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Azure Virtual Desktop: Everything You Need To Know

The modern workforce demands flexibility. The rise of the hybrid work model, where employees seamlessly blend office and remote work, is becoming the new standard. To thrive in this evolving landscape, businesses need solutions that empower a secure and productive work experience from anywhere.

Microsoft’s Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) addresses this critical need. This innovative platform offers a secure and centralised solution for managing virtual desktops, enabling employees to access business resources from any device, irrespective of location.

Here’s how AVD can future-proof your business for the hybrid work model:

  • Empower a Secure and Productive Workforce: Ensure your employees have seamless access to critical data and applications, fostering collaboration and productivity even when dispersed.
  • Simplify IT Management: Centralised management of virtual desktops reduces IT burden and simplifies access control.
  • Unlock Potential Cost Savings: AVD offers potential cost savings through optimised resource allocation and potentially reduced hardware requirements.

Many organisations are already leveraging AVD to empower their hybrid workforce. Read on to explore everything you need to know about AVD and how it can address your specific needs, unlocking the potential of a secure and productive work environment for the future.

First, what is Virtual Desktop Infrastructure?

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) provides a secure and centralised method for accessing applications and data. This technology separates the user experience (desktop environment) from the physical device, allowing users to connect from various endpoints across a network. This flexibility empowers employees to work remotely using laptops, tablets, or even mobile phones, while still maintaining access to their familiar work environment and critical resources.

Now, what is Azure Virtual Desktop?

Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD), is a cloud-based desktop and application virtualisation service offered by Microsoft. It leverages the power of Microsoft Azure to deliver virtual desktops or applications that users can access from any device.

AVD offers a comprehensive solution for organisations seeking to empower a flexible and secure work experience. Here’s a closer look at its key features:

  • Full Windows Experience or Optimised Applications: AVD provides the flexibility to deliver either a full Windows desktop experience or individual applications optimised for virtual environments. This caters to the specific needs of your organisation and users.
  • Scalability for Multiple Users: Unlike some competing solutions, AVD can be scaled to accommodate multiple users, making it suitable for organisations of various sizes.
  • Unified Management Experience: AVD simplifies IT administration by providing a centralised console for managing virtual desktops and applications.
  • Device Agnostic Access: Users can access their virtual desktops or applications from any device with an internet connection, fostering a flexible work environment.

Why Cloud, Why Now?

The digital workplace is undergoing a transformation, and cloud desktops are leading the charge. Traditional desktops with limited scalability and rigid hardware are becoming a thing of the past. Microsoft’s Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) offers a solution that mirrors the flexibility of web applications. AVD allows businesses to deploy and scale desktops on-demand, eliminating dependence on upfront hardware costs and outdated equipment. Centralised management through AVD further streamlines IT processes, especially for organisations with geographically dispersed workforces.

This shift towards cloud desktops empowers a secure and productive mobile workforce. Now, more than ever, AVD ensures seamless access to work environments from any device, perfect for today’s hybrid or remote work models. Additionally, AVD leverages the robust security and scalability of Microsoft Azure, providing peace of mind for businesses and optimal performance for their employees. As the future of work becomes increasingly mobile, AVD offers a compelling solution for organisations of all sizes.

Common Use Cases for Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD)

Having explored the capabilities of AVD, let’s delve into some common use cases that demonstrate its value proposition:

  • Reduced Hardware Costs: AVD offers a cost-effective alternative to traditional desktops. By delivering virtual desktops accessible from any device, organisations can eliminate the need to purchase and distribute physical hardware for each employee. This reduces upfront costs and simplifies device management.
  • High-Performance Computing: AVD can address the challenge of resource-intensive tasks. Organisations can leverage AVD’s scalability to provision virtual desktops with the necessary processing power for demanding workloads, eliminating the need for expensive high-end PCs for all users.
  • Flexible Access for Temporary Workers: AVD streamlines onboarding for temporary or seasonal staff. With AVD, organisations can quickly provision virtual desktops with the required access to files and applications, enabling new users to be productive from day one, all while utilising their personal devices.
  • Optimised Resource Sharing for Multi-Shift Workforces: AVD caters to organisations with employees working diverse schedules. Resource sharing capabilities allow organisations to optimise virtual desktop resources for teams working different shifts. This eliminates the need for dedicated resources for each user, potentially reducing costs compared to solutions with per-user 24/7 access licensing.
  • Streamlined Management for Hybrid Workforces: Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) offers a centralised console for IT administrators to manage virtual desktops and applications, regardless of user location. This simplifies key tasks like provisioning desktops, controlling user access, and deploying applications. By managing everything from a single pane of glass, AVD empowers IT to efficiently support a geographically dispersed workforce and ensure a consistent user experience, reducing administrative burden and streamlining IT operations.

Key Requirements for Azure Virtual Desktop

To successfully deploy Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD), your organisation will need to meet a few essential requirements. Here’s a breakdown of the key areas:

Licensing: Appropriate licences for the desired desktops and applications are necessary.

Identity and Access Management:

  • Azure Active Directory (AAD): This cloud-based service from Microsoft provides user sign-in and access control for resources within Microsoft 365, Azure, and your internal network applications.
    Synchronised Windows Server Active Directory: A synchronised Windows Server AD instance is required to function with AAD.
  • Azure Subscription and Virtual Network: An active Azure subscription with a virtual network is needed. This network should either contain or connect to your Windows Server AD or Microsoft Entra Domain Services (formerly Azure AD DS).

User Accounts: User accounts must originate from the same Active Directory connected to AAD. AVD currently doesn’t support B2B or MSA accounts.

Virtual Machine Domain Joining: The Azure Virtual Machines you create for AVD must be standard domain-joined or utilise Hybrid AD joining. Azure AD joining is not supported for virtual machines.

Operating System Images: AVD adheres to the Microsoft Lifecycle Policy and supports the following x64 operating system images: Windows 11 multi-session, Windows 11 Enterprise, Windows 10 Enterprise (multi-session and standard), Windows Server 2022, Windows Server 2019, and Windows Server 2016.

Empower Your Workforce with an AVD Strategy

As a Microsoft Solutions Partner, Intelliworx possesses the expertise to guide you in crafting a successful AVD strategy. We’ll help you maximise security, optimise costs, and ensure a seamless transition to a more agile work environment. Use this Azure Virtual Desktop guide as a starting point to explore the benefits and considerations for implementing AVD in your organisation.

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