In early June 2021, Microsoft announced that Windows Virtual Desktop would undergo a makeover and rebranding to become Azure Virtual Desktop (or “AVD”).  While it’s not a new product by any means, AVD is likely to help it become attached to operating systems outside the Microsoft sphere, like Linux for example. Dropping the “Windows” part of the name makes this easier. AVD appears to be Microsoft’s attempt at becoming a more flexible and adaptable virtual desktop infrastructure. Let’s look at some of those new features of Azure Virtual Desktop.

One prominent factor in making a switch to Azure Virtual Desktop is the low costs, especially upfront, for businesses. Microsoft touts AVD as something businesses will only pay for what they use and as they go. So, there are lots of flexible purchase options and starting price points to choose from that match the needs of your business.

Azure AD Join

Since WVD’s inception in 2019, a better functioning ‘join’ feature was something users were begging for. With AVD, the secure logging in process of having to login twice, once to subscribe to the AVD feed and another time to log into a session host, has been far better streamlined. Essentially you’ll be able to take a new laptop out of the box and login with your one account. Configuration will all take place automatically. The new SSO feature (single sign-on) accomplishes both these things. Security is also heightened with a better-integrated Microsoft Endpoint Manager (more on that to come).

RemoteApp streaming with per-user monthly pricing

With the introduction of Azure Virtual Desktop, many software publishers have been adopting it because of its ability to deliver great apps for consumers. With RemoteApp streaming, you will be able to remotely connect to and run an application without having to first login to a desktop. If you’re familiar with Citrix, it’s somewhat similar to that.

AVD is allowing these publishers to be able to create secure, multi-tenant environments for their consumers that are both easy for them to manage and provides adequate support too. WVD was unclear when it came to this due to licensing concerns. Previously, software publishers could only publish their app if their users who were remotely connecting to their app also had a Windows 10 subscription. With AVD, and its new licensing model publishers can essentially ‘eat the cost’ themselves without worrying about their user’s Windows 10 agreements.

Microsoft Endpoint Manager support for Windows 10 multi-session

Users who want to, or simply just prefer to, manage both physical and virtual desktops via the Microsoft Endpoint Manager can now do so within Azure Virtual Desktop. While managing personal, single session desktops has been an available option for months now; multi-session support was only available as a preview feature with MEM. Now, the bugs have removed and it’s an included option. Simultaneously managing a collection of virtual and physical machines can now be achieved for every user.

Microsoft Endpoint Manager

So, with the shift away from the Windows Virtual Desktop name and an embracing of Azure Virtual Desktop, you’ll notice there are a number of benefits coming at the same time. Of course, this may not be immediately recognizable for those of us who are not too tech savvy. If much of this still sounds like technobabble and you’re in need of expert help, you can’t look past BCC. We will custom fit your IT needs to you, without blowing your budget.