By Fredrik Brattstig @virtualbrat
The last few months has been hectic for sure. I have been visiting Microsoft HQ twice, I have set up a Microsoft Azure Windows Virtual Desktop environment. Delivering IGEL UMS and ICG in Azure. Loads of time in meetings, discussions and POV setup’s for potential customers. Spending time discussing implementations, features and functions with Mr. Kalberg (IGEL Technology US Technical Evangelist). It has been very inspiring and fun at the same time.
You know that Windows Virtual Desktop went GA end of September 2019, right? What you maybe don’t know is that IGEL is about to go GA with a software implementation for Windows Virtual Desktop. We are in pre-stage, a few functions are missing, but it is reliable, stable and high performance. Well what’s the special thing with this you might ask. I’m about to tell you. But first some history.
IGEL Technology has been supporting RDP for ages. There has though been a drawback, IGEL OS is Linux based and Microsoft has never ever created a linux based RDP client. IGEL has implemented the open source FreeRDP, made modifications and had a functional and performant RDP client. But it hasn’t been embraced by Microsoft. It has always been behind in the evolution of RDP and offered functions. Microsoft releases xyz, a few days/weeks later freeRDP implements the same features. There is nothing wrong with that. All has been working well.
Microsoft has created a Daas and Saas offering in their own cloud offering. This is called Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD). WVD offers Multiuser Windows 10 machines, as well as Windows 7 desktop with extended free support. It also supports windows server workloads for RDP session. Multiuser Windows 10 offers possibilities to have multiple users using the same Windows 10 machine simultaneously. The benefit here is that apps that are certified for Windows 10, but not for Windows server has in the past when looking at VDI been restricted to Windows VDI. Windows VDI is a 1:1 solution. One user, one machine. Now with the multisession, it’s a 1:X solution. Many users, one machine. Microsoft also decided to release extended free support to Windows 7, as long as you run your machines in Azure. This allows your legacy apps to still function, even if you move over to where the future will be. Compute and desktop in the cloud, in this case in Microsoft Azure
What’s the benefit?
Starting to look at the cloud, initially it might seem that “heck, this is going to be a expensive journey”. A 2vCPU, 8 GB Windows 10 Virtual Machine (VM) cost about 70$ per month. With those 70$ you will have the possibility to host, I would say, up to 4 users. If you want to add more users to the same machine, you can scale up the VM, which will be a almost linear, a bit decreasing, cost increase. Meaning that the amount of $ per user stays about the same. Bear in mind. Those 70$ includes everything you need. It includes internet access, it includes the cost it would bring if running on-premises in terms of cooling, security, data center maintenance, storage racks, networking, it admins, server hardware, Windows licenses, RDP CAL’s (well, on the latest if you have a subscription of Office 365 or some other licenses (Ref: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/details/virtual-desktop/ ), depending on agreement) then you are entitled to use WVD and mainly pay for Azure consumption) probably this will reduce the 70$ in this example. Does it include anything else, that you might not think about? Yes, it does. It contains Freedom! Everyone wants to have freedom. What kind of freedom are we talking about? The freedom to easily access your personal corporate workspace no matter where you are. You might be in the office, you might be at home, day or night, you might have the benefit, and disadvantage 🙂 as I do of traveling a lot in your job. No matter where you are you have access to your personal desktop. This is also included. This is valuable stuff. Believe me, I know. This is how I live.
The market leader, and product owner of the mostly used corporate desktop solution has embraced Windows in the cloud. This is a great step for mankind.