We’ve been keeping an eye on this for sometime now, but Microsoft recently announced that they will a virtual windows and office experience delivered on Azure in the form of Windows Virtual Desktop. You can read the original announcement on their website here.
A public preview is due to be available later in the year and we’ll provide an update as and when we know more, however the premise of the solution is to deliver a cloud-based service, that delivers a multi-user Windows 10 experience with in built security and compliance features.
It will reportedly be optimised for O365 ProPlus and provide the flexibility to deploy dedicated desktops with a 1:1 relationship between user and the VM running Windows 10 or the ability to have multi-user sessions using shared resources.
Microsoft have built MVD (Microsoft Virtual Desktop) citing the following benefits:
- MVD will be the only service to enable a multi-user Win10 experience, including compatability with Microsoft Store and existing Windows line of business apps.
- Extended security updates for Windows 7 until January 2020 (the only service to provide this for Win 7 virtual desktops)
- A very scalable service to deploy and manage Windows virtual machines using Azure for Compute, Storage, diagnostics, networking, connection brokering and so on. Removing the need to host, configure and manage these components.
- The ability to virtualise desktops and applications, so depending on the use case and user requirement, you can decide to deliver virtual applications to a Windows 10 desktop or provide a full desktop experience.
- Integration with the security and management native to Office365, i.e conditional access and DLP.
Early questions have been posed following the announcement, including what this means for the future of Citrix’s XenDesktop and VMWare’s Horizon View as well as how the platform will cater for the bespoke requirements from client to client. Microsoft stated as part of the initial announcement that their partner ecosystem, which includes Citrix, FXLogix, VMware, ThinPrint and a number of others will extend the capability of MVD through the Azure marketplace. It would also appear that cloud servicer providers would be lent on to assist clients with the setup and management of the platform going forward.
It is yet to be seen where the limitations of the platform do and do not lie, we’re excited about the announcement given our history with VDI deployments and have been tracking Microsoft’s stance on this for some time. We’ll continue to provide updates and opinion once the public preview is available.