As a DaaS offering, Azure Desktop as a Service is highly cost-effective compared to scaling up a traditional virtual desktop environment in your own data center. With the business disruption during COVID-19, companies were trying to find ways to extend their remote work infrastructure while keeping their operating expenses low. Companies already on a Microsoft ecosystem, such as Windows 10 Enterprise or Microsoft 365, had additional incentives to make the shift; I will explain why further down.
Another driver for AVD during this time is that it lets organizations control apps and data while allowing their employees to access those resources from their own devices. This is something that a traditional VDI/RDS environment can also provide. However, the cost advantage of AVD, when combined with security and control, creates a winning combination.
If IT decision-makers consider the end-user benefit, another reason to choose AVD is the superior experience of Windows 10 and Office 365 that it can provide. The right user experience increases productivity. You don’t want to frustrate your valuable employees with a clunky experience while they work from home. Now, let’s explore what makes AVD a robust offering that could have sustainable growth even after more employees return to the office.
The Azure Advantage
With AVD, the infrastructure and management components of a traditional on-premises virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) disappear into the cloud—just like a dinosaur-shaped cloud merges back into indescribable formations on the backdrop of the beautiful blue sky on a sunny day. (Read my post on Windows Server/SQL Server end life for more dinosaur metaphors.) Thanks to this merging, Microsoft is taking back critical components of a traditional VDI—such as brokering, load-balancing, compute, storage, and diagnostics—from your plate, which will let your precious IT talent focus on other strategic areas with growth potential.
Hosting your desktops on Azure also means you get Azure’s state-of-the-art security features. I believe Azure is considered the most secure public cloud platform, and AVD provides the best DaaS security model for customers. With AVD, users can only access their virtual machines (VMs) by going through the Azure Active Directory authentication system. This means companies can use multifactor authentication and conditional access according to their needs and depending on the employee profile. Also, Azure uses reverse connect technology that lets you run a VM without keeping any inbound ports open. This means that the VMs on AVD are not exposed to the Internet directly.
Windows 10 Multisession
Unlike the traditional RDI, Azure Virtual Desktop allows multiple sessions on a Windows 10 VM. This means that an organization can have multiple users access the same virtual machine while reducing the cost of maintaining multiple VM licenses. Also, these sessions are isolated from each other, which gives higher security and privacy.