What is Azure Virtual Desktop?

Users of Microsoft Windows will be familiar with the look and feel of the desktop interface they access when they first power up their local PC. In a business environment, rather than giving every employee their own PC, a virtual desktop gives the same interface, but with each desktop running on a single, centralised server. A virtual desktop looks and feels like a physical workstation. The user experience is often even better than a physical workstation because powerful resources, such as storage and back-end databases, are readily available. Virtual desktops can be configured to suit the needs of the organisation, and users can be authorised to make changes, or permanently install applications, depending on the security and access policies of the company.

Azure Virtual Desktop takes this a stage further, and provides a managed desktop, running in the Microsoft Azure cloud. Azure Virtual Desktop allows users to access their desktop via their laptop, smartphone or tablet, remotely over a network. They experience their desktop in a consistent manner, irrespective of which device they are using. The overhead of running the systems is done in the Azure cloud.

What are the pros and cons of a traditional Virtual Desktop?

As virtual desktops are usually centrally managed, this eliminates the need for updates and application installations on individual devices. The users’ endpoint devices can be less powerful since most computing happens in the data centre. This provides cost-savings on hardware purchases.

Often complex and expensive, traditional virtual desktops were difficult for companies to set up and manage. Whilst leveraging virtual desktops allows for flexible and remote working, the cost of installing and maintaining virtual desktops is often prohibitive to smaller businesses.

Azure Virtual Desktop overcomes many, if not all, of the disadvantages of traditional virtual desktops and brings additional benefits. This is where Microsoft AVD comes into its own.

Why should I consider Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD?)

AVD offers an affordable solution to all sizes of business. It offers the benefits of a traditional virtual desktop but without the downside of storage issues or prohibitive cost.

If a data centre runs out of storage space, users are not able to access their desktops – with Azure, this is not a problem. Whilst it is possible to utilise a data centre with large storage environments to host multiple virtual desktops, this can get expensive and introduce complexity.

Offering flexibility to your organisation and its end users, providing you with scalability and easy management, cost-savings and security, AVD provides a solution which is accessible and affordable to all businesses.

What is Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD)?

Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) is a desktop and application virtualisation service that runs on the Microsoft cloud. Many describe it as a desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) offering.

It is more than simply a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) as it provides a comprehensive, ready-to-use system of Azure virtual machines, templates, cloud services, and more. This means that Azure Virtual Desktop can handle a wide variety of company and user requirements.

What are the benefits of Azure Virtual Desktop?

AVD brings you a wealth of benefits:

Security: As data is stored in the cloud, security can be superior to physical desktop machines. If an endpoint device is stolen, it won’t contain any accessible data. AVD is backed by a team of experts and proactive compliance trusted by SME’s, enterprises and governments across the world.

Flexibility: IT administrators can quickly and easily allocate virtual desktops without the need to provide expensive physical machines. This can be particularly useful if you have different user requirements, perhaps in different departments. Users can also utilise their own devices, and for freelancers who may only need a device for a relatively short time, this makes a lot of sense. AVD can be a very flexible and cost-effective solution. There is also a commitment to open source and support for all languages and frameworks, so it is possible to build your systems how you want and deploy where and when you want, too.

Cost: Due to the reduction in physical equipment requirement and maintenance, AVD can be significantly more cost-effective than multiple physical desktops. Physical hardware can have limited life cycles, often caused by storage and processing power restrictions. Due to the easy management, individual user down time is also reduced. The cost structure of AVD is flexible too, offering a pay-by-the-minute, pay-as-you-go basis, allowing you to scale up and down resources as required.

Easy management: Either an internal or external IT department can easily manage a large number of Azure Virtual Desktops from a central location. Software updates are also faster and easier because they can all be done at once instead of individually, often causing user downtime.

Computing power: Users don’t require devices with large storage capabilities or processing power, as the Azure cloud provides it all.

Scalability: Azure virtualises your desktops and applications, delivering it to as many users as you need, optimising cost, flexibility and security. In addition, storage capabilities are endless, so however large your requirements are, AVD will be able to cope. Continuous innovation from Microsoft supports your development today, and your requirements for tomorrow.

Is there a difference between Azure Virtual Desktop and Windows Virtual Desktop?

Azure Virtual Desktop is Microsoft’s next-generation offering, and the changed name better outlines the offering’s expanding capabilities. AVD still provides customers with a solid foundation upon which to build its cloud-based virtualised desktop infrastructure (VDI) and desktop as a service (DaaS) services for users.

This is not to be confused with Microsoft’s Windows 365 (previously Microsoft Office 365) which doesn’t have the fully customisable options offered by AVD. Windows 365 subscriptions are managed by Microsoft with fixed costs, whereas Azure Virtual Desktop is entirely customer-managed (internally or via an external provider, such as Mintivo) with flexible consumption-based pricing.

How can Mintivo help?

Utilising Mintivo to help with the planning and implementation of Azure Virtual Desktop can enable you to take your organisation to the next level, saving money and increasing capabilities. Discussing with you your current and future plans, we can help you create a system that will benefit your business and all end users.

If you would like to discuss whether the benefits of AVD are right for your business, get in contact with us today and one of our team can talk you through the options and how we can help.

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