Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop To Become Complete ‘Cloud PC’ With Multi-Session, Server-Grade RDS And Apps?

Microsoft’s Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) is shaping up to be a comprehensive and robust Windows 10 virtualization platform. Running on the Azure Remote Enterprise-grade Cloud server infrastructure, the WVD could eventually offer a complete PC experience. Virtually indistinguishable from local PC, the WVD Cloud PC will be able to offer all the services, apps, and office productivity software, indicates the new updates Microsoft has planned.

Windows Virtual Desktop, a desktop and app virtualization service running in Azure, launched for the general public in September 2019. The platform is by far one of the biggest and most comprehensive ones. The MS WVD essentially offers multi-session Windows 10 Office, MS Office 365 Pro Plus, and supports Remote Desktop Services (RDS) environments. Simply put, the MS WVD has the capability to become a complete PC in the Cloud SaaS platform.

Microsoft To Roll Out Several New Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) Features As Part Of Its Spring Refresh:

Microsoft highlighted three WVD features coming in May 2020. These were listed on its Microsoft 365 roadmap, which constitutes the Spring Refresh program. These features have been in testing among a group of Private Preview Customers. Interestingly, Microsoft has scheduled the general availability of the new features immediately after a private preview.

Microsoft has made the WVD management experience quite seamless and powerful by enabling WVD deployment through the Azure Portal. The platform immediately opens up users of the PC in the Cloud users to several powerful features. The WVD platform allows users to set up host pools, manage apps and desktops and assign users all from within the portal.

To make the WVD platform even more enterprise and collaboration friendly, Microsoft is adding better Microsoft Teams support using A/V redirection for video calling. Moreover, the company will be adding location choice for their service data for compliance and sovereignty purposes. The main features that Microsoft added to the Windows Virtual Desktop are explained as follows:

  • Updated management experience—Microsoft is introducing new management experience deeply integrated into the Azure Portal. You can set up host pools, manage applications or desktops, and assign users—all from the Azure Portal. Microsoft has also improved the auto-scaling experience through integration with Azure Automation and Azure Logic Apps.
  • Compliance and security—Windows Virtual Desktop is already available worldwide and today we are giving users choice on where to store the service data to meet your regulatory and compliance needs. Releasing support for service databases distributed across Azure regions for regulatory and compliance needs of data residency—service metadata can be distributed across the U.S. and Europe, with additional regions coming soon. In addition, Microsoft announced the following security improvements.
    • Ability to add groups of users to Windows Virtual Desktop using Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) groups.
    • Support for static or dynamic conditional access policies.
    • Support for mandating multi-factor authentication (MFA).
    • Windows Virtual Desktop integration with Azure role-based access control (RBAC) and analytics for greater administrative control over user permissions.
    • Ability to choose the geography you want to store your service metadata for the best possible regulatory compliance and performance.
  • Upcoming support for Microsoft Teams—Microsoft will be improving Teams experience on Windows Virtual Desktop. Microsoft will be using “A/V redirection” for video calling. This will create a direct path between your users when sharing video, significantly improving the video and audio experience. This feature will be available within a month in Public Preview.
  • Microsoft is releasing a new Windows Virtual Desktop SDK to its development partners to support the creation of Linux-based thin clients.

Microsoft Readying A Permanent, Virtual, Remote Cloud Location To Run Windows 10 As A Virtual Machine With All Relevant Apps and Software?

Microsoft 365 Corporate Vice President Brad Anderson has indicated that the update schedule will be slightly different as compared to the regular Windows 10. There will not be a Fall Update after the Spring Refresh. In other words, Microsoft will add new WVD features on a rolling basis, once they’re ready to go. This method has been adopted for the Microsoft 365 subscription-based office productive suite.

Speaking about the enhanced WVD and its Azure backbone, Anderson claimed, “There’s a need for users to work on any device, anywhere in the world. There’s a change in how working remotely is viewed. It’s permanent. And the ability to spin up and down capacity on demand is increasing in importance. Microsoft’s goal is to make the PC in the cloud a first-class citizen. It needs to be as fast, productive, and secure in the home as it is in the office.”

Alap Naik Desai
A B.Tech Plastics (UDCT) and a Windows enthusiast. Optimizing the OS, exploring software, searching and deploying solutions to strange and weird issues is Alap's main interest.

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