Azure (Windows) Virtual Desktop

The Ultimate Guide to Azure Virtual Desktop

What is Azure Virtual Desktop?

Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) launched in 2019, under the name Windows Virtual Desktop. It is an evolution of Microsoft’s remote desktop services (RDS) technology. An Azure-only service, AVD consists of four primary innovations over traditional Remote Desktop Server (RDS) methods:  

  • Windows 10 Multi-user Operating System – This allows multiple concurrent users to use a single Azure virtual machine as a desktop. Prior to AVD, this was only possible with the Windows Server operating system.
  • User Profiles – These are handled independently of the virtual machine that serves the user’s desktop. These profiles are placed in containers and the containers are stored separately from the desktop VM in Azure. This is enabled by FSLogix technology that Microsoft acquired in 2018.
  • Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) Offering – A new PaaS offering contains the management and connection broker functionality for AVD and is the service that determines which users end upon which Azure virtual machine when they connect. 
  • Licensing for AVD — Licensing has been drastically simplified. AVD rights are included at no additional charge with multiple Windows 10 subscriptions including Microsoft 365 and Windows 10 Enterprise.

In June 2021, Microsoft launched Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) as a way to refocus Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) branding with their vision of the future of desktop virtualization. By switching out “Windows” with “Azure,” the name hopes to clarify some things. You can read more about the 2021 name change and changes to the service here.

As you can tell from our brief overview – AVD is the natural evolution of desktops into a cloud-based service. Originally, organizations used PCs from hardware manufacturers using perpetual software OS licenses from Microsoft. Then, Microsoft developed and sold server OS licensing that evolved into Azure-based resources. The result with AVD is Microsoft now delivers a complete enterprise solution all the way to the end-user. This seamless all-in-one experience is extremely robust, scalable, reliable, and secure.

In order to set up AVD, there are a few requirements you must meet such as applicable licensing for users based on your chosen apps, infrastructure and user components and virtual machine standards.

Read more about Azure Virtual Desktop frequently asked questions here.

Azure Virtual Desktop vs. Windows 365

Both Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) and Windows 365 (W365) are virtual desktop solutions from Microsoft. Their differences span across their architecture features, overall IT admin experience, end-user experience, license and infrastructure costs, and their pricing models.

Check out this in-depth guide on the differences between Azure Virtual Desktop and Windows 365.

So, how do you choose between the two? It all depends on your unique business needs and work styles. AVD can be used across all business types and sizes but there are a few scenarios where Windows 365 may be a better fit for you. Check out our recommendations on when to use the Business edition of Windows 365 vs AVD. These include organizations that are only utilizing a handful of desktops, have no current or planned Azure footprint, have no previous experience in desktop virtualization, have an investment in Microsoft Endpoint Manager, need personalized desktops/local admin rights, or need 24/7 access to desktops. Overall, AVD allows for much greater flexibility and cost optimization, but it does require technical expertise and in-depth Azure knowledge without an optimization or management tool.  Add-on platforms, such as Nerdio Manager, can make managing both AVD and Windows 365 extremely simple and also eliminates the need for an experienced Azure engineer on staff.

Learn more about Nerdio Manager here.

How much does Azure Virtual Desktop Cost?

Figuring out the cost of running a virtual desktop environment in Azure can be difficult. Before diving into the costs of Azure Virtual Desktop, it is important to understand Microsoft Azure’s consumption-based pricing model. This is common among public cloud providers. If you do not properly optimize your Azure infrastructure, your monthly Azure bill can be unpredictable and higher than your budget allows.

The cost of Azure Virtual Desktop is broken down into three parts: software licensing, AVD Management services, and Azure infrastructure costs. You can purchase Azure services directly through the Azure website,  an Azure sales specialist, a CSP distributor or a Microsoft Partner.

There are five main categories that make up Azure Virtual Desktop costs. These include compute (70%, OS disks storage (12%), FSLogix storage (9%), Networking (3%), and Other (6%). There are various strategies you can implement to save money on the Azure list price and optimize usage.

It’s important to understand the difference between pay-as-you-go (PAYG) pricing and reserved instances for the best possible method of optimizing your Azure costs. You can read more about reserved instances here.  For more information on reducing Azure Virtual Desktop costs. Check out this article.

If you are interested in how much Azure or Azure Virtual Desktop will cost your organization, try Nerdio’s free Cost Estimator tool that uses a simple, wizard-driven way to easily estimate your costs for running an IT environment in Azure that is broken down by user per month.

What License is Needed for Azure Virtual Desktop?

AVD is an entitlement of a Windows 10 subscription license. This license can be purchased as part of Microsoft 365 Business/E3/E5/A3/A5 or as a standalone subscription. If you already own one of these licenses there is no additional cost to use AVD from a software perspective. 

You will need to purchase the Azure infrastructure necessary to deploy and manage any AVD environment. These costs can be decreased by leveraging Azure Reserved Instances, Windows 10 multi-session, or a solution that optimizes and reduces Azure computing and storage costs such as Nerdio Manager

Learn more about Azure Virtual Desktop licenses here and check out our article detailing Nerdio license structure and costs.

Benefits of Using Azure Virtual Desktop

When it comes to equipping end users with the desktops, apps and devices they need to be most productive and empowered – Azure Virtual Desktop is the best, most cost-effective, flexible option on the market. Leveraging leading Microsoft technologies and the powerful Azure cloud, the Azure Virtual Desktop service is secure, resilient and managed by Microsoft.

It provides a plethora of benefits. From optimizing or reducing hardware investments to streamlining application management and helping organizations reduce costs and resources through Microsoft-owned software and pooled, multi-session resources – AVD has it all!

Compounding these benefits is the increased market demand and even employee demand for Microsoft technologies that are well-known and well-adopted across managed services, enterprises and SMB businesses. Users already love Microsoft Teams, the Microsoft 365 suite and many are accustomed to using a Windows desktop. AVD delivers all of these, securely and at scale. It is becoming a powerful tool for organizations’ remote work, cloud and employee experience initiatives.

Schedule a demo to see Azure Virtual Desktop in action.

How Do I Add Users to Microsoft Azure and Azure Virtual Desktop?

Users can be added natively through the Azure portal or streamlined through Nerdio Manager. Our solution allows you to easily see and manage all users including completing tasks like assigning users to groups or desktops, shadowing user sessions to resolve an issue, resetting passwords, or assigning Microsoft 365 licenses. Read more about adding users to Azure and AVD in this article.

Natively adding users to Microsoft Azure and Azure Virtual Desktop can be done through the Azure portal.  You will also need to configure the appropriate amount of host pools, session hosts, workspaces, app groups, user groups and access policies for your organization’s needs.

Learn more about Azure terminology here.

Once users are assigned to the appropriate host pool, desktop and groups, admins can attach FSLogix profiles or MSIX App Attach and assign users roles based on the Azure Virtual Desktop delegated access model. Once users have been assigned to their app groups, they can connect to an AVD deployment with any AVD client such as Windows 10, Windows 11, Android, macOS, etc.

Click here for a free downloadable guide on all Microsoft Azure terminology.

How Do I Log Into Azure Virtual Desktop for the First Time?

Microsoft provides the gateway and broker services for Azure Virtual Desktops. They have also compiled “how-to” guides for connecting each client type to AVD that you can find here.  But regardless of how simple Microsoft has made connecting to AVD, MSPs and enterprise IT pros alike will undoubtedly still be asked, “How do I log into my AVD desktop?” by end users they support.

Setting up the AVD client for login is easy and quick and can be completed in a minimal number of steps. All authentication occurs via your organization’s Microsoft tenant without any need to provide consent or accept permissions. 

Learn more about the two most common ways end users will be connecting to AVD in this article.

How to Troubleshoot Performance in Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) Environments

Because of various system components and the underlying deployment architecture, AVD environments can often be challenging to fix when it comes to improving the service’s performance for your end users. It is extremely important to provide an optimal user experience. In fact, poor or inconsistent performance is by far the most common reason virtual desktop projects fail, regardless of the deployment size.

There are four main culprits when it comes to hindering AVD performance:

1. CPU

2. RAM

3. Disk

4. Network

Diagnosing CPU and RAM-related performance issues can be done through free, native Azure tools like Windows Resource Monitor and Windows Task Manager. For tangible advice and a practical approach to troubleshoot performance in AVD, visit our technical deep dive on the subject.

Azure Virtual Desktop Management

Ongoing management of Azure Virtual Desktop environments involves understanding and using all of the Azure services AVD runs on as well as elements like image and storage management, host pool creation and maintenance, updating security permissions, and much more. If you do not use a management solution like Nerdio Manager, you will manage everything directly through the Azure portal.

Azure Virtual Desktop is the only VDI service available that offers Windows 10/11 enterprise multi-session capabilities for centralized management. This allows companies to pool their virtual machines and host pools to reduce the number of resources needed along with their Azure costs. It also allows for easier management of desktops in Azure because group and user policies can be applied, and app groups and images can be updated at scale.

Nerdio Manager allows MSPs and Enterprise IT professionals to easily deploy and manage Azure Virtual Desktop environments in just a few clicks and in one centralized management platform. Schedule a demo and see it in action.

To master or improve your AVD management skills, check out our certification programs. Subscribe to our newsletter so you don’t miss any new content or announcements!

Think Azure Virtual Desktop is right for you? Check out this definitive guide.

8 Reasons to Move Your Data to an Azure Data Center

If you are a Managed Service Provider (MSP) with a focus on managing hosted infrastructure, then you’ve likely invested in creating a data center of your own in a colocation facility.  Such data center deployments can be fun to create and historically have been able to provide significant margin advantages when pricing and selling managed infrastructure services at scale. 

With significant technology and pricing changes due to the emergence of public cloud in recent years, it is time to evaluate if maintaining and investing in your current data center is still the best option for your business.  Microsoft is making significant investments in driving partner adoption of Azure with programs like Data Center Optimization (DCO).

If you have not yet explored the pros and cons of an Azure data center migration, here are eight reasons why you should consider making the switch.   

1. Hardware Refresh 

Private data center deployments are typically a CapEx investment for an MSP, which is capitalized and then depreciated over the course of the useful life of the equipment.  With warranties on most equipment like SANs and blade servers of 4-5 years, depreciating even sizable investments over 60 months creates a very attractive cost structure on the P&L– until the time comes to refresh the equipment. 

When the initial investment is made into compute, storage, and networking equipment, everything is brand new and performing well.  As the equipment ages and reaches the end of its useful life, it becomes less reliable with frequent component failures that can affect the production environment.  Replacing equipment is not only a significant CapEx (cash) outlay, but the complexity of doing so in a non-disruptive way is quite high.   

When you first deployed your data center, you were doing a greenfield deployment with maybe a handful of customers.  You now have tens, hundreds, or even thousands of customers relying on the equipment that you need to replace, and the longer you wait, the more you risk an outage — which can create high customer dissatisfaction.  Even if the equipment is operating reliably, the risk of having your SAN or blade chassis be out of manufacturer’s warranty is high risk.  If a component fails and you can’t get a replacement quickly, that could spell disaster for your customers. 

With Azure, the equipment backing your deployment is owned by Microsoft.  Microsoft owns the responsibility for the hardware stack, therefore any failures are theirs to fix.  You will no longer have to worry about wholesale hardware refresh cycles once you make the switch to Azure.  Hardware refresh cycles are painful and migrating to an Azure data center can make them a thing of the past.   

2. The Cost Structure and the Average Fixed Cost (vs. Marginal Cost) Fallacy – Azure Data Center

Initially, an efficient data center deployment’s long depreciation period of 60 months can create a cost structure that appears an order of magnitude better than a comparable deployment in Azure.  However, this advantage is only superficial.  Logic would dictate that Microsoft’s hyper-scale data centers should provide them with significant economies-of-scale cost benefits.  You can argue and say that although Microsoft does have a much better cost structure on the infrastructure than you do, they may not decide to pass the savings onto the customer. Or that they will only seek to capture it as their own gross margin and make more money on Azure.   

Don’t forget, though, that Microsoft has large and aggressive competitors in the public cloud space (Amazon, Google, and IBM, to name a few) and they are all in a land-grab for as much market share as possible.  They are not necessarily in margin-optimization mode today and price-parity (providers matching each other’s pricing) is the rule rather than the exception.  If so, it would stand to reason that if Microsoft’s infrastructure margins are thin due to competition, their prices would be as good or better than what a smaller scale MSP can achieve on cost with their own data center.  So, why does it seem like your data center cost structure is better than Microsoft’s Azure prices? 

The answer comes down to two main things:  

  1. Comparing CapEx costs that are depreciated over a long period with Azure’s Pay-As-You-go list prices
  2. Confusing average fixed costs with marginal costs 

CapEx costs vs. Azure’s Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) list prices 

Let’s take compute as an example.  You can buy a Dell PowerEdge M630 server blade with two E5-2698 V4 processors (40 hyper-threaded cores each) and 768GB of RAM for $20K.  This doesn’t take the blade chassis, network switch, power, and hosting infrastructure into account.  Let’s add another 20% for that.  That increases it to $24K all-in, which is $300 per hyper-threaded core with 9.6GB of RAM per core.  That’s a $300/core upfront cash outlay that gets depreciated over 60 months and comes out to $5 per core per month (this does not take cost of capital cash flow discounting into account, which would make the cost a bit higher).  

Azure doesn’t even come close when looking at their Pay-As-You-Go pricing.  The closest comparable VM is a F72sv2, which has 72 CPU cores and 576GB of RAM with a PAYG list price of $4,651/month – that $65 per core per month!  Not even in the same ballpark. 

However, consider the fact that the cost of your Dell PE M630 does not include any OS licensing and you’re making a five-year commitment by purchasing it upfront.  It’s not accurate to compare this to Azure’s PAYG prices, which include the Windows Server OS license for 72 cores and the option of turning the VM off to stop paying for it at any time you wish.  A more accurate comparison would be to the price of the same Azure VM but with a 3-year Reserved Instance and Azure Hybrid Usage enabled (a licensing program from Microsoft that includes the Windows Server OS license).  The cost then drops down to $806/month or $11 per core per month — still double the cost of the Dell server option –but we’re not done yet. 

If you’re a Direct CSP then you get a 5% discount on Azure Reserved Instances (RI).  There is currently a global RI incentive in place of an additional 10%.  There is also a global accelerator rebate of 8% on Azure consumption, a 2% rebate on new Azure customer adds, and special programs like DCO (Data Center Optimization) which can add an additional 20%.  Your starting price of $11/core/month minus 45% in discounts and rebates bring it down to $6/month.  Getting closer. 

Average fixed cost (AFC) vs. Marginal cost (MC) 

Although this is a simple Economics 101 concept, for ease of analysis we often ignore its significant effect on properly understanding the true cost structure.  Average Fixed Cost (AFC) means simply taking the total fixed cost (Dell PE M630 for $24k, in this example) and calculating its average cost over the course of 60 months.  On average the server will cost you $5/core/month regardless of whether it’s used or not.  If you fill it up with billable customer workloads, it will cost you $5/core/month.  If it sits idle with no revenue generating workloads, it will still cost you $5/core/month.   

Marginal Cost (MC), on the other hand, is only incurred if you have the customer demand to justify spending the money.  With Azure, if you have no customers, then your marginal cost will be $0.  If you have a small number of customers, you can buy any size VM that supports that size workload and then upgrade as needed.  This is true even if you’re reserving Azure capacity for three years given the ability to exchange reservations at no charge.   

Why does this matter?  It’s very tempting to calculate the AFC of a piece of hardware by dividing the cost into the number of months it’s going to be used.  But this doesn’t consider that you won’t fill up every piece of hardware you purchase on day one that it is purchased.  Not only that, but you’ll never fill your hardware to 100% capacity even if customer demand is there because you want to have redundancy in case of failure and you want to leave some spare capacity for peak demand.  How does this change the math?   

Let’s assume you decide that you won’t utilize the server at 100% but rather will keep it below 70% for redundancy and peak demand reasons.  You’re also expecting to build up this utilization evenly over time.  In month 1, you’ll start out with 0% utilization and at the end of month 60 you’ll be at your peak 70% utilization.  This means that the average utilization over the 60 months is 35%.  With this new piece of data, we need to reassess our cost comparison between Azure’s $6/core/month cost vs. the Dell server $5/cost/month where we assume 100% utilization throughout the 60-month life of the server.  Since our actual utilization is 35% on average and we use Azure’s flexible VM sizing to perfectly fit this utilization, we end up with Azure’s per-CPU cost being about $2/core/month, which is significantly lower than the Dell M630 alternative. 

Similar analysis can be applied to other infrastructure components such as storage and bandwidth.  Not every analysis will produce such a cost advantage for Azure, but compute is a significant cost component and typically tilts the analysis in Azure’s favor. 

With Azureyou get to take advantage of public cloud’s flexibility to closely match the capacity you purchase with the demand from your customers.  By leveraging reserved instances and not renting the Windows Server OS via Azure (more on this below), you can achieve a clear cost advantage at a much lower scale than you can with a private data center. 

3. Microsoft Owns the Software & Azure Data Center

Microsoft owns the foundational software components of a hosted IT stack, assuming you live in a Windows world.  They own Windows Server, SQL Server, Windows 10, and much more.  It would stand to reason that Microsoft would use their control over the software stack components to make Azure more cost effective than the alternatives.  Remember, today it’s a market share play with Azure trying to grab as much of the market as it possibly can knowing that once a workload is in Azure it’s unlikely to move.  Microsoft leverages Windows Server and SQL Server (as an example), which have $0 marginal cost to the company being pure software, to position Azure as the cloud of choice. 

Let’s see an example of how this works. 

If you run Windows Server on your data center hardware, you’re likely using SPLA to license Windows Server Datacenter Edition on a per-core basis.  You’re paying about $28/month for a 2-core license just for the Windows Server OS.  That’s two physical cores and assuming hyper-threading you’re paying about $7/month per hyper-threaded core.  With Azure Hybrid Usage and Software Subscriptions via CSP you can purchase an 8-core Windows Server OS license for $14/month with a 36 month pre-payment.  That’s less than $2/month per core as compared to $7.  A big cost advantage. 

Microsoft is doing many other things to make Azure the best platform for your workloads.  Do you currently have Windows Server 2008 or SQL Server 2008 in your environment?  If so, support is ending, and no more security updates will be provided, leaving customers exposed to hackers and malware.  You have three options: rebuild your Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 environments with the latest versions to get updates, pay for extended security updates, or migrate the servers to Azure as they are and get an additional three years of updates for free!  Another compelling reason to not spend the money on doing Windows Server OS and SQL upgrade work on premises, but rather lift-and-shift the VMs to Azure. 

4. Azure Data Center Global Footprint and Redundancy 

Your data center is unlikely to have a global footprint and certainly not anything close to Microsoft’s 54+ global regions.  If your current customers are geographically distributed or even if you want to replicate data across data centers in the same country, a local data center strategy is not optimal.  Operating a centralized data center leads to unnecessary latency and performance degradation for users who are far away and building and maintaining distributed data centers becomes very expensive quickly. There is no question Microsoft will continue to increase their data center footprint to include more regions and availability zones and they will do so faster than any MSP can ever hope to do with their own data center resources. 

5. Market Demand – Azure Data Center

Study after study shows that as cloud acceptance increases, organizations become more and more comfortable moving their IT into the cloud.  Whereas a few years ago the market had privacy and security concerns when it came to the public cloud and instead preferred smaller, private deployments, this is no longer the case.  The market is predominantly shifting towards a consumption based, hyper-scale public cloud model and more and more customers are asking for a specific cloud by name.  As time goes on, it will become difficult to justify running IT workloads in a private data center rather than in a world-class, always up-to-date, secure, and fully certified public cloud like Microsoft Azure. 

There will always be niche use-cases for non-public cloud deployments in certain industries and regulated verticals.  However, these will become more of an exception than the rule. 

6. The “Bus Test” 

If you’re like most MSPs who operate a data center, then you have a “guy” or a “few guys” or maybe you are “the guy” who knows the deployment inside and out.  Any major issue must be escalated to this person and he or she is the ultimate technical guru when it comes to your data center.  The question is does it pass the “bus test”?  Can your business survive if this individual would get figuratively hit by a bus — or more likely find another job?  Is this a risk to your business you can tolerate?  For some, the risk is acceptable, for others who are thinking of continuity, succession, and building long-term business value, it is not.   

With Azure, your customers will be using a world-class platform which is well known and understood throughout the IT industry.  There are plenty of training courses and certification tracks with more being added each day.  An Azure data center deployment can be supported by people other than your “guy.”  It may not be easy to find this talent and today it is not cheap, but it’s certainly possible and less risky. 

7. Who’s to Blame? 

Few things are more stressful to an MSP owner than a widespread data center outage that is affecting customers’ ability to conduct business.  When this happens, the rest of your company grinds to a halt, blood pressure rises, and all attention is immediately diverted to resolving the outage.  Once resolved, there are scores of customers to talk to about what happened, apologize for the situation, and communicate a plan of how this won’t happen again.  Outages can be mitigated with proper setup, maintenance, and redundancy, but it is not possible to completely eliminate them.  Even Microsoft and Amazon, who invest billions into their data centers, experience outages.  When an outage does happen, do you want the stress of solving the problem and dealing with the fallout?   

With Azure, outages are rare, but they do happen.  When they happen there is nothing for you to do, no bridge call to set up with all of your engineers, no RCA to write, and really no one blames you for it.   There is no negativity that accrues to your company. Azure outages are publicly visible and usually high profile.  It is unfortunate when they happen but not having to deal with the consequences of your own data center outage is priceless. 

8. Management and Control Plane 

Most data center deployments consist of a combination of technologies loosely coupled together.  There typically isn’t a common management interface for all the pieces.  Virtual machines may be managed in one portal, SAN in another, and network switches in yet another.  Since managing most of the components requires specialized knowledge of unique technologies, there are typically very few engineers at an MSP who are given the keys to make changes.  This often leads to a bottleneck scenario where all routine changes (e.g. creating a new VM or setting up a VPN) must be escalated to a handful of already busy engineers instead of being done by lower-skilled resources. 

With Azure, you can use IT automation tools like Nerdio to simplify the management of the underlying infrastructure through an easy-to-use, single-pane-of-glass portal that can be delegated down to the help desk technician level for basic IT administration tasks without the need to expose admin access to the underlying infrastructure. 


There are many compelling reasons to consider moving your data center to Azure.  The timing may not always be right such as if you’ve recently built out or refreshed your data center equipment you may want to wait until it depreciates for some time.  When you do decide to make the switch, be sure to leave yourself with enough time to architect the proper solution, understand the cost implications, and create a gradual migration plan.  Six to twelve months is a good time frame to budget for a sizable migration project. The secular trend of public cloud computing, however, is not something coming down the road—it is here today—and it is important for every MSP to understand the benefits and implications of moving to the public cloud. 

At Nerdio, we enable MSPs with technology and resources to build successful cloud practices in Azure. Our Partner Solutions team has extensive experience helping MSPs evaluate and execute transitions from private data centers to Azure.

Understanding Azure VDI Costs

The number one reason why many businesses consider switching over to a desktop-as-a-service model has to do with the immediate cost savings they get to enjoy on the technological assets they depend on so heavily each day. In fact, part of the reason why DaaS works so well is because it frees an organization from the restrictions of physical hardware assets in the first place.

When you buy a computer for your office today, it can (and likely will) grow out of date as soon as six months from now. As time drags on, it will continue to get slower, and more issues will develop. Soon, it won’t be able to do what you need it to do anymore, and you’ll either have to invest money in upgrades or buy an entirely new computer in the first place. Multiply these costs by dozens of employees, and you can see what a significant restriction this really is.

But even beyond simply investing in desktop hardware, you also have to think about the purchasing and licensing of servers, the purchasing and licensing of applications, the money that you’re losing literally every day to the depreciation of assets, etc. To say that all of these costs can quickly add up is something of a dramatic understatement.

Azure VDI Pricing Explained

With desktop-as-a-service, on the other hand, these costs evaporate. Your ability to run your mission-critical applications is no longer dependent on the quality of the computer you’re using — it’s dependent on the speed of your internet connection, instead. Desktop-as-a-service resources are usually delivered as a cloud service, right along with all of the apps needed for use on your virtual desktop infrastructure.

Hardware Costs

This means that you’ll be able to use your existing hardware assets for significantly longer periods of time, decreasing your total cost of ownership across the board. Every time a new version of one of your enterprise applications is released, you won’t have to worry about all the features that will “break” because you’re trying to run that program on a five-year-old computer. At that point, the computer itself is totally irrelevant.

Operational Costs

As all of these costs disappear, along with additional expenses like powering, cooling and hosting your own infrastructure, it should come as a surprise to absolutely nobody that using IT support services like desktop-as-a-service can save the average business up to 50 percent of operational costs within five years of adoption.

You get all of this in exchange for what is typically a fixed monthly fee that is easy to scale up and down at will. If you bring on new employees to account for seasonal fluctuations, you don’t have to worry about buying new hardware — you can make a single call to your DaaS vendor, and everything will be taken care of.

You have access to the latest technology at all times, allowing you to miss fewer opportunities and take advantage of the ones that do present themselves as quickly as possible. With one relatively simple switch, you’ve cemented your competitive advantage in your industry for a decade.

For many, these reasons alone make the switch to a desktop-as-a-service infrastructure more than worth it. But it’s also important to understand that there are many other ways in which DaaS can save an organization money, too — particularly in the long term. These are factors that many people don’t necessarily think about, but that doesn’t make them any less important.

The Long-term Costs of VDI

One of the biggest ways in which desktop-as-a-service can save an organization money in the long term ultimately comes down to a single word: productivity. DaaS isn’t just about freeing an organization from the restrictions of hardware in terms of total cost of ownership — because resources are being served up over the internet, users can essentially access the same “machine” from any device or location on planet Earth with an active internet connection.

This means that if one of your employees is halfway around the world on vacation but suddenly needs to contribute to a major project, productivity doesn’t have to grind to a halt while you wait for them to return. Provided that they’ve got internet access, they can be just as productive while they’re sitting in an airport lounge waiting for their flight to take off as they can be in front of the computer in their office. This is because the physical computer itself no longer matters — only the tasks that you can complete with those resources matter, and now you can do them anywhere.

Work from anywhere

This segues nicely into another one of the major advantages of the desktop-as-a-service model: a strengthened sense of business continuity. If your physical workplace suffers some type of catastrophe like a fire, you don’t have to worry about all of the progress that was lost on every project you were working on just because your computers are now damaged beyond repair.

While this will be a challenge to overcome on an organizational level to be sure, desktop-as-a-service offers both centralized data backup and ubiquitous desktop availability in one package — meaning that as far as work is concerned, you can pick back up from anywhere without skipping a beat. Your employees could work from home if they needed to while leadership gets everything else sorted out.

Get the most from your team

The desktop-as-a-service model also has a number of important implications in terms of not just how your employees are able to work, but what they’re actually doing in the first place. Take your own in-house IT team, for example. Because technology is such a fundamental part of your organization, your IT employees are essentially the backbone of everything you’ve already worked so hard to build. With a conventional computing model, the majority of their time is monopolized in reactionary ways. Something breaks, they fix it. Hardware grows out of date; they update it. Applications need patched, they patch them. Rinse, repeat.

The problem is that the people who are largely responsible for your organization’s major competitive advantage are stuck “spinning their wheels,” so to speak. The majority of their attention is devoted to preserving the status quo, not making sure that technology is aligned with your long-term business objectives. With the DaaS model, all of the above tasks — from updates to maintenance and everything in between — are all handled instantly by a vendor. Suddenly, your IT staff has an infinitely larger amount of time each day to devote their attention to other, more proactive matters that deserve it the most.

Security cost savings with Azure VDI

But perhaps one of the biggest advantages of the desktop-as-a-service model ultimately comes down to not the expenses that it saves your organization, but from the costs it helps prevent you from having to endure: namely, those related to cybersecurity.

According to a study conducted by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by IBM Security, the average total cost of a single data breach came in at an astounding $3.62 million in 2017. This number breaks down to approximately $141 per stolen or otherwise compromised records. Many people fail to realize that oftentimes these breaches are not the product of a team of hackers sitting in a lab somewhere, working tirelessly to penetrate computer systems from afar. They’re the result of people taking advantage of weak, outdated, and otherwise vulnerable software and hardware.

When the developer of a piece of software you’re using for your enterprise issues an update, it’s always important to download and install it as quickly as possible. These updates don’t just add new features — they also patch security holes, fix bugs and address other exploits that people use to execute these types of breaches in the first place. Understanding that this is important is only half the battle — you (or more specifically, your IT team) actually has to do something about it. But under a traditional hardware model, making sure that absolutely everything is patched and updated at all times can be an uphill battle to say the least.

Thankfully, this is not something that you have to worry about with the DaaS model. Because all of your assets are being served up in an “on-demand” capacity over the internet, you and your team have access to the latest versions of everything from drivers to productivity suites at all times. All updates — along with patches, preventative and proactive maintenance — are handled by the third-party vendor of your choosing. You don’t have to worry about whether or not you and your team were updated the next time you read about a massive data breach in the newspaper — you’ll know beyond the shadow of a doubt.

Azure VDI is Here to Stay

Regardless of how you choose to look at it, the desktop-as-a-service model makes a great deal of sense for small- and medium-sized businesses in particular for a wide range of different reasons. For many, the immediate cost savings that come along with freeing themselves from the dependency of hardware resources will more than make up for the initial investment. But the long-term implications — namely the instant boost in productivity you can receive and the cybersecurity-related benefits in particular — make DaaS a step that is more than worth taking.

Nerdio Manager for MSP: The Evolution of the MSP Opportunity

Having founded a managed service provider (MSP) and leading it for 15 years prior to starting Nerdio, I can’t recall a more opportune time to be in managed services. The need and market demand for what MSPs do to help customers hasn’t been more obvious than it is today given the need for organizations to stay productive from anywhere.  

As technology is becoming more mission critical for all organizations, the overall complexity is growing rapidly. The pace of change is mind boggling. And it is difficult to keep up with even for those of us whose job it is to stay current. Add to this cybersecurity, work from anywhere challenges, and cloud migrations – and it becomes clear that MSPs have a lot of work to do and value to deliver. 

To deliver this value and capture the opportunity, however, MSPs must evolve their skills and approach. Selling, installing, and managing on-premises hardware will no longer cut it. MSPs must build skills and tech intensity in areas of cloud, security, desktop virtualization and other work-from-anywhere technologies. 

Here at Nerdio, we are at the forefront of helping MSPs evolve and take advantage of this tremendous market potential. In continuing our mission to empower MSPs with the tools, education, expertise, and services to build a thriving cloud practice in Microsoft Azure – we are pleased to share a diverse range of new product and channel partner investments we believe strengthen our value-add and commitment to MSPs.  

Nerdio Manager for MSP Product Evolution + New Features

In the last 12 months, Nerdio Manager for MSP saw 15 new releases with 180 new features. These were all derived from direct partner feedback. When a customer or partner of ours requests a feature, more often than not it will be in the next month’s product release. Not next year—next month.  

We have no intention of slowing down and I’m thrilled to announce some of the exciting things you can expect to see from Nerdio this year.  

Microsoft Endpoint Manager – Full Integration

To enable MSPs to adopt cloud-first technologies, we are expanding Nerdio Manager for MSP via new, full integration with Microsoft Endpoint Manager (MEM). We see MEM becoming a critical tool in any MSP’s toolbox as they build and support IT infrastructure for customers in a cloud-first world. And we are excited the integration will allow MSPs to streamline management of physical devices, virtual desktops in Azure, and Cloud PCs.  

The initial integration with MEM will allow service providers to accomplish the following in Nerdio Manager for MSP. You can read more via our press release.

  • Manage all endpoints centrally, including those in Azure Virtual Desktop or Windows 365 as well as physical desktops and mobile devices.  
  • Install and manage all types of applications on physical and virtual desktops via Intune.  
  • Apply policies and baselines to ensure endpoint compliance.  
  • Leverage endpoint analytics to monitor and improve performance and user experience.  
  • Provide remote assistance to users with Remote help capabilities. 

Expanded Application Management Capabilities

Nerdio Manager for MSP already has robust application management capabilities for virtual desktops with powerful image management automation and scripted actions. Now even more app management capabilities are coming to the product that allow MSPs to:  

  • Manage already installed apps on multi-session AVD desktops leveraging FSLogix App Masking technology. All installed apps will be automatically discovered and MSPs will be able to select which apps are available to which users – all from within the Nerdio Manager console in a simple and intuitive way. 
  • Install and manage all types of apps on physical and virtual desktops via Intune integration. 

Pricing and Cost Management

In a cloud-first world, costs feel elastic. They change too often for our comfort. The cloud charges are based on consumption, but customers don’t like surprise bills, often leaving MSPs caught in the middle.  

We understand costs and margins are extremely important to MSPs. Helping you increase margins by being more efficient is an integral part of Nerdio’s mission. To that end, we’ll continue enhancing our products to help MSPs optimize costs by: 

  • Comparing a deployed environment to a saved estimate of what was quoted to the customer and seeing the differences highlighted. This will help you be aware of any discrepancies that exist and adjust customer pricing, if needed.  
  • Pre-scheduling shut down of resources that shouldn’t be running when not in use. For example, shut down desktop image VMs (virtual machines) after you’re done working with them automatically. 
  • Receiving warnings and notifications if unused resources, like desktop images, are running when they shouldn’t be so you can proactively stop the not needed resources and save on Azure costs. 
  • Leveraging Windows 365 Enterprise license optimizations to only assign a license to users who actually request to log into a new Cloud PC and automatically reclaim an unused license after a long period of user inactivity. 

Integrations and Support for New Microsoft Features  

Lastly, keeping up with Microsoft and the IT industry can be more than a full-time job. We make it simpler for you by staying on top of the relevant changes, both big and small, by building them into our products. Here are some notable examples you’ll see this year:  

  • New Commerce Experience (NCE) changes reflected in our free Cost Estimator tool  
  • Integration with the new Windows 365 Business APIs 
  • Windows 365 Enterprise Azure AD Join support 
  • Support for new Ephemeral OS disk types 

Introducing New Channel Partner Programs + Events

In addition to the notable product investments we’re making this year, we’ll be launching three new strategic programs to help partners accelerate their Azure practices quicker and achieve more. 

To provide you with a resource to ask technical, business, or go-to-market questions in a live format, we’ll be launching a weekly “Office Hours” call. You and your staff will be able to drop in to ask questions, hear the latest and greatest updates from Nerdio, or interact with peers at other MSPs. 

To help you feel technically confident in migrating all your customers to Azure with Nerdio, we’ll be launching a program that will provide our Platinum Partnerd partners access to Nerdio’s top engineering experts who will work in collaboration with Microsoft support to help with unforeseen Azure, Active Directory, AVD, or Azure AD issues. 

Nerdio’s thriving partner ecosystem spans time zones and skill sets. We will help facilitate partner-to-partner engagement by vetting and certifying MSPs and freelancers who will be available to help other partners with a needed skill set, higher level of Azure or Nerdio expertise, or just an extra pair of hands. 

We have also ramped up our first-party events and are pleased to share two new ones!  

Nerdio CEO Summit  

Just last month, we launched our CEO Summit series where we invited the CEOs of MSPs to Chicago to spend time with me and members of my leadership team in an interactive discussion dealing with the hardest topics MSPs face in building a successful cloud practice in Azure. We are running these 1-2 times a month for 10-12 leaders running an MSP. Contact us today if you’re interested in attending. The next dates will be March 31, May 5 and May 26.

Nerdio Training Camp  

Nerdio AVD Training Camp is another new initiative where we are going to be coming to a city near you to do a one-day deep technical training on Nerdio Manager, Azure Virtual Desktop, and Windows 365. You and your technical staff will not want to miss this so stay tuned for details on when and where stops are planned. The first one will be taking place on April 6th in Philadelphia.  

Reaching Two Million Users Under Management

We launched Nerdio Manager for MSP one year ago and it went into General Availability 10 months ago. In the past 10 months, more than a thousand MSPs from around the world migrated thousands of customers to Azure and AVD and hundreds of new MSPs are joining us every month.  

Last September, we announced that across all our products we reached one million users under management, which seemed like an almost impossible milestone to reach. It is surreal that today I get to announce that this month we crossed two million users under management. And there is no sign of this slowing down!  

There are now Nerdio partners and customers in more than 40 countries. If you’d like to become part of our quickly growing partner community and boost your Azure practice, contact our team today to get the conversation started. 

Nerdio Manager for MSP Case Study: Infoware


Learn how Infoware, a Managed Service Provider, used Nerdio Manager to help their clients make an immediate migration to Azure Virtual Desktop. 

About Infoware

Infoware is a Managed Service Provider (MSP) that works with law firms and professional services. Infoware designs and delivers innovative template management and document automation software that helps law firms create and manage documents faster and easier. Over tens of thousands of users have worked with Infoware for over three decades in countries all over the world. 

The Situation 

Since COVID-19, Infoware has seen an increased demand for remote, flexible, and agile environments that provide good performance. 

Infoware first looked for a solution that could help them migrate their clients from their on-premises workspace to a virtual desktop in early 2021. Many of their clients’ offices closed because of COVID-19 and they needed immediate access to a work-from-home environment. 

A couple of Infoware’s clients were using the cloud-based virtual desktop provider, CloudJumper, but those servers weren’t prepared to handle the large load of logins from remote workers. As a result, Infoware’s clients experienced performance issues that impacted their ability to do their job successfully from home.

The Solution

Infoware’s CEO reached out to online MSP peer groups and asked for recommendations for platforms that could help Infoware move clients to Azure — Nerdio came highly recommended. 

Infoware has since migrated four clients and has plans to migrate two more. The implementations they’ve completed have been a mix of clients who migrated from an on-premises server to the cloud and others who were already on the cloud, where Infoware migrated them to Microsoft Azure. 

Nerdio Manager’s platform created a stable environment that allowed Infoware’s clients to use Azure consistently without any performance issues. 

The Results

Nerdio Manager provides Infoware with simplified controls and the ability to spread management tasks across their team and support cloud-based clients. Infoware can create a standardized environment across all clients and this has made the troubleshooting process more efficient 

“Nerdio’s platform is so easy to use that other technical people on their small team can manage it.” 

One of the biggest benefits for Infoware has been that they don’t have to put their most senior technical people to the task of managing Azure anymore because Nerdio’s platform is so easy to use that other technical people on their small team can manage it. 

For example, Nerdio’s support for file handle unlocking for Azure file share frees up higher-level technical resources from having to troubleshoot every time. Golden image management is simplified through automation, and it reduces the likelihood of human error. Another benefit is that automating restarts and golden image updates can be done quickly through scheduling.


Find Nerdio in the Azure Marketplace: nerdio. co/nmm


New Features in Nerdio Manager for Enterprise Version 3.5 

Gearing up for our biggest MSP and partner event of the year has been a big focus here at Nerdio but that hasn’t stopped us from developing a whole new slew of product features in our enterprise product Nerdio Manager for Enterprise.  

Version 3.5 brings many new capabilities to enterprise IT professionals operating environments in Azure Virtual Desktop and Windows 365. We’ve highlighted a few of our favorite features below that help improve provisioning and allow enterprise IT pros to further leverage our powerful scripted actions

Azure DevOps Repositories 

This new feature allows admins to synchronize scripted actions with Azure DevOps repositories. They’re able to use favorite tools, like Visual Studio Code, to edit and maintain scripted actions with all of the power of Azure DevOps workflows, versioning, and so much more. Not only does this save time but scripted actions are automatically synchronized with Azure DevOps repositories. Any changes take effect immediately without the need for configuration changes to be made in Nerdio Manager. 

Azure Files AAD Join

Admins can create new Azure Files shares and automatically join them to Azure AD with this new feature. AAD-joined file shares can be used to host FSLogix profiles and used with AAD-joined session hosts to simplify ongoing management of AVD and Windows 365.  

Windows 365 Enterprise AAD Join 

Provision Cloud PCs without on-premises AD domain controllers with Windows 365 Enterprise AAD Join. Both customer-managed and Microsoft-managed VNets are supported. This enables Cloud PCs to be provisioned faster and they will join Azure AD automatically. 

Modify User Assignment on Personal Desktops

This feature admins can now easily assign, un-assign, or change the assigned user on personal desktop VMs.  

For the full list of new features (16!) and enhancements please head to our enterprise Knowledge Base site’s Release Notes page

NerdioCon Nerd Icon: Neil McLoughlin, Nerdio

It’s hard to believe this year’s NerdioCon event will be well underway at this time next week. We can’t wait to see those who will join us in gorgeous Cancun, Mexico. We’ve prepared a jam-packed agenda full of insightful and educational content to help MSPs level up their businesses in 2022! 

Until then, we are happy to showcase our next Nerd Icon who will be presenting a breakout session at this year’s conference – Nerdio’s own Field Chief Technical Officer in the UK, Neil McLoughlin! Learn more about Neil and what he’ll be speaking about next week in our quick + fun interview below. 

What has your career journey been like and how did you come to be in your current role?   

  • My career journey has been pretty traditional – I skipped university to start my career in IT, and my first job was performing a Windows 3.11 to Windows NT4.0 migration (I am showing my age here!). From there, I have had various roles over the years. I went from help desk to desktop support to server support and then eventually ended up in the VDI space which I loved as it involved both server and desktop technologies. I spent around 10 years in the on-prem Citrix consulting space before making the switch to Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) around the same time it was released. I spent 12 months on various consulting engagements deploying AVD environments and quickly heard about and saw the power of Nerdio. I am quite active in the VDI/EUC community, so I was very vocal about how awesome Nerdio was… and the rest is history! They approached me to be the UK Field CTO and help expand their market in the UK. It’s the best decision I ever made! 

Can you share more about what you will be speaking about at NerdioCon 2022 and why the topic(s) is so relevant for partners right now?  

  • I will be talking about image management at NerdioCon 2022! It’s something that MSPs really struggle when doing it natively within Azure and it is something that Nerdio makes so easy, quick and painless. Image management is a key component of any deployment as it defines  security and user experience so it’s something which you need to get right.  

What is one trend impacting MSPs you think will be an even bigger focus / topic this year?   

  • I think Azure AD and MEM/Intune are going to have a huge impact this year. For the first time ever, we can now fully deploy an Azure Virtual Desktop workload where we don’t need any server infrastructure whatsoever. This enables us to deploy quicker, cheaper, and be a lot more flexible in our deployments. It’s also something which Microsoft is heavily investing in, so I am looking forward to seeing where it goes.  

Where can our audiences find + follow you on social? 

Eager to learn more or plan your conference stay? Check out the full NerdioCon 2022 agenda, speaker list, and sponsor lineup at ahead of the event commencing Monday, February 21st.  

NerdioCon Nerd Icon: Will Ominsky, Nerdio 

NerdioCon Nerd Icon Will Ominsky, Nerdio

NerdioCon 2022 is less than two weeks away! We are buzzing with excitement and can’t wait to be on-site in Cancun with all of our MSP partners and attendees, sponsors and phenomenal speakers.  

To give you a sneak peek of what you can expect at the conference, we created the Nerdio Icon blog series highlighting our amazing speakers or “icons” as we like to say. These are the people who talk the talk and walk the walk when it comes to understanding managed services, IT and the technology and business needs of MSPs. This week, we sat down with Will Ominsky Senior Director, MSP Sales here at Nerdio to learn more about Will and what he’ll be sharing at the conference. 

What has your career journey been like and how did you come to be in your current role?   

I started my technology career at a copier company and played a role in improving our branch from one of the worst performing into one of the top three nationally. I began to realize the IT side of copiers is what I loved most and was fortunate enough to land a role at a sizeable, forward-thinking managed service provider (MSP). After five years and an acquisition, I decided to try the other side of the channel where I joined a startup focused on helping MSPs adopt cloud computing through virtual desktops. This is where I really ignited my passion for both virtual desktop technology and educating MSPs about the benefits of the cloud.  

I found my career home (as I like to call it) at Nerdio about 2.5 years ago when I was hired as a Partner Sales Executive and given the chance to apply and grow my Azure, AVD and VDI expertise. I worked my way up in our sales organization and now lead our MSP sales team. Today I get to spend my days not only helping MSPs adopt one of the largest growth areas in technology (Azure), but shaping our company, developing new programs and events, and educating the MSP ecosystem.   

Can you share more about what you will be speaking about at NerdioCon 2022 and why the topic is so relevant for partners right now? 

MSPs are adopting Azure at a record pace, but often we find they are overpaying and not taking advantage of many included features available to them. In my session, I will focus on how to price and architect end customer computing (EUC) environments at the lowest possible cost to provide the best results for both the MSP and their customers.  

What is one trend impacting MSPs you think will be an even bigger focus / topic this year? 

Security, security, security! There is no question security is going to continue being a focus for MSPs in 2022 and beyond. Cloud computing will continue to be at the forefront of how MSPs can achieve security and control for their customers big and small.   

Thanks, Will! Where can our audiences find + follow you on social? 

Follow and connect with me on LinkedIn!  

We look forward to seeing you all at NerdioCon being held February 21-23, 2022, in Cancun, Mexico. Event registration closes tomorrow, Thursday, February 10th, so save your spot at!  

The Year Ahead: 4 IT Trends Converging on Growing Interest in Virtual Desktops

4 IT Trends Converging on Virtual Desktop Interest

IT teams have had a challenging time these past few years implementing and maintaining secure remote access at scale while serving the rapidly changing needs of the in-office, remote and hybrid workforces. With more hybrid work models now than ever, remote access to company applications and data has become essential to each employee and is extremely important to the organization’s operations and overall success.  

Companies who have not adopted virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) or Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) to address the above needs may very likely still be considering it. Interest in it has increased, with Gartner’s latest projection forecasting that the number of users for DaaS will grow by over 150% between 2020 and 2023.  

We continue to see four IT trends that bring VDI and its relevance back to the forefront of conversations around how to enable remote work, digital transformation and cloud initiatives. These are detailed below in addition to the perspective on the outlook for VDI as a whole and important considerations for widespread adoption.  

Growing Acceptance of DaaS 

Although it’s been suffering from a prolonged love-hate relationship, we will see even more IT professionals and teams embrace desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) for its scalability. As we learned through the transition to remote and hybrid work environments, on-premises desktop virtualization is very difficult to scale and remains inflexible. Cloud-based DaaS empowers organizations with all the tools and capabilities they need to provide hybrid work for employees due to its infinite scalability and low price point. 

Employee User Experience Takes Center Stage 

The prioritization of workplace flexibility and the expansion of hybrid work models has led to more work being conducted remotely than ever before. Therefore, the delivery of a seamless and consistent user experience (e.g. performance) is paramount in an organization’s success in 2022. How can this be accomplished? Enterprises will transition to a cloud-based desktop virtualization where proactively solving end-user experience problems with various tools will be vital as IT staffing and skills shortages continue. 

Unified User and Device Management (through Microsoft)  

Due to the proliferation and sheer amount of endpoints organizations have to manage, many IT teams seek out ways to bring more order amongst the chaos. The solution? Microsoft Endpoint Manager (Intune) and MSIX App Attach. As more organizations seek a simple yet powerful endpoint management solution for their various devices and cloud PCs, Microsoft Endpoint Manager will continue to flourish. 

Security Fears Persist 

Increased remote work brings concerns about home networks and unprotected endpoints releasing unvetted data into the corporate network. Other nefarious technologies like keyloggers and network sniffers could be running externally and be perceived as a threat to the organization if introduced to the network from work-from-home employees.  

Security best practices, like Zero Trust, proper backup and disaster recovery planning and MFA, will help assuage these concerns. Another way to protect important corporate data would be through cloud-based desktop virtualization as it can reduce the surface area of attack and give IT administrators full control of the data and prevent leakage to user’s personal devices. 

This is Just the Beginning 

I’m incredibly excited about the year ahead and the momentum we’re seeing behind desktop virtualization. Nevertheless, there will be obstacles facing more widespread virtualization adoption including cost, deployment fears, and security threats. 

  • Cost Concerns – In order to make virtual desktops in the cloud the norm, we must address cost. Utility pricing with the public cloud will make VDI more intriguing to enterprises with highly skilled, technical staff to manage and optimize it. Tools that can precisely match user demands to infrastructure consumption to take advantage of this utility pricing model will be critical to spur mass market adoption. 
  • Deployment Fears – To address deployment fears, systems integrators with end user computing (EUC) will continue to be important in the adoption of desktop virtualization in 2022. Systems integrators will help bridge the gap of market need and technical complexity as this technology requires specialized skills to deploy and manage. In time, more automated tools for deployment, management and optimization will be in place to grow the market further and reduce complexity for remote work capabilities. 
  • Security Threats – Lastly, it will be important for all IT teams to operationalize access control and best security practices at the endpoint device level. Managing end-user devices in work-from-home (WFH) environments will continue to be a challenge while security exposure is high and performance is difficult to monitor and maintain. Luckily, moving the processing and data to the cloud with desktop virtualization is going to be one of the solutions. 

Curious about discussing the trends above and how they may impact your organization or virtual desktop needs in 2022? Our team is just as enthusiastic as I am in empowering desktop virtualization in Azure and our experts are always happy to connect! 

Nerdio Manager for Enterprise Certification: Improve Your Microsoft Azure Knowledge & Skills

NME-200 Certification Badge

Deepen + Demonstrate Your Microsoft Azure & Azure Virtual Desktop Technical Acumen with Our NEW Enterprise Certification and Curriculum (NME-200 for IT Professionals) 

Back in November we launched our certification program for Nerdio Manager for Enterprise that allows IT professionals to show off their Nerdio and Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) skills by passing the NME-200 exam. This 200-level exam is geared towards technical users of NME and catered specifically for those working in an enterprise environment or at one of our many systems integrators (SIs) or end user computing (EUC) partners.  

Today, we are happy to release an incredibly in-depth curriculum in support of the exam! This provides the complete package for IT pros and admins looking to get certified. Below are details around what the exam entails and other need-to-knows about the NME-200 certification.  

What Does the NME-200 Certification Exam Entail?   

Our newly launched curriculum for the NME-200 Certification Exam is intended to give you a comprehensive understanding of Nerdio Manager and the supporting cast of technologies required to run a smooth Azure Virtual Desktop and/or Windows 365-based virtual desktop environment in Microsoft Azure. 

The test focuses on the technical configuration and tasks you can, and will, need to execute when deploying, managing, and optimizing AVD and Windows 365. It’s intended to challenge users’ retention of the critical concepts, features, and methods needed to succeed with Nerdio Manager and Microsoft’s desktop virtualization technologies.  

The curriculum material emphasizes and explains the “how to” behind all of the topics covered in the exam. Even if users are not ready to get certified, the curriculum itself is a valuable technical training package for any technical user in Azure. It is available at this site. You can read the material online, or if you prefer to make notes and read offline, a PDF is available as well. 

Aside from the Curriculum, What Do I Need to Know Before Taking the NME-200 Exam?

Individuals taking the exam will have 45 minutes to answer 60 questions and must achieve a passing score of 80% or above. The exam fee is $80 and you are allowed one free retest if you do not achieve the certification on the first attempt. To achieve certification in one try, we highly recommend reviewing the curriculum in detail and getting some hands-on experience with Nerdio Manager prior to taking the exam. 

How Do I Register to Get Certified?  

Here is a direct link to the exam page. You can also visit our Enterprise Certifications page where you’ll need to scroll down and click the “Get Certified” button to start the process.  

To find the Enterprise Certifications page manually on the website, look for the ‘For Partners’ tab found at the top of the website (picture below), hover over the tab and select “Get Certified.” Additionally, you can find a direct link to the exam page here.

Best of luck to everyone pursuing the NME-200 certification! Please direct any feedback or questions about the curriculum or exam to