Microsoft’s Windows Virtual Desktop

windows virtual desktop

Blog Written By | Microsoft 365

Windows Virtual Desktop is now generally available worldwide

In September this year, Microsoft released news of the Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) service with enhanced capabilities to increase productivity. Windows Virtual Desktop is the only service that delivers simplified management, a multi-session Windows 10 experience, optimizations for Office 365 ProPlus, and support for Windows Server Remote Desktop Services (RDS) desktop and apps. With Windows Virtual Desktop, you can deploy and scale your windows desktop and apps on Azure in minutes.

Since Microsoft announced Windows Virtual Desktop last September, and through the public preview announced in March, thousands of customers have piloted the service and taken advantage of the Windows 10 multi-session capability – validating the importance of this feature as a core part of the service. Customers also represented all major industries and geographies, helping Microsoft get feedback from different customer types and locations. As a result, the service is now available in all geographies. In addition, Windows Virtual Desktop client is available across Windows, Android, Mac, iOS, and HTML5.

With the end of extended support for Windows 7 coming in January 2020, Microsoft also understands some customers need to continue to support Windows 7 legacy applications as they migrate to Windows 10. To support this need, you can use WVD to virtualize Windows 7 desktops with free Extended Security Updates (ESU) until January 2023. If you’re in the process of migrating to Windows 10 and need app compatibility assistance, read more about how Microsoft can help with the Desktop App Assure program.

To help increase productivity, Microsoft invested heavily in the Office experience in a virtualized environment with native improvements, as well as through the acquisition of FSLogix. In July, Microsoft made the FSLogix technology available to Mircosoft 365, Windows 10 Enterprise, and RDS customers. Today, all FSLogix tools are fully integrated into WVD, enabling you to have the smoothest, most performant Office virtualization experience available today.

In addition to the significant architectural improvements for deployment and management, Microsoft is also simplifying app delivery by supporting MSIX packaged apps to be dynamically “attached” to a virtual machine instead of installing it permanently. This is important because it significantly decreases storage and makes it easier for the admin to manage and update the apps while creating a seamless experience for the user.

Check out the video from Scott Manchester, Principal Engineering Lead for WVD, where he does a great job of walking you through the app “attach” experience.

Extending WVD

Microsoft also worked closely with its partner ecosystem to help customers extend WVD and get the most out of existing virtualization investments.

  • Citrix can extend Windows Virtual Desktop worldwide, including support for Windows 10 multi-session, Windows 7 with free Extended Security Updates for up to three years, and support for Windows Server 2008 R2 with free Extended Security Updates on Azure. 
  • VMware Horizon Cloud on Microsoft Azure will extend Windows Virtual Desktop and its benefits, such as Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session and support for Windows 7 with free Extended Security Updates for up to three years. The preview will be available by the end of the calendar year.
  • Microsoft also engaged with hardware partners, system integrators (SI), who provide turnkey desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) offerings, and value-added solutions providers, who add capabilities such as printing, application layering, assessment, and monitoring on Azure Marketplace.

The general availability of Virtual Desktop is just the beginning. Microsoft will continue to rapidly innovate and invest in desktop and app virtualization. In the meantime, you can get started with Windows Virtual Desktop today.

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