What Is Virtual Desktop?

Virtual desktop is a broad term relating to using outside resources – either on the cloud or on-premises servers – to host an end user’s computer, memory, operating system, applications, and files.

Virtual desktops have the potential to save your company money and improve your security and reliability, but the on-premises solutions add complexity that you need to manage. As such, traditional VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) solutions are being quickly replaced by cloud solutions like Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD).

Here’s how Virtual Desktops work:

  1. An employee logs into their local workstation and opens a “Remote Desktop” application specifically designed for their VDI.
  2. The application provides access to the employee’s remote desktop as well as specifically assigned individual applications.
  3. The employee then clicks on the desktop icon and the virtual desktop opens.
  4. From there, it’s just as if they were working on their local device.
  5. When the employee is done, they shut down the desktop or application and their work is saved remotely.

Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) Vs Traditional Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)?

So, what’s the difference between VDI and WVD?

Traditional VDI solutions were on-premises and required more continuous technical oversight to protect and secure your data.

WVD is an Azure service that integrates with Azure AD and deploys the virtual desktops in Azure. WVD leverages all the technology that’s built into the Azure cloud. It requires significantly less ongoing IT support and oversight and is protected by Microsoft’s security.

Why Use Virtual Desktops (WVD Or VDI)?

Reduced Technical Oversight Burden

If you’re already using VDI today, you understand the value of virtual environments. Moving to the Azure cloud and WVD lets you reduce or eliminate many of the technical aspects of managing a traditional VDI environment. It also allows you to freeze future hardware purchases necessary to host the VDI.

Your job goes from managing the VDI environment to simply managing users, images, and virtual applications. Your dollars go directly to providing the services your users need instead of buying and maintaining equipment.

Reduced Risk Of Data Loss Or Leakage

If you’re not using VDI or WVD today, you can gain additional control and security of your data by keeping it in networks you control. In other words, employees can only work with your business’ data when doing so inside of virtual desktops inside your secure IT environment.

This is different from VPN solutions which simply connect devices from outside of your network to the inside. VPNs may let your data leave your network, and possibly even reside on devices your company doesn’t own and control. This could lead to a loss of the data, which some would consider your most valuable asset.

Moving to WVD or a traditional VDI means that:

  • Data is no longer stored on remote devices, and never leaves your secure controlled environment. It’s as if your employee is sitting at a desk inside your network.
  • A physical device crash no longer means big impacts to your business continuity. Your employee can connect to their virtual desktop from another device and work with minimal interruption.

Lengthen The Useful Life Of Your Hardware

WVD Device Savings Comparison Chart

WVD also allows you to extend the use of your end-user devices longer than traditionally estimated. Because the processing is done in Azure, your devices need less processing power and memory.

Older devices will continue to work for longer, and new purchases can be of less expensive equipment. You can extend a 3-5 year replacement cycle even longer.

For example – A company with 500 users typically buys a new computer ($2,000) for employees every 3-5 years ($1,000,000 total each cycle)

For companies with BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies, the cost to hardware may be eliminated. For those who do not, they can achieve significant savings buying less expensive devices.

The increase in Azure spending for this company may be roughly $11,000 a month. The same $1,000,000 would pay for WVD for over 90 months or 7.5 years!

What Are The Challenges Of Using Virtual Desktop?

Virtual desktop has a lot of benefits – but it’s not without its share of challenges. Here are a few things to consider before widespread adoption of virtual desktops in your organization:

  • Virtual desktop (whether it’s a traditional VDI or new WVD environment) is a paradigm shift for most employees. The rollout of virtual desktops requires management around adoption and training.
  • Moving to cloud platforms like Azure requires different security policies. Organizations with little exposure to the cloud need help making sure they implement cloud services properly.
  • There are technical aspects to WVD; your team needs to understand Azure and be proficient with PowerShell for example.
  • Not every application can be virtualized and just work. There are deployment and testing processes needed to ensure your users can work.

How HMB Can Help Implement Your Virtual Desktop Solution

HMB has experience with both traditional VDI and the newer Azure WVD solution. We can help you decide which platform is best for you and efficiently deploy the solution for your organization.

We can help you pick the right technology and manage the business impacts on your people and processes. We’ve found that organizations that focus just on the technology have challenges with user adoption and run into IT support problems. These problems can undermine the entire implementation.

Virtual Desktops can help you reduce costs, improve security, and improve the quality of life of your employees. HMB is a Gold Azure Cloud Partner and we’re ready to help you with all aspects of a WVD rollout.

Finally, If you want to offer the service, but don’t have the resources to maintain it, HMB has the resources and experience in managing the day-to-day operations and enhancements of your WVD environment.