Organizational Scalability and Flexibility: Azure Virtual Desktop vs Windows 365

In the dynamic realm of digital workspaces, IT professionals are confronted with the complex task of selecting the optimal virtualization solution that meets the stringent requirements of their organizations. As the paradigm of remote work continues to gain momentum, the demand for highly scalable and flexible solutions has become paramount. Microsoft, a leading player in the technology landscape, offers two powerful contenders in this space: Azure Virtual Desktop and Windows 365. While both solutions stem from the same tech giant, they exhibit distinct characteristics and functionalities that warrant a thorough examination to determine which best aligns with the intricate needs of IT departments and organizations at large.

Azure Virtual Desktop and Windows 365

Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) and Windows 365 are two robust virtualization solutions offered by Microsoft that empower IT teams to streamline their operations, enhance productivity, and deliver a seamless user experience. While they share the common goal of enabling remote work and providing scalable, cloud-based virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), they differ in their approach and functionality.

Azure Virtual Desktop, formerly known as Windows Virtual Desktop, is a cloud-based service that allows IT teams to deliver virtualized applications and desktops to end users. It harnesses the power of Microsoft Azure, providing a highly scalable and flexible solution. IT teams can create and manage virtual machines (VMs) in the cloud, easily provisioning and deprovisioning resources based on organizational needs. This scalability ensures optimal resource utilization and enables IT administrators to efficiently manage and support a growing workforce. Azure Virtual Desktop also offers enhanced security features, including built-in Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) integration and the ability to leverage Azure security services like the Microsoft Defender suite and Azure Sentinel for security, threat protection, ensuring data and user privacy.

Windows 365, on the other hand, takes a user-centric approach to virtualization. It provides a personalized Windows experience from the cloud, allowing IT teams to deliver a full Windows desktop environment to end users. With Windows 365, employees can access their familiar Windows applications, settings, and data from any device with an internet connection. This flexibility empowers IT teams to support a remote workforce seamlessly, enabling employees to work from anywhere without compromising productivity or security. IT administrators can easily manage and enforce security policies, ensuring data protection across all endpoints. Windows 365 also offers simplified deployment and management through the use of Microsoft Intune, making it easier for IT teams to configure and maintain virtual desktop environments.

Both Azure Virtual Desktop and Windows 365 provide IT teams with the tools and capabilities to centralize management, improve security, and streamline user access to resources. By leveraging these virtualization solutions, IT teams can enhance productivity, reduce infrastructure costs, and effectively support the evolving needs of remote workforces. Whether it’s the scalability and integrations of Azure Virtual Desktop or the user-centric and device-agnostic approach of Windows 365, IT teams have powerful solutions at their disposal to deliver efficient and secure virtual desktop experiences to their organizations.

Azure Virtual Desktop: Key Features and Benefits

Azure Virtual Desktop offers a range of benefits for organizations and IT teams. Firstly, it provides unparalleled scalability, allowing businesses to easily accommodate a growing workforce or fluctuating demands. With the ability to provision and deprovision virtual machines on-demand, IT teams can optimize resource utilization and ensure efficient performance for end-users.

Additionally, Azure Virtual Desktop leverages the robust infrastructure of Microsoft Azure, offering high availability and reliability for virtual desktop environments. It also integrates seamlessly with other Azure services, enabling organizations to leverage the full potential of the Azure ecosystem for enhanced security, management, and compliance.

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and Azure Virtual Desktop

Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) is a comprehensive VDI solution offered by Microsoft. It leverages the power of Microsoft’s Azure cloud infrastructure to deliver virtualized desktops and applications to end users. AVD builds on the core principles of VDI, offering a range of benefits and functionalities that enhance the virtual desktop experience.

With AVD, organizations can achieve unparalleled scalability as it leverages the elastic nature of the Azure cloud. IT teams can easily scale up or down the number of virtual machines based on user demand, ensuring optimal resource utilization and cost-efficiency. The ability to provision and deprovision virtual machines on-demand enables IT administrators to adapt quickly to changing business needs and accommodate a growing workforce.

One of the key advantages of AVD is its integration with other Azure services. Organizations can leverage Azure Active Directory for robust identity and access management, ensuring secure user authentication and authorization. AVD also seamlessly integrates with Azure Security Center, enabling advanced threat protection and ensuring compliance with security standards.

AVD provides a consistent and high-performance user experience across devices and locations. End-users can securely access their virtual desktops and applications from any device with an internet connection. This flexibility empowers employees to work remotely, increasing productivity and enabling business continuity. IT teams can centrally manage and configure virtual desktop images, ensuring a standardized and efficient deployment process.

Azure Virtual Desktop for Business Scalability

As a cloud-based VDI solution, AVD provides numerous benefits for businesses seeking scalability:

  1. Elastic Resource Allocation: AVD leverages the scalability of the Azure cloud to dynamically allocate computing resources based on demand. This scalability allows businesses to easily scale up or down the number of virtual machines to accommodate changing workloads or workforce size. IT teams can provision additional virtual desktops quickly during peak periods and deprovision them when they are no longer needed, optimizing resource utilization and cost-efficiency.
  2. Global Reach: AVD’s integration with Azure enables businesses to deploy virtual desktops in multiple regions around the world. This global reach allows organizations to provide a consistent and reliable virtual desktop experience to their employees, regardless of their physical location. IT teams can scale their infrastructure to different regions as their business expands or as the need arises, ensuring that remote workers have access to the resources they require.
  3. On-Demand Provisioning: AVD simplifies the process of provisioning virtual desktops, empowering IT teams to rapidly respond to business needs. IT administrators can quickly create and deploy new virtual machines as required, reducing the time and effort needed for traditional hardware setup and configuration. This on-demand provisioning capability enables businesses to scale their desktop infrastructure efficiently, supporting new employees or project teams without delays.
  4. Seamless Integration with Azure Services: AVD’s integration with other Azure services enhances business scalability by providing a unified ecosystem. Organizations can leverage Azure Active Directory for streamlined identity and access management, ensuring secure user authentication and authorization. Additionally, AVD seamlessly integrates with Azure Security Center, enabling advanced threat protection and compliance monitoring. These integrated services enhance scalability by providing a robust and scalable security framework that can grow alongside the organization.
  5. Cost-Effectiveness: AVD’s scalability also contributes to cost-effectiveness for businesses. By utilizing Azure’s pay-as-you-go pricing model, organizations can scale their virtual desktop infrastructure according to their needs, optimizing cost efficiency. Businesses only pay for the computing resources they consume, eliminating the need for upfront hardware investments. This flexibility allows businesses to align their costs with actual usage, making AVD a scalable and cost-effective solution.

Windows 365: Key Features and Benefits

Windows 365 is a cutting-edge virtualization solution offered by Microsoft that brings the power and familiarity of the Windows operating system to the cloud. Designed specifically for businesses, Windows 365 provides a seamless and secure Windows desktop experience that can be accessed from any device with an internet connection.

IT users will appreciate the key features of Windows 365, including simplified deployment and management through Microsoft Endpoint Manager. This allows for centralized control and configuration of virtual desktop environments, making it easier to set up and maintain a consistent user experience.

Another notable feature is the device-agnostic nature of Windows 365, enabling employees to access their personalized Windows desktop from various devices, such as laptops, tablets, or thin clients. This flexibility empowers organizations to support a remote workforce effectively, as employees can easily transition between devices without any compromise in productivity.

Windows 365 also offers robust security measures, including built-in multi-factor authentication and data protection features, ensuring that sensitive business information remains secure. With Windows 365, businesses can streamline their IT operations, provide a consistent Windows experience to users, enhance security, and embrace the benefits of cloud-based virtualization.

Windows 365 Cloud PC Platform

Windows 365 Cloud PC is a revolutionary cloud-based virtualization solution offered by Microsoft. It delivers a personalized Windows desktop experience to users from the cloud, enabling businesses to empower their workforce with secure and flexible remote access. With Windows 365 Cloud PC, employees can access their familiar Windows desktop, applications, and data from any device with an internet connection. This innovative solution provides numerous benefits for businesses, including simplified management, enhanced security, and improved productivity.

Key features of Windows 365 Cloud PC for businesses include:

  1. Seamless Deployment and Management: Windows 365 Cloud PC simplifies the deployment and management of virtual desktop environments through Microsoft Endpoint Manager. IT administrators can easily provision, configure, and update virtual machines, ensuring a consistent and streamlined user experience across the organization.
  2. Device Agnostic Accessibility: Windows 365 Cloud PC enables users to access their virtual Windows desktops from a wide range of devices, including laptops, tablets, and even low-powered devices like thin clients. This device agnosticism allows employees to work from anywhere, on their preferred devices, without compromising productivity.
  3. Robust Security: Windows 365 Cloud PC incorporates robust security measures to protect sensitive business data. It offers built-in multi-factor authentication, ensuring that only authorized users can access virtual desktops. Additionally, data remains secure within the cloud environment, minimizing the risk of data breaches and providing peace of mind to businesses.
  4. Scalable Performance: Windows 365 Cloud PC provides scalable performance options to meet the specific needs of different users within an organization. IT teams can allocate computing resources based on individual requirements, ensuring optimal performance and productivity for all users.
  5. Enhanced Collaboration: With Windows 365 Cloud PC, employees can collaborate seamlessly using familiar Windows applications and tools. The cloud-based nature of the solution enables real-time collaboration and file sharing, fostering teamwork and productivity.
  6. Business Continuity: Windows 365 Cloud PC ensures business continuity by providing employees with uninterrupted access to their virtual desktops, even in the event of hardware failures or disruptions. Users can quickly resume work from any device, minimizing downtime and maximizing productivity.

Windows 365 and Streamlined VDI Experiences

Simplified Deployment: Windows 365 eliminates the complexities of setting up and configuring VDI infrastructure. With Windows 365, businesses can quickly provision virtual desktops directly from the cloud without the need for extensive hardware and infrastructure setup. This streamlined deployment process saves time and resources, allowing IT teams to focus on other critical tasks.

Centralized Management: Windows 365 leverages Microsoft Intune for centralized management of virtual desktop environments. IT administrators can easily configure and customize virtual machines, set up security policies, manage user access and permissions, and deploy updates and patches, all from a single console. This centralized management approach simplifies administration, ensuring consistent configurations across all virtual desktops.

Automatic Updates and Patching: Windows 365 automates the process of updates and patching for virtual desktops. Microsoft takes care of deploying necessary security updates and feature enhancements in the backend, reducing the burden on IT teams. This ensures that virtual desktops are always up-to-date, secure, and compliant, without requiring manual intervention from administrators.

Scalability and Performance Optimization: Windows 365 provides scalable performance options tailored to meet the specific needs of different users within an organization. IT teams can allocate computing resources, such as CPU, memory, and storage, based on user requirements, ensuring optimal performance and productivity. This flexibility allows businesses to efficiently scale up or down their VDI as needed.

Seamless User Experience: Windows 365 delivers a consistent and familiar Windows desktop experience to end-users, regardless of the device they are using. Whether accessing virtual desktops from a laptop, tablet, or thin client, users will have access to their personalized desktop environment, applications, and data. This seamless user experience enhances productivity and simplifies the transition between different devices.

Robust Security and Compliance: Windows 365 incorporates robust security features to protect business data and ensure compliance. It provides built-in multi-factor authentication to authenticate users, minimizing the risk of unauthorized access. Additionally, data remains secure within the cloud environment, safeguarded by Microsoft’s comprehensive security infrastructure, including encryption and threat protection measures.

Azure Virtual Desktop vs Windows 365

Azure Virtual Desktop and Windows 365 are both virtualization solutions offered by Microsoft, but they differ in several key aspects. AVD is a cloud-based service that allows organizations to create and manage virtual desktops in the Azure cloud. It offers scalability, flexibility, and the ability to deliver virtualized applications and desktops to remote users. On the other hand, Windows 365 is a cloud-based service that delivers a complete Windows desktop experience from the cloud. It provides a personalized Windows desktop that can be accessed from any device with an internet connection.

Windows 365 simplifies deployment and management through Microsoft Endpoint Manager and offers device-agnostic accessibility. While AVD provides more flexibility in terms of customizability and application delivery, Windows 365 offers a user-centric approach with a seamless and consistent Windows experience across devices. Ultimately, the choice between the two depends on the specific needs and priorities of the organization, whether it’s scalability and customization with AVD or a user-centric, device-agnostic experience with Windows 365.

AVD vs Windows 365: Scalability Factors

The differences between Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) in terms of scalability factors are as follows:

Windows 365

  • User-based Scalability: Windows 365 is designed to scale based on the number of users. Organizations can easily add or remove users from the service, allowing for flexible scalability to match workforce changes.
  • Performance Levels: Windows 365 offers different performance levels that organizations can select based on user requirements. This scalability feature enables businesses to allocate the appropriate computing resources, such as CPU, memory, and storage, to ensure optimal performance for different user groups.
  • Device-agnostic Scalability: Windows 365 allows users to access their virtual desktops from various devices, including laptops, tablets, and thin clients. This device-agnostic approach offers scalability in terms of accommodating different device types and user preferences.

Azure Virtual Desktop

  • Infrastructure-based Scalability: AVD is built on the scalable infrastructure of Microsoft Azure. Organizations can easily scale up or down the number of virtual machines (VMs) based on demand. This allows businesses to meet fluctuating workload requirements and accommodate a growing number of users.
  • Resource Allocation: AVD provides scalability in terms of resource allocation. IT teams can provision and deprovision virtual machines as needed, ensuring efficient utilization of computing resources and cost optimization.
  • Application-level Scalability: AVD offers the flexibility to deliver virtualized applications in addition to virtual desktops. This allows organizations to scale application delivery based on specific user needs, ensuring efficient resource allocation and responsiveness.

AVD vs Windows 365: Cost Implications

The cost implications for Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) can vary based on different factors. Here are the key considerations for each solution:

Windows 365

  • User-based Pricing: Windows 365 follows a user-based pricing model, where organizations pay for each user accessing the service. The cost is typically determined by the selected performance level and storage capacity for each user.
  • Inclusive Services: Windows 365 includes the underlying infrastructure costs, management tools, and security features in the pricing. This simplifies cost calculations as organizations do not need to separately consider Azure infrastructure costs.

Azure Virtual Desktop

  • Infrastructure Costs: AVD pricing involves considerations for the underlying Azure infrastructure, including virtual machines, storage, and networking resources. Organizations are billed for the compute and storage resources consumed by virtual machines.
  • Azure Service Usage: AVD pricing may include additional costs for utilizing Azure services such as Azure Active Directory, Azure Security Center, and Azure Monitor. The specific services utilized and their pricing models can impact the overall cost.
  • Software Licensing: AVD is included in existing E3, E5 enterprise license agreements used by most businesses. It allows for Windows 10 and Windows 11 multi-session, which allows multiple concurrent users to use a single Azure VM for their desktop needs. Windows multi-session can be used to reduce operational costs. Organizations need to consider licensing costs for the Windows operating system, as well as any additional software licenses required for applications deployed within AVD. These licensing costs are separate from the AVD infrastructure costs.

It’s important to note that the specific cost implications for both solutions can vary depending on factors such as the number of users, the desired performance levels, the storage capacity required, and the usage of additional Azure services. Organizations should carefully evaluate their specific requirements and consider the associated costs to make an informed decision between Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop.

Choosing the Right VDI Solution for Your Organization: AVD or Windows 365

Choosing the right solution between Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) and Windows 365 for a large business that requires robust virtual desktop management requires careful consideration of specific requirements and priorities.

AVD offers extensive customization options, scalability, and the ability to deliver virtualized applications. It may be the preferred choice for businesses seeking more control over their virtual desktop infrastructure and applications.

On the other hand, Windows 365 provides a user-centric experience, device-agnostic accessibility, and simplified management through Microsoft Endpoint Manager. It suits organizations prioritizing a seamless and consistent Windows experience across devices.

Evaluating factors such as scalability needs, customization requirements, management preferences, user experience expectations, and cost considerations will help guide the decision-making process. Ultimately, understanding the unique needs of the business and aligning them with the features and capabilities of both solutions will enable the selection of the most suitable virtual desktop management solution.

Microsoft (M365) vs. Office (O365): Licensing Explained

The Microsoft 365 (M365) and Office 365 (O365) licensing options can be confusing, especially when it comes to understanding the differences between the two. Both M365 and O365 offer a suite of productivity tools, but the licensing models, features, and pricing structures vary between the two. In this blog post, I will provide a comprehensive comparison of M365 vs. O365 licensing options, including a breakdown of the different plans, features, and pricing structures. Whether you are a small business owner or an enterprise IT manager, this guide will help you make an informed decision when selecting the right licensing option for your organization.

Windows 365 Introduction

With the increasing shift towards cloud-based computing, Microsoft has introduced two new cloud-based offerings for businesses and organizations: Windows 365 and Microsoft 365. While both products are aimed at enhancing productivity, they differ significantly in their scope, features, and intended use cases. See our updated posts on Windows 365.

The first step most Managed Service Providers (MSPs) take to move their customer’s business to the cloud is with Office 365—the cloud productivity suite from Microsoft.  Microsoft currently offers two main plans for its cloud productivity services: Office 365 and Microsoft 365.

In this article, we will explain the differences and help you understand when to choose one over the other when building a cloud practice.

1. Microsoft Licensing: Office 365 (O365)

Of the two types of plans, this one is the most popular. Office 365 is the traditional cloud productivity suite that comprises of common Microsoft Office applications like Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Most of these plans offer hosted Microsoft Exchange mailboxes along with various “add-ons” that add increased security and compliance for stand-alone office applications such as Project. The Office 365 suite is divided into two main categories: Office 365 Business and Office 365 Enterprise.

Office 365 Business

Business plans include Essential, Business, and Business Premium. These plans are a great low-cost way to provide key Office 365 services to clients with minimal needs. However, there are a few limitations to these plans which are important to note. For example, Office 365 Business does not include Shared Computer Activation (SCA) for Office products. This means that you cannot use Business plans with a Remote Desktop Environment (RDS) in Azure.

Office 365 Enterprise

Office 365 Enterprise plans include ProPlus, E1, E3, and E5. These plans offer key features that are geared towards Enterprise productivity which include options that are not available under Business plans. All these plans, except E1, include Office ProPlus with SCA and are suitable for use in an RDS environment. The Office 365 E3 plan is the most commonly used level within Enterprise plans as it includes Office ProPlus, Exchange, and important security and compliance features like e-discovery and archiving. In order to provision a Nerdio environment, you will need a minimum of one E3 license.

Other plans

Office 365 also offers various versions of Enterprise plans for various verticals. These include Education, Government, and Non-Profit licensing. Each licensing model caters to specific requirements and has varying costs.

2. Microsoft Licensing: Microsoft 365 (M365)

Microsoft 365 was introduced in late 2017 as a new product bundle that combines the traditional Office 365 features with Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) and Windows 10. Though these plans are costlier than Office 365 plans, they provide a complete cloud productivity solution. The most important differentiation is that these plans include a Windows 10 Enterprise license which can be used to license Virtual Desktops in Microsoft Azure through traditional VDI or through Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD). Microsoft 365 is split into three categories: Business, Enterprise, and Education.

Microsoft 365 Business 

This plan is focused on SMB deployments. It includes Office 365 Business (not ProPlus), some basic EMS functionality, and Intune for device management. These plans are an “upgrade” from the Office 365 Business Premium plans. A keynote here is that Office 365 Business plan has fewer features as compared to its Office 365 ProPlus version with respect to the limit on the number of users it can be deployed for (currently 300) and zero group policy support. As of April 2019, Office 365 Business through Microsoft 365 Business plans will include SCA for use on an RDS host.

Microsoft 365 Enterprise

Microsoft 365 Enterprise plans not only mirror the traditional Office 365 E3/E5 plans but also add in a Windows 10 Enterprise license along with EMS features. These plans would be an “upgrade” from the Office 365 E3/E5 plans and include critical security features like Azure Information Protection, Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection, and Microsoft Intune. There is also a new F1 plan within M365 Enterprise which is designed for users who need limited access to M365 services. These plans allow users to fully manage their desktop infrastructure either on-premise or in the cloud.

Microsoft 365 Education

Microsoft 365 Education consists of a new level of plans geared specifically for classrooms. These plans are focused on providing productivity tools required for the classroom at a reasonable price point. They are split into A1, A3, and A5 license levels with A1 being a one-time per device license while the A3/A5 licenses are traditional monthly recurring costs. In addition, with most levels, pricing is based on teacher licenses, with students being able to be added to the plan at no cost.

The table below provides a quick comparison between O365 and M365:

O365 is a cloud-based suite centered around business productivity, which includes apps like Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, and more.M365 is a bundle of services that includes Office 365, and several other services.
Depending on your O365 plan, subscriptions also include apps and services like Skype for Business, SharePoint, OneDrive, Teams, Yammer, Planner and so on.An M365 license also includes Windows 10 Enterprise, Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS), and machine learning.
O365 license is a monthly, per-user subscription. You can choose various O365 plans as per your specific business needs.There are three flavors to M365: Microsoft 365 Business is designed for SMBs with 300 users or less. Refer details at M365 business plans Microsoft 365 Enterprise is made for larger organizations that need stronger security and device management functionality. Refer details at M365 Enterprise plans Microsoft 365 Education is a basic plan designed for students and teachers to enhance learning in the classroom

Employee Spotlight: Get to Know Colleen Herbert

  1. What’s your role here at Nerdio? What do you do on a day-to-day basis and how do you help partners/customers?  

I am a Channel Account Manager on our Enterprise Sales team, working with partners in North America serving the enterprise market. My day-to-day includes activities that fall along the partner relationship life cycle. These include onboarding partners, providing technical and enablement sessions, working with the partner teams to generate the Nerdio pipeline through webinars and in-person events, and, most importantly, making sure the enterprise partners have what they need to win at joint business with Nerdio.  

  1. What’s a fun fact about you that most people don’t know/couldn’t guess?  

I’ve been struck by lightning… twice! (Indirectly, thank goodness, but don’t hang out with me on a golf course during a storm!) 

  1. What’s one technological advancement you hope to see or think we will see in the next ten years?  

I hope that advances around affordable clean energy and clean water for all continue to develop. The earth is so fragile, so any progress around making it easy and affordable to “do the right thing” for Mother Earth, and all of us who inhabit this fine planet, is necessary. 

  1. What are three movies you’d bring with you to a deserted island?  
  • Lost in Translation
  • The Royal Tenenbaums
  • Amélie
  1. In your opinion, what’s the most rewarding part of working for Nerdio?  

Seeing the impact of my efforts, both from a sales perspective and also from a company growth and change perspective is very rewarding. We are a culture of drivers, which carries a lot of responsibility each day, but the “can do” attitude is inspiring and keeps me “driving” to accomplish more each day. 

  1. What sitcom family or friend group would you choose to be a part of?  

“What We Do in the Shadows.” It’s way too entertaining of a crew. Not being a vampire may cause an issue, but I think we could get past that. 

  1. Besides a standard computer, what is the earliest piece of technology you remember owning?  

I remember that the first microwave we had was a big deal. (Oh, so many exploded hot dogs!) Also, the first VCR we had… It was a top loader with a corded remote. It was such a game changer to be able to record “Friday Night Videos” and watch the next day since I couldn’t stay up that late and didn’t have cable/MTV! 

  1. You’ve been with Nerdio for a while now. What’s motivated you to stick around?  

Every day is an adventure, with the opportunity to directly have an impact on the company’s success. There is nowhere to hide, which offers such a great opportunity to push myself and learn so much.  

  1. What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned while working in tech?  

If you’re not a fan of change – get out! 

  1. What’s a current technology trend you’re passionate about?  

I’m very interested in wearable technology that can help people track progress toward fitness goals, which keeps people safe and gives insights into our health. Also, “spray fabric” debuted at Paris Fashion Week last year and was very fascinating. If the technology becomes affordable, and if it is truly safe, there are so many possibilities around how it can be used, both for high-end fashion as well as for fast/everyday fashion.  

Nerdio Manager for MSP Case Study: Lucidity Cloud Services

Lucidity Cloud Services is a provider of cloud-based managed IT services across every industry, with a core focus on tourism. The New Zealand-based Microsoft partner has been in business for over 20 years, offering customers in the region trusted cloud solutions that are easy to implement and consume.

However, as Microsoft offerings evolved over the past two decades, Lucidity needed to upgrade their systems to keep pace and ensure clients were receiving the most modern, secure services possible. In late 2019, the core of Lucidity’s previous platform was on-prem Active Directory and the entire storage component was reaching end-of-life. Lucidity Founder Paul O’Brien knew it was time to fully migrate to Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) despite unique complications and customer hesitations. The COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 was a powerful driving factor.

“Many of our clients didn’t see the need to update and were concerned about how a migration could impact their financial and end-of-year plans,” said O’Brien. “Plus, given the pandemic, our key vertical was gutted. Tourism had been beaten up by the world, and we as the MSP had to eat a lot of costs. But more importantly, we needed to make sure that any changes we made to the service were seamless and didn’t disrupt their businesses more than Covid-19 already had.”

The Cure for the Common Cloud

Initially, Lucidity used an older control panel for provisioning and managing customers, but it was very legacy and not appropriate for AVD. Lucidity also looked at more modern portals for MSPs, but they didn’t offer remote desktops at the time. And of course, like a lot of technology companies, they considered a DIY (do-it-yourself) alternative.

“In theory we could build a similar tool in-house,” added O’Brien. “But I also could build a house myself. That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. It was imperative that whatever solution we chose made life easier for me, my team, and my customers. When I saw Nerdio Manager for MSP demoed at Microsoft Inspire, I knew it was the product for us.”

Over the span of approximately 18 months, Lucidity worked closely with Nerdio on this massive undertaking. Nerdio allowed Lucidity to migrate their legacy, on-prem platform with terabytes of user files to Azure, without disrupting clients’ user experience. This provided a massive upgrade to the platform, making it much faster and enabling Lucidity to leverage the flexibility of cloud performance to better serve customers while lowering costs.

In total, 50 customer environments were migrated to AVD using Nerdio Manager for MSP. Nerdio Manager enabled the 10 Lucidity engineers tasked with the huge undertaking to expedite the process, minimizing the time the company had to pay to operate its on-prem data centers and Azure while the migrations took place.

“Our engineers can now deploy a new AVD environment within an hour. If we were doing everything manually that would be a different story,” said O’Brien. “We can provide customers with a base platform incredibly quickly, and then do the details, testing, et cetera behind the scenes. This uninterrupted experience is critical for our clients who are trying to rebuild their businesses post-pandemic.”

Nerdio Manager for MSP not only helps accelerate AVD deployments, but also simplifies management of those environments across clients. It provides a unified control panel for service desk and engineering staff, while automating the more tedious aspects of delivering and operating managed services via Azure. With it, technical staff can continue to focus on innovating and gaining valuable cloud computing experience and skills versus resetting passwords and provisioning.

The Intune Opportunity

While approximately half of Lucidity’s customers are now using AVD, the other half have been using Microsoft Intune for Windows 365 and physical device management. Nerdio Manager for MSP v4 and above now also supports Intune, generating even more new growth opportunities for those customers that are either too small or don’t have a need for virtual desktops.  

“Now that Intune is built into the Nerdio control panel, we can bring the rest of our customers into the fold and manage them all from a single pane of glass,” concluded O’Brien. “Nerdio’s consistent innovation and new features are indicative of a company with its finger on the pulse, and its partnership with Lucidity is one that I envision will remain mutually advantageous for years to come.”

The Long-Term Impact of Nerdio Manager for MSP

“Nerdio Manager for MSP has become a fundamental tool in our toolbox,” O’Brien said. “It’s a well-architected product that has not only changed my business for the better, increasing margins and simplifying work for my team, but the benefits have also bled into my personal life.”

Nerdio’s Scripted Actions that virtually eliminate the need for PowerShell scripting provide a level of uniformity across the platform that ensures every customer is going to be set up the same way, at the same caliber. Additionally, should any issues arise, the service the Nerdio team provides is unmatched.

“I’ve never worked with a better team in my career. Fixes and feedback can be seen implemented within a month and anything urgent is immediately attended to,” said O’Brien. “Now that we have Azure Virtual Desktop and Nerdio Manager for MSP, I can sleep at night, no longer having to worry about quality control for my customers. In fact, I recently took my first vacation in 20 years knowing that everything was running smoothly.”

With the mass customer migration complete and the increased, simplified automation Nerdio provides, Lucidity is excited for a big 2023, and what that means in terms of new business growth.

“Offering Azure Virtual Desktop as a managed service has become a big differentiator for us, particularly when it comes to dealing with the legal departments of our key prospects,” O’Brien stated. “Because we’re firmly entrenched in the Microsoft cloud, and at the forefront of driving AVD adoption in ANZ, new doors will be opened, and the opportunity for bigger business will grow.”

How Chargeback at the Endpoint Can Help Justify Cloud VDI Costs

For a long time, cost concerns have plagued traditional VDI platforms. Legacy vendors sell licenses typically in 3-year agreements, leading to upfront sunk costs for companies. Even after the original project funds are exhausted, ongoing costs associated with managing and increasing platform infrastructure persist.

The issue often stems from a lack of consideration or understanding of who should pay for cloud computing improvements and the cost per user. If not properly established, IT is usually solely responsible for the bill, which can quickly become substantial.

Cloud VDI via Azure Virtual Desktop  

Thankfully the public cloud has a much more cost-effective proposition to have a cloud VDI solution as a tool in your arsenal through Microsoft’s Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD). Most organizations already have the entitlement to AVD through their Microsoft 365 licensing and with the flexible, pay-as-you-go nature of the public cloud, you no longer need a big upfront investment in a virtual desktop platform.  

You also no longer need to overprovision to cater for peaks or “build the church for Christmas Eve.” You scale up as you need and scale down as you don’t, allowing organizations to see actual PAYG (pay-as-you-go) pricing for the virtual desktop solution they are using. 

Why Do Virtual Desktop Costs Change Over Time?  

A few issues plague Cloud VDI platforms, causing costs to increase over time. For example, upgrades are inevitable as operating systems and applications become more demanding with each new update. Additionally, end-user demands increase as technology evolves.

Think about how many browser tabs you use to leave open even three years ago… How many do you leave open now? Are you working in a traditional office now, or are you WFH? Work practices change and thus we need to be able to evolve our system to compensate. Finally, your end-users move, and personas change. A user could start out on a platform, and then move roles, and their demand for resources increases. Does anyone tell IT about this change? How do you budget for this?  

Allocating End User Costs across Your Workforce and Departments 

For example, let’s consider a cloud VDI project carried out in 2020 for a thousand users. This project was tied to the company’s digital transformation initiative, so securing the budget was not an issue. Despite the pandemic, the company has been able to grow and double its headcount in the past two years. This growth has been observed in all departments, including HR, marketing, engineering, sales, marketing, and more. As a result, IT had to purchase additional licenses, upgrade infrastructure, and storage to support these new employees. For instance, IT had to accommodate 500 new salespeople and 100 new marketers. However, the Sales department isn’t contributing any funds toward the IT department’s budget that now must accommodate all the new users.  If the IT budget has remained unchanged, why should they adjust their priorities to pay for the resources they provide to each department? 

These types of issues have always led to Cloud VDI platforms typically being considered an expensive way to deliver digital workspaces. They’ve led to many an IT leader questioning “Why am I paying so much for this?” and “Do the benefits of Cloud VDI really outweigh the costs?”  

To date, there hasn’t been an easy answer to these questions. As with the power and flexibility (of the public cloud) comes the mystery. As a result, questions and considerations like “How do I manage multi-session users, as one user might use the platform more than another user” can often cause an IT team to burn many cycles attempting to come up with a model that works, if they even have the data to base it on, to begin with! 

We see enterprise IT teams struggle with this all the time. Introducing Nerdio’s Per-User Cost Attribution, a Premium feature in Nerdio Manager for Enterprise. 

Introducing Nerdio 

The feature provides customers and partners with valuable insights into the true cost of their AVD solution, with costs directly being retrieved through Azure Cost Management. The features provide visibility into your total AVD costs, a snapshot of your average monthly active user cost, all the way through a granular per-user cost, showing which elements of the platform (compute, storage, network, etc) and the associate cost that makes up the true per user cost. 

Lucky for our customer base, we have done the hard work for you! We released User Cost Attribution as a Premium feature in Nerdio Manager for Enterprise in v4.3 

Out-of-the-box, the solution uses a standard set of reporting tags that are all managed by Nerdio, with the flexibility to specify additional tags for resources such as other shared resources that should be attributed to the total cost of the solution. 

Shared Costs w/ Nerdio

On the topic of shared costs, Nerdio gives you the flexibility on how you attribute shared platform costs, including: 

  • Uniform. Allocates an equal amount of shared costs to each active user. 
  • Proportional. Allocates shared costs based on the relative duration of each user’s AVD usage over the course of a month. 
  • Unallocated. Does not allocate shared costs to individual users and only shows users’ costs that result directly from AVD sessions. Assuming IT has budgeted for this share platform cost. 

As we rolled out the feature, received feedback, and continue refining it, we are still discovering many additional benefits beyond cost attribution. It provides visibility around optimization, as example, in a perfectly efficient personal desktop environment, the duration of a user’s session should closely match the number of minutes the desktop is powered on. If this ratio is low, there may be additional efficiency that can be gained by optimizing or tuning the environment.

Want to know more about User Cost Attribution? don’t hesitate to reach out! 

Nerdio Manager for Enterprise Case Study: Canterbury Christ Church University

About Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University is a university in the south of England. Starting 60 years ago as a teacher training college with just 75 students, Canterbury Christ Church has grown into a vital source of training for healthcare and teaching professionals, an innovator in STEM education, and a vibrant hub of creativity and talent, with research that benefits regional, national and international communities. It’s team of 68 IT professionals now serves
approximately 26,000 full and part students, and just over 1,800 staff members.

As a University with three campuses across Kent and Medway, and partnerships with other academic institutions around the UK and the world, Canterbury Christ Church’s needed to be able to host high performance software for advanced it undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses. It had also partnered with the University of Kent to establish Kent’s first ever medical school, Kent and Medway Medical School (KMMS), which required the KMMS students to access both institutions ‘systems, including accessing the Canterbury Christ Church desktop from either campus and several nearby NHS locations.

Furthermore, the University wanted to provide academic and professional service staff with hybrid work models, particularly as the country was going in and out of lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to maintain normal working habits, Canterbury Christ Church University needed to convert from on-premises remote desktop services (RDS) to enable access to campus desktops across the board. At the start of the 2020 academic year, the
IT department rolled out generic student desktops to ensure access to University resources. However, the maintenance and scaling necessary for so many users proved unsustainable.

“The University needed to implement a cloud first strategy to lower costs and scale to accommodate a hybrid model,” said Dave Haliwood, Platform and Systems Manager at Canterbury Christ Church University. “On-prem alternatives required too much specific expertise to maintain and simply were not flexible enough to meet our needs.”

Making Azure Virtual Desktop Work for Canterbury Christ Church University

Once RDS licenses were up for renewal, Haliwood and the team switched to Microsoft’s Azure Virtual Desktop to further enable the University’s hybrid model and make it easier for the IT team to create purpose built host pools for different departments. Despite the improvement in functionality, the University’s IT team needed something that offered a complete automation package than the Azure admin portal.

“Nerdio Manager for Enterprise kept popping up in conversations with peers using AVD, and it seemed to be exactly what we needed to streamline IT operations while saving time and resources,” added Haliwood.

During the proof-of-concept (POC), Canterbury Christ Church imported eight host pools seamlessly from native Azure into Nerdio Manager for Enterprise and saw immediate value when it came to ease of management and scaling.

“The Nerdio technology made it much easier for my team to build and manage host pools while still providing a great service to our users,” said Haliwood. “It is simple compared to the complexities of native Azure but still provides IT with all the options they need to make customized updates.”

Improving Efficiency with Nerdio Manager for Enterprise

Native Azure was prohibitively complicated for the 68 person University IT team, who needed a more streamlined, automated management tool to power a university of this size. With Nerdio Manager for Enterprise, scaling became much more manageable, and cost savings were immediately apparent.

“The School of Engineering, Technology and Design host pool had particularly sophisticated requirements with the need to provision high-performance, more expensive VMs. Nerdio Manager’s auto-scaling features immediately saved us 70% through its compute and storage scaling, managing session hosts, and reducing profile storage capacity,” said Haliwood.

Furthermore, IT is able to use the portal effectively as an ad hoc service desk, allowing the team to manage session hosts and individual sessions and empowering them to provide better experiences to users. The portal provides a single point of operation for all automation and AVD management, and Nerdio Manager for Enterprise ensures updates can be made quickly and easily in just two clicks.

Empowered IT = Better Student & Staff Experiences

Nerdio Manager for Enterprise has enabled Canterbury Christ Church University to increase the speed of AVD adoption across the organization, while migrating away from RDS and improving user experience.

“Nerdio made everything much easier and has enabled us to do more with AVD than we ever could natively,” said Haliwood. “The automation and ease of use provides the team with much more flexibility, allowing us to create bespoke environments for specific departments while still keeping costs low and allowing for proper testing and rollout. Our users have never been happier with the experience.”

Creating a new host pool used to take weeks. Now with Nerdio Manager for Enterprise, that same work can be accomplished in less than a day, further empowering IT to customize University desktops and better serve the academics who rely on this technology to teach and learn. Unlike with the on-prem alternative, the IT team no longer needs to worry about capacity, and have seen a decrease in the number of support tickets filed due to the improved experience for students and staff alike.

Microsoft Intune: The Why, Use Cases, and Challenges

Why do I need Intune? 

Microsoft Intune is a cloud-based endpoint management solution that can manage multiple devices across multiple platforms. 

The average business user uses several devices to consume corporate applications and data that must be controlled and managed. Those devices could be combinations, including personal & corporate devices, iPads, iPhones, Windows, MacOS, and multiple varieties.  

Without Intune, there is no way to manage and track those devices centrally.  The devices would have to be independently operated using their relevant management consoles, which adds time and complexity.  

Intune allows you to centrally manage compliance and reporting that support a zero-security trust model. Using Intune you can apply policies across all your devices that enforce compliance and security, regardless of the device type.  

What are the typical use cases for Microsoft Intune?  

Intune is like the Swiss army knife of the IT World; it has many functions.  Some of the most valuable and popular features are: 

Centralized Device Management and Control  

Intune provides a central web-based console where we can manage and control our devices. Using Intune, we can configure compliance policies where the devices must meet a minimum-security standard before accessing the corporate network, data, or applications. 

Application Management and Deployment 

Intune is commonly used to deploy applications to multiple device types. Intune can push applications out to Android, iPhone/iPad/macOS Devices, and Windows Devices. 

Secure Corporate and Personal Devices 

Using Intune, we can create policies that control the device’s features like security rules and configuration settings. Historically we have controlled these on corporate devices using features like Group Policies, but for Azure AD, we need to use Intune to achieve the same functionality.  

Compliance and Security 

Intune integrates with other Microsoft security solutions, such as Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) and Microsoft Defender for Endpoint, to provide comprehensive security and compliance management. Thus, organizations can monitor and manage devices, detect threats, and respond to incidents efficiently. 

Remote Work Support 

Intune facilitates remote work by enabling secure access to corporate resources from any device, regardless of location or type of device. This is particularly important as remote and hybrid work models become increasingly common.  

What are the current challenges when using Intune today, and what could mitigate those challenges for IT admins and MSPs?  

Intune was initially designed for MDM (mobile device management) capabilities and has grown to support more device types and services. If the admin does not have much experience with Intune, it will likely be difficult to deploy and manage.   

RBAC Model  

Intune has an RBAC (roles based access controls) model that allows you to assign permissions to users and groups based on their organizational roles and responsibilities. RBAC in Intune is based on Azure AD and will enable you to create accustomed roles and assign them to specific users and groups.  

With Intune RBAC, you can control access to Intune features and data, such as device management, app management, compliance policies, and more. We recommend creating custom roles within Intune and mapping them only to the relevant Azure AD groups to provide admins with access only to what they need.

Complexity of Operations  

Intune has many features and can become very complex very quickly. Intune management can become challenging. Managing device configurations, policies, and updates for many devices can be time-consuming and require significant planning.

It is recommended to carefully plan your production operations and try to automate as much as possible. Intune has a unified console that can simply device management and reduce complexity.  

Console Complexity 

The Intune console can be very complex and daunting for new Intune admins. There are many features in the console which admins may never use and therefore appears more complicated than it initially seems.   

The complexity of the console can be managed through careful planning, training, and support. It’s also advisable to manage the RBAC roles effectively, so the users only see what they need to see, which makes the console much less complex.  

Conflicting Assignments 

Intune can do many things, including deploying software, configuring devices, protecting data, etc.  Due to the high number of configurable settings, if you have a large environment, you will run the risk of conflicting assignments between devices and users.   

To mitigate this risk, we recommend controlling access to assignments by using well-structured and identifiable Azure AD Groups. Enabling you to quickly identify relevant settings that are being applied.


In conclusion, businesses require Microsoft Intune for centralized device management, application deployment, and secure corporate and personal device management. Without Intune, managing and tracking multiple devices across different platforms would be complex and time-consuming. However, Intune’s many features can also pose challenges for IT admins and MSPs, such as console complexity, and conflicting assignments. Mitigating these challenges requires careful planning, RBAC management, and automation.

Transitioning from Group Policy (GPOs) to Microsoft Intune: The Journey for an IT Admin 

A Staple of the Corporate Domain

Many IT administrators consider Group Policy as the foundation for any corporate IT network. When rolling out any IT standard or security policy across the user base, Group Policy has always been the go-to solution. Group Policy enables IT teams to apply consistent and standardized policies across enterprise environments. These changes thanks to GP do not require complex changes to the registry editor or reliance on individual effort. Until recently, Group Policy Management had been capable of addressing virtually any policy enforcement needs within any corporate IT environment.

Example screenshot of Group Policy Management 

Then remote work and the use of personal devices (BYOD) were introduced into the fray. For the first time in over a decade, GPOs could no longer keep up with an emerging trend: the increasing demands of a work-from-anywhere user base. Folks needing to access sensitive data from anywhere and on any device creates complexities that must be overcome to successfully apply company policy.  

Limited by Distance

To start with, the challenge of modern work is limited by distance. Even if a device is corporate-owned, the first question is how it can check in with the domain controller to receive the latest GP update. One option is for the device to connect back to the corporate domain via VPN. However, it is difficult to ensure that remote workers will regularly do this and that the GP update will apply to the device since this process normally only takes place at login. Attempting to follow these steps is an uphill battle from an administrator’s perspective.

Limited by Device

As an administrator, you may have cleared the hurdle of distance, but now face the challenge of BYOD. How do you control access to company data on non-company devices like personal laptops, tablets, and mobile phones? Today’s work culture emphasizes working anywhere on a device of one’s choosing, which makes managing personal devices a roadblock for Group Policy. Years ago, ActiveSync only allowed remote wiping of mobile devices, which was a primitive form of control for corporate accounts. Administrators had limited tools for remote device management, which did not balance corporate security policy with the demands of the remote user base. This limitation makes it clear that Group Policy cannot meet the needs of modern administrators.

Introducing Microsoft Intune

Intune initially debuted in 2011 as Windows Intune and was a service portal on top of the Microsoft Malware protection engine. In the few years following its debut, incremental changes were made to the solution to begin shaping the product it would become. At that time, nobody could’ve truly envisioned this modern work era in which we now find ourselves. An era that was primarily ushered in by a global pandemic that has changed our society in so many ways. Our expectations for technology have never been higher and that has dramatically increased the pressure on IT admins across the globe to keep up with demand.

Embracing Change

Change can be hard, and for many admins, ditching their established policies can be daunting. However, Microsoft is making it easy to leverage Office 365 for email hosting and is doing the same with Intune. In a few years, we’ll view localized legacy domains like on-premises Exchange servers – a thing of the past. We’ll be happy to no longer endure the headaches, and constraints of a management plane created for a bygone era.

Enhanced Capabilities

Intune’s policies can be broken down into 4 main types:  

Configuration Profiles:

These policies enable device management and configuration of device settings. For instance, IT can configure a Windows 11 device to join a specific Wi-Fi network without requiring the user to input credentials. Additionally, IT can enforce corporate background wallpaper and restrict the addition of personal OneDrive accounts to prevent data exfiltration by rogue employees. The available configuration settings for a given device are numerous.

Compliance Policies:

Compliance policies are essential for determining whether devices adhere to the organization’s standards. IT defines these rules, which can include requiring an approved anti-virus solution with updated virus definitions. Rules may also address enabling Microsoft Defender, having a compliant TPM chip, or requiring BitLocker encryption. If a device is deemed non-compliant, specific actions can be triggered. Actions include: marking the device as non-compliant after a specified period, sending a notification email to an admin, or retiring the device.

Security Baselines:

These are groups of security policies that can be configured for a particular type of device from one location. For instance, on a Windows 10+ device, IT can enforce enabling BitLocker, prevent end-users from storing passwords using the browser’s built-in password manager, block auto joining of Wi-Fi networks, or require a password after a machine wakes from sleep. Currently, there are no security baselines for operating systems other than Windows.

Conditional Access:

These policies specifically outline login requirements. Furthermore, they outline where users can log in to access any sensitive information in M365 and Azure. These powerful policies allow a modern administrator to level the playing field in today’s world of modern work. 


We are at a point where Intune has proven to be superior to Group Policy in today’s IT environments. Admins are now at a crossroads: embrace a superior solution for policy, security, and compliance management via Intune or remain stuck in a feature-limited console by continuing to leverage Group Policy Management. We at Nerdio have talked to many admins, MSPs, and industry leaders and the choice is clear. Intune is the superior solution and will continue to be for years ahead.

To learn more about Microsoft Intune and to schedule a demo option visit: 

Nerdio Manager for Enterprise Case Study: Telenet, Belgium’s Largest ISP

This Belgian ISP debated whether to build or buy an automation solution for Azure Virtual Desktop – the results speak for themselves with Nerdio Manager for Enterprise!

About Telenet

Telenet is the largest internet service provider (ISP) in Belgium, delivering cable broadband and phone services to businesses and residents across Belgium and Luxembourg. Providing such important services to so many people, Telenet needed its internal teams to operate at their most efficient while simultaneously running a profitable business.

To accomplish this, leadership knew they needed to migrate away from on-premises remote desktop services (RDS). RDS was not performing well, was reaching end of life, and Telenet was facing difficulties with licensing new hardware. The ISP has traditionally taken a Microsoft first approach when it comes to technology infrastructure, so Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) was the obvious alternative.

In 2019, Telenet engaged with managed Nerdio and Microsoft managed partner, OB-V-US, to begin migration to AVD but the internal team was unsure of how to most efficiently manage and operate the system while keeping the process extremely cost effective. 

“We needed to onboard a large user base, but cloud isn’t cheap,” said Jan Heuvinck, Systems Engineer on the Digital Workplace Team, Telenet. “With a limited number of people on the digital workplace team, we needed tooling that would enable us to economically deploy and manage the environment, turning on and off session hosts as required – there was a clear gap in the AVD approach here.”

The Question: Build or Buy?

When determining how best to amplify the operational efficiency of their IT team, Telenet first considered building its own automation solution. It’s a practice the company regularly undertakes to streamline operations, but OB-V-US encouraged the team to do a more in-depth evaluation.

“Just because you’re able to build automation tooling for AVD, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best option with limited manpower,” added Heuvinck. “We needed to examine both cost and resource expenditure, in addition to the question of ongoing support. A strong vendor partner that can support us operationally provides a lot of value, where an in-house built solution has the potential for a myriad of headaches in the future.”

Heuvinck had heard a lot about Nerdio throughout the IT community as a way to better, more seamlessly manage the AVD environment in a way that Microsoft couldn’t. The team at OB-V-US had also explored the Nerdio Manager for Enterprise offering and the benefit to their customers was immediately clear.

“OB-V-US always wants to make sure we’re providing customers with the most bang for their buck and avoid anything that’s not providing real value to the implementation,” said Kenny Buntinx, CEO, OB-V-US. “We found that Nerdio is the only company in the Microsoft ecosystem that is completely filling the gaps in AVD functionality without unnecessary frills. It was one of the first companies that saw a hole in the market, talked to customers, and partnered with Microsoft to fix it.”

OB-V-US was quickly able to demonstrate how Nerdio could help Telenet go the extra mile with AVD and secure great return on investment – not only from a cost savings perspective on the infrastructure side, but also from an operational perspective. From there it was easy to obtain buy-in from leadership; it all came down to total cost of ownership.

The Solution: The Nerdio Advantage

Once the Telenet digital workplace team had a chance to play around with Nerdio Manager for Enterprise during the Proof of Concept (POC) stage, they quickly built a lot of confidence in the product. They also saw clear ROI potential and shifted quickly from POC to production load.

“What really convinced us was dynamic auto-scaling, cost optimization and manageability with a small digital workplace department,” said Heuvinck. “Nerdio provided more stability, automation, and usability for us which enabled us to be more productive than if we had double the number of people on the team.”

For instance, the pace and speed of implementing new features is something the Telenet team would never have been able to accomplish without Nerdio Manager. The simple, intuitive, single pane of glass interface makes the entire process much more straightforward. Additionally, monthly maintenance like patching or reimaging host pools is made so much easier with Nerdio.

Furthermore, user handling was no longer a concern for the team thanks to the auto-scaling functionality – a feature that had always been problematic with Citrix and even native AVD on its own. This allowed the digital workspace team to clearly demonstrate ROI to leadership, not only through performance optimization (scaling up and down session hosts) but also performance storage optimization.

“Nerdio Manager for Enterprise is particularly effective when it comes to communicating value to leadership,” Heuvinck continued. “It’s so simple to generate reports that outline cost savings in black and white. We’re easily able to justify the investment in the technology.”

Finally, the support Nerdio provides is unmatched. The responsiveness Nerdio support demonstrates around new or upcoming features made the Telenet team feel like a valued partner and generated great trust in the working relationship between the two companies.

ROI: “Nerdio Doesn’t Cost Money Us, It Saves Money”

As a major ISP serving millions of customers across Belgium and Luxembourg, ROI on any new technology is crucial for Telenet, and after only two years in real production that has become abundantly clear to the operational team as well as leadership.

“Telenet currently has more then 2,000 users with access to the production workspace and more than 1,000 unique users connect actively on a monthly basis,” noted Heuvinck. “We’re already seeing a monthly savings of upwards of 45 percent and we expect to see those savings grow as we migrate more users to the shared platform. At this point, Nerdio doesn’t cost us money, it saves money.”

On top of the overt ROI, Nerdio Manager for Enterprise has also positively impacted performance across the board. When everyone is working in a better performance environment that is better automated, Telenet as a whole is able to operate more efficiently.

“Nerdio helps us better serve our employees, consultants, and partners – providing a performative, stable environment in which to work,” concluded Heuvinck. “The previous environment actually hampered job performance, but thanks to Nerdio Manager, we can scale appropriately to ensure our most important stakeholders – our customers – receive the best service and user experience possible.”

About Nerdio

Nerdio adds value on top of the powerful capabilities in Azure Virtual Desktop, Windows 365, and Microsoft Intune by delivering hundreds of features that simplify management, ensure efficient operations, and lower Azure compute and storage costs by up to 80% via intelligent automation. Leveraging Nerdio, MSPs can manage customers’ cloud environments through streamlined, multi-tenant, workflow-powered technology that allows them to create and grow cloud-based recurring revenues. Enterprise IT professionals can deliver and maintain a wide range of virtual Windows endpoints across hybrid workforces with ease and fine-tune end-user computing (EUC) approaches for maximum effectiveness using powerful monitoring and analytics capabilities. For more information, please visit

Employee Spotlight: Get to Know Jarred Foley

  1. What’s your role here at Nerdio? What do you do on a day-to-day basis and how do you help partners/customers?  

I am the Regional Sales Manager for Nerdio in Australia, and I was Nerdio’s first hire in APAC. I help our customers and partners identify and overcome the opportunities and challenges they face while modernizing their digital workspace platforms and transitioning them to the public cloud. 

If you ask my family, it is a lot of emails and phone calls, at any time of the day. 

  1. What’s a fun fact about you that most people don’t know/couldn’t guess?  

I (briefly) trained as a figure skater when I was young. I grew up in a town where in summer it can average around 90 deg F with humidity in the 80% range. I thought it was a better option than running around a rugby field. While I wasn’t very good at it, it made roller blading easier when that was in vogue. 

  1. What’s one technological advancement you hope to see or think we will see in the next ten years?  

If I am thinking with my VDI / Digital Workspace hat on, the ability to migrate (ala vMotion) a user session from one multi-session OS machine to another, without the user having to log off and back on. 

In the world at large, I don’t necessarily want or think we need to see a wholesale adoption of fully autonomous cars in the short to medium term. However, I like the concept of using data and connected, semi-autonomous vehicles to ultimately improve safety, help with traffic flow, and congestion, and just make more efficient use of the limited space we dedicate to our roadways. 

  1. What are three movies you’d bring with you to a deserted island?  

That is a tough one, and I am not very nuanced in my movie taste, let’s go with the basics: 

  • Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels 
  • Happy Gilmore 
  • Shawshank Redemption 
  1. In your opinion, what’s the most rewarding part of working for Nerdio?  

Seeing our product develop in real time and those developments showing a meaningful benefit to our customers and partners.  

I have worked for vendors before where they might make a passing comment of something “being on the roadmap”. With Nerdio, when we say something like that, we mean it and deliver on it. 

  1. What sitcom family or friend group would you choose to be a part of?  

I like the family and friends group I have but if I had to choose, I would probably be the 4th wheel in a Top Gear / The Grand Tour style troop. Being part of the travelling circus that is Formula 1 would be cool too if you class it as somewhat of a sitcom from its recent Netflix fame. Maybe I could be the guy that makes coffee for one of the teams… 

How good would it be to just travel the world to all the locations a Formula 1 team goes to and be the one that kick starts people’s day with a great coffee? 

  1. Besides a standard computer, what is the earliest piece of technology you remember owning?  

It was more of a toy, but a Tandy / RadioShack Armatron Robotic Arm. I don’t know what you consider a standard computer, but my first computer was an Amstrad CPC 64 with a tape deck in the keyboard, before moving onto Commodore 64 and eventually an early 086 IBM clone. 

  1. You’ve been with Nerdio for a while now. What’s motivated you to stick around?  

I like being part of something that is growing and heading in the right direction. I am excited to see where the company is headed, and I can honestly say I wake up every day knowing I am going to have energizing conversations with customers and partners. You don’t get that at every organization you work for. 

  1. What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned while working in tech?  

That is a tough one, I would have to say it would be that change is inevitable. While it is important to stay abreast of the latest technology and trends, it is also important to know about the history and the legacy behind things as it helps to explain the why. 

  1. What’s a current technology trend you’re passionate about?  

As a parent, I think it is my duty to be interested and invested in understanding the technology that is shaping and impacting our children. So ultimately a lot of that gets chosen for me. 

On the personal interest front, I think home automation and smart grid have a place in how we design and configure our homes and living spaces and have moved past being a gimmick or fad. While I don’t need Siri or Google to necessarily control everything in my home, I am happy to only use certain appliances when I have enough solar being generated for it to make sense. So smart grid and smart appliance technology coupled with home automation is something I am eager to see evolve and keen to further adopt.  

On the fun side, I am into mountain biking, so it is hard to not keep across the evolution of technology on and off the bike. It is interesting to see something that was traditionally a physical and mechanical endeavor get shaped by technical advancements. From wireless gear shifting, through to telemetry and data acquisition for suspension tuning. I do geek out on some of that stuff.