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Everything to Know About Cloud VDI and Azure Virtual Desktop

Everything to Know About Cloud VDI and Azure Virtual Desktop

By now, most of us have experienced some form of remote work, whether it was during the height of the pandemic or now in the midst of the hybrid work renaissance. Though economic uncertainty has prompted some organizations to insist on a return to the office, 72% of companies already use or intend to use completely hybrid work models – including 63% of high-growth organizations. 

Cloud Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is essential to supporting remote work or hybrid work models and the associated digital dependency. Cloud VDIs can help improve employee efficiency and data security, and deliver employee access to critical company resources, networks and applications on-demand. 

Globally, the VDI market is anticipated to hit $19.8 billion by 2031, up from $9 billion in 2021. This is driven by the need to cost-effectively manage and scale the infrastructure requirements necessary to maintain business-as-usual in hybrid and remote work environments. 

Adoption of cloud VDI solutions will only grow as more employees demand flexible work experiences and the work-life balance offered by hybrid and remote models. Recent research indicates that 85% of employees feel that hybrid models are non-negotiable, but just 51% think that their organization is leveraging the best tools to support remote and hybrid work.

Organizations must deploy the right tools to address common challenges associated with remote and hybrid work models while ensuring a stellar, safe employee experience.

Cloud Virtual Desktop Infrastructure makes it possible.

What is Cloud Virtual Desktop Infrastructure?

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is a type of desktop virtualization that uses virtual machines on a centralized server to enable employees to work from anywhere. Cloud VDI is a type of Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) that is hosted by a third-party vendor.

Cloud VDI allows employees to work from home and still connect to the corporate network and access services and applications without the need for a virtual private network (VPN). Cloud VDI technology has become increasingly critical for hybrid and remote workers, medical professionals, field technicians, and other types of professionals to access a virtual desktop from multiple locations. 

A desktop operating system, like Microsoft Windows, hosts VDI in virtual machines running on a host server. Basically, this allows a company to provide desktops, data, and applications to their employees or users as an internet service. This frees employees to work on a computer, smartphone or tablet without being physically present in an office or work setting.

Cloud VDI is an attractive software solution for many organizations because it offers advantages that include:

  • A scalable infrastructure that minimizes hardware requirements, which in turn provides cost savings.
  • The ability to enforce a company’s policies, security position and access privileges on users.
  • The ability to terminate a user’s device connectivity in the case of theft or corruption.
  • A management structure that’s centralized, which enables updates, patches or modifications to be executed at once in a solitary time.
  • Saves and backs up all components in a data center to support disaster recovery.
  • Offers a better, unified employee and user experience and efficient remote access to anything needed to work effectively from home.
  • Can be implemented for use cases like call centers efficiency improvement, or providing third-party access to business partners.

Remote Access: VDI vs VPN

The question of VDI or virtual private network (VPN) often comes into play when organizations are attempting to optimize hybrid or remote work experiences. Essentially, both VPN and VDI deliver access to required systems. But the approach is completely different; below is a quick comparison of VPN and cloud VDI. 

VPN provides access to necessary data, applications and files by connecting a user’s computer to an organization’s corporate network. 

  • Usually demands a client, requisite software on the local computer or device, along with credentials to enable work in a localized environment. 
  • Any device that requires access needs the appropriate configuration and a high quality internet connection. 
  • Might require more initial work, including establishing a client on the user’s machine for network access, and two-factor authentication. 
  • Need to ensure the users and machines using a company’s VPN are trustworthy, which is often accomplished via enterprise-deployed hardware that’s adapted to the specific company specifications.
  • Files can be saved locally, but data movement is limited.
  • Is often used to support more offline workloads, such as for employees who frequently travel with undependable internet access.

Cloud VDI provides access to necessary data, applications, software, processing, and files by connecting a user to a virtual desktop in the organization’s corporate network. 

  • Connection can be streamlined to a group of credentials and a single application.
  • Can swiftly provide a virtual working environment to users with the proper credentials, but is dependent on a robust internet connection.
  • Company maintains control over the virtual machine, which can help promote compliance regarding data storage.
  • Files are limited to the organization’s network, though there’s ways to move files.
  • Is often used to support field work as it delivers complete virtual machine functionality. 

A common challenge that occurs when a company is optimizing their infrastructure to support remote or hybrid work is that if they choose the remote access VPN route, there usually isn’t capacity to support the entire organization. A hardware-dependent VPN system may also be difficult and costly to procure depending on the vendor’s availability and lead times. 

These are just a couple examples of considerations that must factor into an organization’s remote or hybrid work model strategy.

What is Azure Virtual Desktop?

Azure Virtual Desktop, formerly Windows Virtual Desktop, offers controlled, safe virtual desktops and remote apps via a cloud VDI platform. It combines Azure and Microsoft 365 and is the sole virtual desktop interface that supports multi-session Windows 11 and Windows 10.

Azure Virtual Desktop aims to address some of the traditional roadblocks to using virtual desktop solutions. Mainly, the complexity of setting up and managing the solution, and the expansive server infrastructure that was needed to run it. These challenges, and limited internal resources, often prevented small and medium companies from adopting these solutions. 

Some of the benefits and features of Azure Virtual Desktop include: 

  • Simple scalability of virtual desktops according to the amount of users.
  • Minimal infrastructure is needed to run a distributed team.
  • Employees can be provided the complete desktop experience or just particular virtual apps.
  • Virtual servers are paid for only when virtual desktops are on.
  • A single interface provides diagnostics and monitoring, delegated user access, and deployment and management of virtual desktop and apps.
  • A complete desktop virtualization can be established without the need to run gateway servers.
  • Host pools can be published for various workloads, and any image can be brought for production workloads.
  • Desktops and apps can be easily managed from different Windows and Windows Server operating systems.
  • Reduce overhead costs with combined multi-session resources. 
  • Automatically scale capacity according to demand, or the specific day of the week or time of day.
  • Requires an active subscription on Azure, an identity provider, the right licenses, and a remote desktop client. 

The amount of users, usage patterns, and requisite software all factor into Azure Virtual Desktop pricing:

  • One or more session hosts, or an Azure Virtual Machine, for virtual desktop hosting. 
  • A domain controller for user access and session host management. 
  • User profile disk storage, as user profiles are centrally stored and linked to the specific session host the user is assigned to at any given time.
  • Licensing is required for Windows 10 and 11 Enterprise, FSLogix, and MS Office (if applicable).

A strategic approach to Azure Virtual Desktop can help organizations determine if it’s the right solution for their unique business requirements and hybrid or remote work model. Azure Virtual Desktop Service, delivered by a Gold Tier Microsoft Partner, offers complete guidance to optimize Azure Virtual Desktop implementation and deployment. 

CloudServus’s Virtual Desktop Service can streamline the integration of Azure Virtual Desktop into your existing technology stack while maximizing potential cost savings associated with Microsoft licensing and your Azure subscription. Our experienced Azure experts also perform an extensive audit of your infrastructure and systems for a seamless technology transition that mitigates disruption. 

Kickstart Your Azure Virtual Desktop Journey

Cloud Virtual Desktop Infrastructure is an essential ingredient of successful hybrid and remote work model practices. With the cost benefits, high performance and simplicity offered by Azure Virtual Desktop, organizations of all sizes can leverage a leading cloud VDI solution built for almost any use case.  

Contact CloudServus to kickstart your modernization journey with Azure Virtual Desktop and begin optimizing your cloud-driven workplace technology. 

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