Well today is the Windows Virtual Desktop Master Class and that means loads of announcements. So for a quick round up of the key points:
30% discount for new customers up until March 31st 2021
This is a great opportunity, especially in the current circumstances to enable Windows Virtual Desktop and make a significant saving on the computing costs for all D-series and Bs-series Session Hosts for upto 90 days.
This offer is only available to new WVD Customers, but it signifies a great cost saving for organisations who are looking to implement a secure remote working solution for the staff and contractors. More details on this can be found here
Microsoft Certified – Windows Virtual Desktop Specialty
I am really pleased to see this certification being announced, as Windows Virtual Desktop is one of the major solutions which organisations will be using to dip their toes into Microsoft Azure. The certification will be covering planning, delivering, and managing virtual desktop experiences and remote apps with WVD. Its aimed for Subject Matter Experts, but will cover not only Azure administrators but also the Microsoft 365 administrators.
The certification will require the AZ-140 Exam, which will be availble soon in Beta with the certification becoming available in March 2021.
More details on the certification can be found here
These announcements were initially released at Ignite in September last year, and we are now seeing them enter Public Preview after a few months in private preview. With these announcements it continues to show how much Windows Virtual Desktop has grown as a product and how much it is continuing to grow and develop.
Azure Monitor for Windows Virtual Desktop
I don’t care what anyone says this is the feature I have been waiting for the longest and something that in my opinion has been letting Windows Virtual Desktop down. This gives a fantastic insights for administrators, who can now have a centralised view of all the monitoring telemetry and different visualisations that are needed to debug and troubleshoot issues.
This is something that has been one of the key elements of solutions like Citrix and VMware Horizon, so to see WVD getting these insights and views is fantastic and to have them centralised within Azure Monitor is even better, allowing administrators to quickly dive in and troubleshoot issues.
Screen Capture Protection
This may not seem like a big announcement, but to give the ability to protect data within sessions is something which will benefit a number of organsiations, especially those who work with sensitive data, such as the legal sector.
This feature disables the abiltiy to perform a screen capture on Remote Apps and Desktops.
MSIX app attach in the Azure portal
Having to perform MSIX app attach via powershell would of caused a few issues for some administrators in the past and would put the majority off using the MSIX format. By releasing this feature to allow the ability to use MSIX app attach in the Azure Portal, will see an uptake in the format.
The advantage of MSIX App Attach is that you can keep you Gold Image as standardised as possible, without having to install a number of heavy apps onto your gold image. WIth applications being able to be dynamically attached to user sessions. More details
RDP short path
When RDP short path was first announced I was trying to think of examples where it could become useful, examples that came to mind were Enterprise organisations with ExpressRoute connections primarily where this would be a major benefit. But as I read up more about the feature, it became apparent that actually there were a few more benefits and not just for those enterprise clients.
With the capability to reduce the dependencies on the Windows Virtual Desktop Gateway, this improves the reliability and increases the bandwidth available for each user session. This also helps improve the user experience with latency sensitve applications and input methods, and finally the ability to then use Quality of Service to priorities for RDP connections, makes this something attractive to look at for customers looking for better user experience and security.
There is loads of details on RDP Short Path and how to configure it here
Microsoft Defender for Endpoint Integration
This is the big announcement today which is the integration of Microsoft Defender for Endpoint into Windows Virtual Desktop Session Hosts. This gives you the same level of investigation available on a Windows 10 Desktop but in a Windows 10 Enterprise Multi Session WVD environment.
With support up to 50 concurrent user sessions, it gives you the confidence that your multi session will be as secure and protected as your desktop estate.
More details on this can be found here
If you haven’t managed to jump on to the Windows Virtual Desktop Master Class you can deep dive into all of these announcements here