A flexible cloud platform suitable for the remote workplace


No one could have predicted the global pandemic – which forced millions of workers to leave offices and work from home. Organisations worldwide had to migrate fast to the newly adopted infrastructure- migrating apps and data to cloud rapidly, to gain migrating business agility over the new work environment, supporting the newly adopted remote workforce. Now, organisations must adopt and support an evolving set of remote/hybrid work scenarios.


Many users turned to Windows Virtual Desktop to supply users with a secure, easy to navigate, personal computing experience with Windows 10 to cloud.


What is AVD?


Azure Virtual Desktop is a desktop and application virtualisation service that runs on the Microsoft Azure cloud. AVD allows you to have a scalable virtual desktop environment or published virtual application tailored around your business. Azure Virtual Desktop supports Windows 10 multi-session, Windows 10 single-session, Windows 7 single-session, Windows Server 2012 R2 and newer operating systems.


AVD gives you the option to use individually assigned Virtual Desktops on a one-to-one basis or have multiple users on the same desktop at the same time.


It allows multiple machine groups, for example you may require a desktop for the finance department running Sage, and for the Sales department running a CRM system. You don’t have to have just one desktop for all members of staff. These users can be split into separate groups with each getting their own desktop with different specifications If required. This gives you the ability to make sure each desktop has the applications and performance the users need. It also allows you to better control costs through VM sizing and uptime.


What’s new?


Microsoft continually adds new capabilities to the core AVD platform.


Enhanced support for Azure Active Directory coming soon


Azure Active Directory is a critical service used by organisations to manage user access to apps and data, maintaining strong security controls. Users will soon be able to join AVD virtual machines directly to Azure Active Directory (AAD) connecting virtual machines from any device with basic credentials.


You’ll also be able to automatically enrol the virtual machines with Microsoft Endpoint Manager. For some scenarios, this will help eliminate the need for a domain controller, helping to reduce cost, therefore streamlining deployment. Further developments include support for single sign-on, additional credential types like FIDO2, and Azure Files for cloud users.


Further Key Benefits


☁️Cloud Desktop accessible anywhere

👩‍💻Run Windows 10 for a more familiar and compatible Operating system

💷Allows Multi Session capable hosts without server licensing costs

📑Licensing comes within Microsoft 365

💸Consumption based. If it is turned off, you don’t pay for the compute costs

⚖️Azure reliability, resiliency, and scale

📈Increase or decrease capacity at short notice and without big capital investment

📹Optimized for Teams video and audio calls (requires windows 10)

🖥Virtualise a full desktop or just an application


Using Azure Virtual Desktop couldn’t be easier. Users connect through either a Remote Desktop Connection application specifically for AVD or a HTML 5 web browser. Users can connect to full desktops or just published applications.


AVD has clients for the following operating systems


-Windows 10
-Android (Android 4.1 and Chrome OS 53 or later)
-MacOS (10.12 or later)
-iOS (13.0 or later)
-Thin Client (Windows 10 IOT)


Pricing examples


This Pricing example assumes required infrastructure is available and a hybrid Azure environment exists. It is based on 220 hours per month usage for 100 users with 90% peak concurrency. The operating system is Windows 10 Multi Session with 365 Apps. It uses a Heavy usage calculation:


-Power assumes 1 user per vCPU

-Heavy assumes 2 users per vCPU

-Medium assumes 4 users per vCPU

-Light assumes 6 users per vCPU


The Host VM Size is D4s v4 (4 vCPUs, 16GB RAM.) Based on the above, this gives us 8 users per VM, which requires 12 host VMs. The VM Storage for the Operating system is Premium SSD P10 (128GiB 500IOPS.) User profile storage is provided by Azure Files 1TB (LRS.) It’s assumed there will not be more than 5GB Internet Egress in the month.


💻Virtual Machines £436.81 Per month ÷ 100 Users = £4.37 Per user per month

💾Managed Disks £213.29 Per month ÷ 100 Users = £2.13 Per user per month

📁File Storage £134.32 Per month ÷ 100 Users = £1.34 Per user per month

️Bandwidth £0.00 Per month ÷ 100 Users = £0.00 Per user per month

💸Total Cost per User £784.42 Per month ÷ 100 Users = £7.84 Per user per month


The effective cost per user per month is £7.84 based on the above configuration. Actual costs may vary based on service usage. This does not include other Azure services that may be required or Microsoft 365 Licensing.


PTG have an in-house dedicated cloud practice team, with a team of Microsoft certified specialists. Our team aims to increase your productivity by making the most of your Microsoft apps and tools, and improving your organisation's efficiency, automation, security, and utilisation. Maximise your IT investments with the help of our cloud practice.


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