Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD), formerly known as Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) is a Microsoft Azure cloud-based service for virtualizing Windows Operating Systems (OS) and applications. It enables companies to easily set up and configure Windows-based virtual work environments, in a secure, flexible manner. Within hours of deployment, AVD users can work remotely from anywhere using their (own) device of choice while accessing all their (collaboration) business applications and data. It was launched in September 2019 and has matured into THE go-to solution for remote working.
Azure Virtual Desktop Alternatives and Requirements
Before AVD, companies spent a great deal of effort and time designing, configuring, and securing “traditional” end-user-based computing solutions to bring applications and data to their users. These solutions consisted of various, loosely coupled software and hardware components, which once set up, took hours to patch and monitor on a weekly basis. And of course, it is widely understood that setting up secure remote access has always been a huge challenge as well.
With AVD all of these issues no longer apply. The virtual and/or physical machines once needed to stand up such an environment have been transformed into easy to consume (pay as you go) Azure Cloud services by Microsoft – including secure remote access. With AVD Microsoft maintains and patches these services for you and ensures they are highly available.
So, the short and tall of it is – all you need is an Azure subscription and internet access!
Who Should Use Azure Virtual Desktop and Why?
For years companies have been struggling with the “working from home” concept, or the “bring your own device” challenge, well, AVD makes all this a lot easier to handle, control, and maintain. Working remotely has become the new standard and supporting remote work is one of the main use cases of the service. More importantly, it provides a way of working that your employees are already used to. AVD supports the well-known and popular Windows 10 and 11 OS, amongst others, and thereby supports all the applications that an organization’s staff has likely been using throughout the last 5-10 years.
While the backend might have changed (for the better), the way end users are used to working has not. If anything, they will probably experience an even smoother and personalized experience now that they are able to work from anywhere, on any device. All their trusted applications and collaboration tools will be available on their desktop, including but not limited to Outlook, Teams, the Office 365 suite, easy and secure Internet access – you name it!
Scalability and Cost Effectiveness
Whenever a new employee joins an organization, or when a contractor needs a temporary place to work, for example, AVD has you covered. Typically, within 30 minutes these types of users are provided a full-blown virtualized desktop, securely accessible from the Microsoft Azure Cloud with all business application ready to go.
Also, different virtual machine (VM) types can be mixed and matched to best serve organizational needs. When a VM is no longer needed, simply turn it off or dispose of it and you will no longer pay for it. This makes AVD one of the most cost-effective solutions out there since companies only pay for what they are consuming. No upfront hardware investments either make the service attractive from a cost and procurement perspective.
Given its flexibility, ease-of-use, and scalability, Azure Virtual Desktop is suitable for companies of all sizes. Any organization can get up and running in no time and easily manage ongoing maintenance by leveraging an AVD management platform like Nerdio Manager.