Skip to content

Blog Post: What is Azure Virtual Desktop? The features and benefits of AVD

4 minutes read

Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD), formerly Windows Virtual Desktop, is Microsoft’s virtual desktop environment that provides Windows 10/11 multi-session, virtualised desktops and applications, across multi-devices, in the cloud.

Simply spin up and scale-out Windows Desktops

Using AVD you can quickly spin up and scale-out Windows desktops in Azure, within minutes, right from the Azure Portal. Once a desktop profile has been created you can then allow users to connect directly to the resources that are published to them, in a secure and controlled manner.

Secure, manage & control user access

The desktops are created by the IT department, and the applications that are made available to users can be restricted, depending on the user group that they belong to, or depending on user access rights and permissions. Secured, by default, so access is through a Microsoft hosted platform, which allows connections through a web application gateway, managed by IT.

Microsoft security features

As Azure Virtual Desktop is a managed virtual desktop service, delivered by Microsoft, it includes many built-in advanced security features, such as Reverse Connect, which reduces the risk involved with having remote desktops accessible from anywhere. Microsoft makes a series of Azure Virtual Desktop security best practice recommendations to ensure that your data is secure, such as enabling multi-factor authentication, endpoint protection and conditional access control.

Choose the best approach for your application requirements

Azure is a turnkey delivery platform for modern applications that offers a broad range of managed services for all application scenarios, allowing you to choose the best approach for your cloud-native applications.

Why you should consider Azure Virtual Desktop:

  • Platform of your choice: Connect from any device of your choice Microsoft Windows, MacOS/iOS, HTML5, Android, and Linux – which is coming soon!
  • Windows differentiation: Like-local Microsoft Windows experience. Extensive support for devices.
  • Enhanced protocol: Support for Windows Hello for Business, dynamically adapts to bandwidth utilisation.
  • Containerised User Profiles: Containerized user profiles (FSLogix) with fast VHD load times.
  • Native Office 365 performance: Uncompromised Microsoft Office 365 email and calendar performance with real-time Outlook search. Persistent and non-persistent environments.
  • Microsoft Teams enhancements: Best conferencing and media experience with multimedia redirection capability and high-performance, low latency audio and video calling.

Benefits of AVD to enable your remote workforce:

  • Azure Virtual Desktop offers an exceptionally cost-effective and seamless way to move to Azure, or support your hybrid environment, to enable your remote workforce.
  • AVD enables your employees to stay productive, with a full virtualised experience across multiple devices, from virtually anywhere, as if they would be, with a physical PC sitting at the office.
  • You can simplify your management and access to data, and reduce the costs and resources associated with managing on-premises infrastructure.

Key benefits for using Azure Virtual Desktop for remote workers:

  • Bring your own device: Remote employees can securely access company resources from their own unmanaged devices.
  • Device cost: Run programs inexpensively from your devices, like thin clients, Chromebooks, and NUCs.
  • Virtualisation: Reduce unused processing power based on the user’s and team’s needs.
  • Whitelisted access: Create virtual workspaces securely with Azure Virtual Desktop and Azure NAT Gateway.
  • No VPN slowdown: By migrating to Azure Virtual Desktop, you gain more scalability for crisis events.
  • Working remotely: Azure Virtual Desktop allows you to easily work from home.

Opex model – Cost-optimised infrastructure

Eliminate the high overheads associated with managing expensive on-premise infrastructure; instead of investing in, supporting and managing on-premise infrastructure, built for maximum demand, Azure utilises an opex model, with costs that are aligned to business usage, and payments made monthly based on operational capacity needs. As with most cloud environments, this offers you the benefit of being able to burst in and out of the cloud, based upon capacity and resource demands.

Are you already eligible for Azure Virtual Desktop?

With Microsoft offering Cost-advantaged licensing, many customers are already eligible for Azure Virtual Desktop licenses. Azure Virtual Desktop management service is included with the licenses* most Microsoft customers own.

Customers are eligible to access Windows 10 and Windows 7 with Azure Virtual Desktop (Azure Virtual Desktop) if they have one of the following licenses*:

  • Microsoft 365 E3/A3
  • Microsoft 365 E5/A5
  • Microsoft 365 F1
  • Microsoft 365 Business
  • Windows 10 Enterprise E3/E5
  • Windows 10 Education A3/A5
  • Windows 10 VDA per user

*Customers can access Azure Virtual Desktop from their non-Windows Pro endpoints if they have a Microsoft 365 E3/E5, Microsoft 365 A3/A5 or Windows 10 VDA per-user license.

If you are interested in learning more about how a Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop environment could help simplify, control and secure access for your users, whilst saving you money on managing on-premise infrastructure services, please contact us today to discuss how our experienced team of Microsoft consultants can be of further assistance. You can also listen to our recent Microsoft Azure Podcast here.

Want to know more?

Contact us today to explore how our tailored solutions can align with your business priorities.