the foundation of Nerdio Manager for Enterprise, the license model and costs involved, we addressed the “monthly minimum”, and that’s about it. If you think we left anything out, do let us know. If you have any questions about the above, let us know as well.

Now that you have everything in one place, make sure to give us a try (and let us know) and compare us to some of the other solutions out there. Even when you add things up, we’ll still be a lot cheaper; the only solution available today that can do what we do around native AVD without locking you in, and much more agile than anyone else out there.

As always, thank you for reading.

Bas van Kaam

Nerdio Field CTO, EMEA/UK

Details & Benefits of Remote Application Pools in Microsoft Azure


Given the multitude of features available in Nerdio, one of the features that often goes underutilized is Remote Application Pools. They serve as an excellent tool to bridge the gap for customers who are hesitant to adopt full cloud-based desktop solutions but want the security and redundancy which the cloud provides. This article is designed for partners who are looking for creative ways to expand their cloud practice, while providing a low cost and highly secure solution.

Most people understand the general concept of publishing a Remote Application via application pools, but don’t know how easy and straightforward it is through Nerdio’s automation. In this article we’ll discuss the details of RemoteApp pools and their best use case to expand the scope of prospects who can utilize the benefits of having a cloud solution in Microsoft Azure.

Application pools are designed to grant users access to individual applications, rather than the full desktop experience which is common in most AVD configurations. Considering best practice in Azure environments, application pools have two practical use cases:

1. Cost Management

Due to the nature of application pools, individual users are limited to a specified number of programs defined by their administrator. This can create a cap on resource consumption depending on the programs installed. As a result, less resources per user are necessary than would typically be expected with a full published desktop. This translates into real cost savings for customers who are a little more price sensitive. It can also provide a good foot-in-the-door with customers who are hesitant to embrace this new cloud technology and don’t want to commit to full cloud desktops for each user. A good example of this would be a hospital with doctors who can’t fully appreciate the benefits of AVD desktops for each user but can understand the security benefits of having their data and applications guarded by the billion dollar security backbone built into Azure. Positioning the cloud solution from an app pool standpoint makes for a far more attractive prospect as it would significantly boost security and HIPPA compliance compared to the typical on-premises servers which might normally host their applications.

2. Cloud Gateway

As a perfect segue from the last point, application pools can be a great gateway or first step to move clients toward full cloud adoption. Due to their simplicity and ease of use, application pools are great for clients who may not be ready to fully embrace this new age of cloud-based workspaces. Remote app pools allow users to keep their behavior and habits the same, enjoying the look and feel of a local application while having the security and stability of a cloud-based solution.

Application Pool Configuration Process

With that understanding let’s look at the steps involved to configure an application pool through Nerdio.

Application pools are configured just like a standard desktop pool. First login to the Nerdio Admin Portal (NAP), select the “Servers” tab, and then “Add AVD Pool”.

Once the form opens, simply fill in the information for the name of the pool, the storage type, and the VM series. This is also where you specify a RemoteApp pool rather than a Session Desktop pool and choose the Clone Template. As you can see from the screenshot below, you do have the option to select a current pool in the environment to use as the template. This can be another session desktop pool, and if selected you’ll get the list of applications installed on that desktop pool, without the full desktop experience. 

Once you’ve confirmed the settings for the new pool, the NAP will walk through the provisioning process. After that’s complete the next step is to install the desired applications on the pool template and publish the apps that will be available for each user.

This is done easily through the Nerdio Admin Portal by navigating to the Servers tab, selecting the dropdown on the desired Pool and pushing Published Apps.

Once the apps have been published the last step is to assign users to the new pool. This is accomplished by logging into the Nerdio Admin Portal, navigating to the Users tab and then selecting the user in question. From there go to the Azure resources section and specify the Application Pool. Once you push Confirm you’re good to go. Users should receive an email with instructions to access their applications. It’s also possible to get the login info directly in the Nerdio Admin Portal by selecting the dropdown next to Reset Password for the desired user and choosing Log in to Desktop.

Final Thoughts

From a configuration standpoint, applications are installed on app pools in the same manner as they’re installed on session desktop pools. As long as the applications show up in the start menu of the template, they should be listed as available apps that can be published for users. One thing to keep in mind, Nerdio natively allows for user assignment of either an application pool or a session desktop pool. You can’t have an individual user assigned to both at the same time.

As you can see, Remote Application Pools are easy to utilize and straight forward to provision. With the familiarity that appears for the user and the ease with which a RemoteApp pool can be deployed, these pools can serve as a great tool to help encourage otherwise resistant clients to begin migrating towards a complete cloud solution.

Notes from the Field (CTO): July 2020 Edition

In this series, I want to share with you my findings, experiences, tips, tricks, wonderings, ideas, and thoughts – those from colleagues, community peers and more – on everything Azure Virtual Desktop, Azure, Microsoft, EUC, and IT related. In other words, topics will differ.

First of all, let me start by mentioning and thanking my colleagues here at Nerdio. The whole team has been amazing during my first couple of weeks after joining. Patient, thoughtful, and good fun. I’ve worked for various companies in the past; small, big, in between, startups, and established companies, however, the speed at which we operate at Nerdio is something else, for sure. Not to mention the ambition and drive that comes with it. I love it!

Companies are looking for more effective and efficient ways to operationalize Azure Virtual Desktop. 

Throughout the last couple of weeks, I have been talking to dozens of companies (and many more before joining Nerdio, of course). Obviously, one of the things that stands out is that Azure Virtual Desktop is in (very) high demand, I’m not telling you anything new. However, most organizations are looking for better and easier ways to setup, manage, and maintain AVD, which is actually one of the biggest challenges for most companies today.

There are two kinds of IT professionals.

When it comes to IT pros you roughly have two kinds; the tech savvy “I really like to dig in” kind of sysadmin, and the more all-round and laid-back (in a good way) “I don’t want to spend my free time getting to know (new) technology” kind of sysadmin.

Well, you know what I mean, right?

The latter doesn’t mind digging in a bit and to stay current in general but has no interest in going all in, all the time. He or she likes it when things are automated for them. They like to work with “to the point” graphical user interfaces – that being AVD or any other type of service/technology, like VDI in the past, for example. They’ll keep their certifications up to date, but won’t become an automation, PowerShell, or scripting guru anytime soon. It’s a job they love, it gives them fulfillment, but that’s it. And that is more than OK!   

The tech savvy sysadmin likes to deep dive whenever he or she can. They’ll probably blog about it, help others on various forums and social media, contribute to community programs, and so on – work becomes hobby, or vice versa in many cases. It isn’t for everyone; far from it, even. And that’s OK, too.

From what I’ve seen, and I’m not just talking about the last couple of weeks, the ratio between these two groups (and I know, there are more in between) is around 80/20 if favor of the less tech savvy system administrator.

This comes with a challenge.

This also imposes a challenge for companies; those who are using AVD or are thinking about doing so, and those who do not.

Most companies will have a couple of tech savvy senior system administrators employed (here the 20% of the team rule applies as well). Up to a certain point they will be able to automate and streamline deployments, script image updates, use various kinds of DevOps methodologies, and so on. They will have it running as smooth as possible, they will handle all code, templates, updates, daily management tasks, you name it.

Great, right?

However, what happens when something breaks and they are not available for some reason? Maybe they have some time off and are not reachable, they might become ill for a longer period of time, or even worse, what if they leave the company? The saying “putting all your eggs into one basket” comes to mind.

Will you educate and train other employees? And more importantly, do they want that responsibility? Doing your “job” because you are asked or told to is something completely different than when it’s born from passion, as part of your day job, if that makes sense.

What about hiring in the expertise? Sure, but they won’t know your company the way you or your former employee(s) did, they are often much more expensive, and eventually, they will leave as well. A vicious circle.

Managing IT resources, AVD or otherwise should not require “special” skills or take a longer period to learn, and I think most companies will agree (80/20 again?). If anything, it should reduce your time to market and help make you (more) money.

The goal should be to relieve certain individuals from unneeded stressful situations, spread the workload evenly across your team, do more with less, and save hours per weeks on common day-to-day management tasks, creating room for other types (more interesting, fun, or important) of tasks. Preferably, by taking advantage of cutting-edge technology supercharging your AVD deployment. Does that sound appealing? Of course it does.

Sometimes it only takes a small investment before you will be able to reap the benefits in the weeks, months, and years after – tenfold.

Operationalize AVD more efficiently.

Nerdio provides features and functionalities not found in the Azure ARM portal, including a more user-friendly way regarding AVD setup and ongoing day to day tasks. We support hundreds of companies world-wide to make use of AVD more effectively and efficiently, saving a ton on costs. From a technical (image management, autoscaling, migration, auto-deployments, configs, and more) and operational point of view.

Just think about it, wouldn’t you like to enable 80% or more of your technical staff to be able to setup and manage AVD within hours?

No steep learning curve, no single point of failure from a knowledge perspective, like “but what happens if he or she leaves the company?”, less pressure on the team as a whole; they are all able to stand in for each other, and the list goes on.  

Features in Nerdio Manager for Enterprise, when compared to the native Azure portal will be much more straightforward to work with and more intuitive, without needing to have any knowledge of the underlying Azure platform – no PowerShell, ARM/JSON, or any other form of scripting. Though, if that’s something you would like to use, or continue using next to, or on top of Nerdio Manager for Enterprise be our guest. We support it all.

But don’t take my word for it, give us a spin and you’ll see. Make sure to have a look at the Azure portal as well, to make a fair comparison.


The other great thing about Nerdio Manager for ENTERPRISE is that we offer day one support for just about anything you can think of form a AVD management perspective — we even take it one or multiple steps further. Is Microsoft about to release some form of PowerShell script, or multiple? We have it build in and fully automated for you from the day it hits GA, and that’s just one example.

Teamwork makes the dream work.

Even though Microsoft is doing an excellent job in constantly updating the AVD core services and the accompanying Azure portal, it’s still far from what most companies (sysadmins) are/were used to from a management perspective when compared to traditional VDI type deployments – and it probably won’t come close anytime soon, if at all. Which makes perfect sense; it’s a completely different approach and model.

And don’t get me wrong, the work that Microsoft is doing and the speed at which they operate and innovate is amazing and inspiring, to say the least. In fact, if it weren’t for their great work, we at Nerdio wouldn’t be able to do what we do on a daily basis. The partnership is valuable, to us, and to Microsoft as well. We are extremely happy with all the support we are getting from the various internal teams.

Microsoft continues to focus on core AVD technologies like building out their central management plane within all regions globally, the ARM based model, MSIX AppAttach, Windows 10 Entp. Multi-Session, and much more, while also slowly enhancing the management capabilities within the Azure ARM portal.

At the same time, Nerdio will keep focusing on adding additional value on top of AVD, while getting rid of the feature gap, which holds back a lot of companies from using AVD to begin with. It’s what drives us.

If you have any questions, make sure to reach out! Thank you for reading.

Bas van Kaam

Nerdio Field CTO, EMEA/UK

Nerdio Manager for Enterprise – een bundeling van unieke functionaliteiten, kosten optimalisatie, eenvoud en gebruikersvriendelijkheid

Nerdio helpt organisaties om efficiënter met hun IT middelen om te gaan, in het bijzonder als het gaat om Windows Virtual Desktop. Tegelijkertijd zorgt Nerdio ervoor dat de gebruiker (ervaring) niet uit het oog wordt verloren.

Er moeten voldoende (Cloud) resources beschikbaar zijn (en blijven) om je gebruikers tevreden te stellen maar ook weer niet te veel zodat er een groot deel ongebruikt achter blijft. Dat is zonde en kost onnodig geld, veel in de meeste gevallen. 

Kosten optimalisatie vs. de UX (user experience), een eeuwig dilemma, zo lijkt het. Nerdio Manager for Enterprise biedt uitkomst. 

Altijd de juiste hoeveelheid resources beschikbaar

Niet te veel of te weinig met alle ruimte als het gaat om eigen inzicht, tijdschema’s en wat betreft de agressiviteit (High, Medium, Low) rondom het auto-schaal mechanisme – hiermee worden de onderliggende virtuele machines op basis van configureerbare logica automatisch uit en aan gezet wanneer de vraag hiernaar af, of juist toeneemt.

Op deze manier verbreden we de, over het algemeen fijne lijn tussen het tevreden houden van je gebruikers en het besparen op kosten. 

Je kunt namelijk kiezen hoe je het aan wilt pakken. 

Wil je alleen ongebruikte/lege machines uitzetten? Machines met de minste hoeveelheid actieve of inactieve sessies? Gebruikers een notificatie sturen en ze daarna (proberen) uit (te) loggen om vervolgens verder te gaan met het uitzetten van machines? 

Of misschien wil je wel koste wat het kost ervoor zorgen dat je machines, bijvoorbeeld snachts uit staan en het afsluiten forceren? Op een bepaald tijdstip, op een bepaalde dag een bepaalde hoeveelheid machines aan hebben staan? Een combinatie van al het bovenstaande? 

Geen probleem. Dit en meer is mogelijk. 

Unieke functionaliteiten en simpliciteit

Het mooie aan Nerdio Manager for Enterprise is ook dat er verschillende functionaliteiten worden geboden die nergens anders te vinden zijn. Nerdio maakt het gebruik, onderhoud, de configuratie en opzet van Windows Virtual Desktop heel erg eenvoudig. Geen PowerShell, templates (JSON), scripts of andere zaken. Alles is verpakt binnen een strak ontworpen grafische gebruiker interface. 

Bang dat bepaalde kennis je organisatie verlaat, of dat deze kennis tijdelijk niet beschikbaar is? Dat is verleden tijd. 

Ons Image Management mechanisme – het up to date houden en aanpassen van je onderliggende machines (denk bijvoorbeeld aan het installeren en aanpassen van applicaties, het toepassen van beveiligings patches etc.) is een ander goed voorbeeld van eenvoud en simpliciteit. Aan dit proces gaat over het algemeen veel tijd verloren.

Alles is duidelijk weergegeven en makkelijk te vinden, een kwestie van een aantal vinkjes hier en daar, een update (tijd) schema kiezen en Nerdio doet de rest. Ook hier staat gebruikers gemak voorop en zorgt Nerdio ervoor dat de complexiteit wordt verborgen. Met andere woorden, ook hier wordt op uren en dus kosten bespaard. 

Overigens, mocht je om wat voor reden dan ook wel gebruik willen maken van bijvoorbeeld PowerShell, het Azure portaal of een van de ander genoemde mogelijkheden, dan kan dat natuurlijk. Nerdio Manager for Enterprise veranderd niets aan het onderliggende product of architectuur. 

Hand in hand met Microsoft, maar toch altijd een paar passen voor 

Dit alles lukt ons alleen maar door de nauwe samenwerking (gecertificeerd AVD partner) met Microsoft. Bijna wekelijks spreken onze ontwikkel teams met die van Microsoft en al vanaf dag 1 zijn we betrokken bij de ontwikkelingen van AVD – sinds de eerste berichtgevingen rondom RDMI een aantal jaar gelden. Er worden ideeën uitgewisseld, roadmap items besproken en vooral van elkaar geleerd. 

Zonder het geweldige werk wat Microsoft levert rondom AVD en aanverwante Azure diensten zouden wij niet kunnen leveren wat wij vandaag de dag leveren.

Een perfecte samenwerking welke ons in staat stelt om 100% te focussen op het gemak van de AVD beheerder, het optimalieren van het AVD platform en het toevoegen van enterprise ready functionaliteiten. 

“We verbergen de complexiteit, voegen een grote mate van efficiëntie toe en zorgen ervoor dat vrijwel iedere ICT Medewerker binnen je organisatie met AVD uit de voeten kan. Binnen enkele uren ben je “up and running” en loggen je eerste medewerkers/collega’s in op een volledig werkende AVD omgeving.”


Wat ook goed is om te weten is dat bestaande AVD omgevingen eenvoudig door onze oplossing worden op/overgenomen, een kwestie van minuten. Je hoeft dus niet opnieuw te beginnen, het mag natuurlijk wel. 

Migreren van de AVD Fall release naar de laatste Spring update, inclusief al je onderliggende virtuele systemen? Zodra Microsoft het “teken” geeft stellen wij het beschikbaar (100% grafisch en geautomatiseerd uiteraard). Je kunt trouwens ook de Fall en Spring versies tegelijkertijd vanuit onze interface bedienen, mocht je dat willen. Het hybride AVD Object Model noemen we dat. 

Gebruiker Profielen, data, FSLogix, Azure Files, Monitoring, en nog heel veel meer, het is allemaal aanwezig, volledig geautomatiseerd geïnstalleerd en geconfigureerd met slechts enkele klikken van de muis.

Wil je ook Windows Virtual Desktop gaan gebruiken op de meest efficiënte manier denkbaar? Besparen op Azure kosten, onderhoud en personeel zodat ze zich meer kunnen richten op het leukere, en misschien wel belangrijkere werk? 

Laat het me weten en we plannen wat tijd in.

Dank voor het lezen en tot snel. 

Bas van Kaam

Nerdio Field CTO, EMEA/UK