What is AVD?
For short, Azure Virtual Desktop, or AVD, is a modern VDI platform (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) operated on Azure: a modern workstation on a personalized interface, used as in the office but accessible from anywhere. It is possible to call up business applications from any device and thus gain access to business data.
AVD's goal is to provide a secure desktop environment that scales flexibly to the customer's needs and can be easily maintained. Especially in the current time, when most people work increasingly mainly in a home office, such technologies are invaluable.
AVD can be used, for example, to replace a terminal server infrastructure previously operated in the local data centre. But not only servers also client operating systems can be made available to users. In other words, a Windows 10 or Windows 11 Enterprise multi-session OS might provide a virtual client, which, if integrated into Microsoft Endpoint Manager (formerly Intune), can automatically be populated with software and policies, just like a physical client. The big advantage? Users have access to an environment they already know from their laptops or workstations.
There are not many changes on the client-side, and the user can use his tools and data as usual. In addition, it is possible to access the environment from various devices, even via a web browser. Putting it in another way: the personalized environment is accessible from a tablet or smartphone and thus from anywhere in the world. The result? Incredible flexibility for the end-user without giving up access to the familiar environment.
Furthermore, the administrator has various advantages to switch to a virtual environment. The so-called host pools can be scaled as required, and updates or problem fixes carried out in parallel while the machines are running. How? The administrator can assign the users to the available session hosts in a targeted manner.
Why should I use AVD?
As mentioned above, AVD offers various possibilities to set up a workstation for the end-users in simple steps, providing remote work in a secure environment. The following sections will highlight other areas explaining why this service could also be worthwhile to your company.
AVD can efficiently help handle BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) topics. Whether employees want to work on a Windows, Mac, iOS, Android device or even access it via a web browser using HTML5 is irrelevant. An installable client and a web client exist for the mentioned operating systems. Working on a complete desktop or integrating only single applications into the local environment, both scenarios are possible with AVD. Thus, users have a wide range of options at their disposal to organize their work efficiently and conveniently.
Integration with all Office Apps
Similarly to their local desktops or laptops, users are automatically logged in to all Office products with their O365 user within the AVD environment, guaranteeing continuous working and optimal collaboration with colleagues. Whether writing an email, participating in a Teams meeting or sharing data with someone via OneDrive - everything works perfectly fine with AVD.
And what about security? It does not suffer in any of the above cases. The virtual environment seamlessly integrates with Azure's well-known security mechanisms to provide comprehensive protection. Through integration with Azure AD (whether hybrid-joined or Azure AD only joined), measures like conditional access and MFA (multi-factor authentication) are easily implemented, just as on a physical client. The virtual clients can also be integrated into Intune and thus receive the same applications and compliance guidelines as their hardware-based counterparts.
Scaling / Costs
If business requirements change or suddenly more or fewer people need a workstation, it's not a problem with AVD. The AVD resources can be adapted to the needs in no time at all. Moreover, the leverage of the existing Microsoft 365 or Windows pro user licenses makes the use of AVD even more attractive. The best of it? Only the used resources are charged at the end of the month.
GrabX has developed the WVD tool (you can tell by the name that it's a bit older 😉 ), which uses auto-scale to ensure that session hosts are available as soon as needed and shut down again as quickly as possible.
In the meantime, Azure has implemented a similar feature: scaling plan. This feature makes it possible to automatically start and stop session hosts based on a schedule according to the demand.
These points guarantee efficient use of resources and the lowest possible cost.
The AVD environment is managed centrally via the Azure Portal. Just a few steps are needed to set up an entire environment. Whether network settings need to be adjusted, additional users need access, other desktop apps need to be made available, or new security measures are required, little effort is required to ensure each of these tasks.
Finally, with Azure Shared Image Gallery, the images are managed efficiently. The versioning of the individual templates provides a good overview of the changes, and updates are rolled out effortlessly.
Would you like to learn more about AVD and the added value it could bring to your company? Don't hesitate to contact us! We will be happy to advise you without any obligation.