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Azure Virtual Desktop Infrastructure: An Ultimate Guide

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Managing your end-user devices wasn’t a core IT task until a few years ago. With anywhere, anytime working becoming the norm on a global scale, end-user device management has become a pressing IT challenge.

IT teams now deal with the necessity of a seamless means of ensuring that remote and hybrid employees have uninterrupted access to corporate data, keeping this data safe, and overall streamlining the IT infrastructure. Azure Virtual Desktop, formerly known as Windows Virtual Desktop, is one of the most popular cloud-first infrastructures that provide the promise of agility, security, and cost optimization. It boosts operational efficiency by helping enterprises eliminate heavy hardware requirements.

What is Virtual Desktop Infrastructure on Azure?

Even though remote and hybrid work accentuates the necessity of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), it is hardly the only use case for Azure VDI. Azure VDI helps enterprises take a secure and efficient approach to centrally managing their IT infrastructure, without compromising their end user productivity and data integrity. It is an easy as well as secure means to give your end users access to corporate data and applications on whatever device they want, wherever they choose to access it from.

In cloud computing, separating software from the hardware it runs on is called virtualization and in the process, creates virtual machines or VMs. VMs are fundamentally virtual computers whose hardware is defined by code. These VMs can be run on any hardware, which makes the technology especially useful for remote working. You can access these VMs from any device — personal computers, tablets, or smartphones.

How Does Azure VDI Work?

Let’s look at the many components of Azure VDI.

Host pools: These are the groups of VMs you use to deliver your virtual desktops to end users. End users can connect to any host in this pool.

Tenant: Tenant is an interface that you can use to manage your Azure VDI environment. Each tenant is a group of host pools. It enables you to assign end users and create service connections.

Tenant groups: Tenant groups come into play when you have multiple tenants.

App groups: App groups are groups of applications in a session host. They enable you to provide access to specific apps to specific end users.

End users: End users are the users who use virtual desktops or apps. In most cases, end users are your employees.

Benefits of Azure Virtual Desktops

The most common complaint about virtual desktop deployment was that these solutions were often complex and expensive, and a little cumbersome to set up. While larger businesses still could afford to deploy virtual desktops, small and medium-sized businesses most often did not have the resources for it. Azure Virtual Desktops made virtual desktops accessible and affordable for all kinds of businesses.

Easy Deployment and Configuration

Azure VDI makes deployment and configuration an extremely easy task by making everything accessible on a single interface. You can deploy and manage virtual desktops and assign users in the Azure Portal.

Cost Optimization

Azure VDI is cost-effective because you only pay for the virtual servers that your virtual desktops are on. It also helps you cut down on infrastructure costs.

Easy Flexibility

Compared to other services, Azure VDI doesn’t come with binding contractual terms. You can pick and choose which virtual apps you want to give access to; whether it’s the entire virtual desktop experience or any specific virtual apps.

Advanced Security

Azure VDI is built with the same security as Microsoft Azure. Microsoft is known to invest $1 bn a year in security and has over 3500 experts dedicated just to enhance its security features. Anyone choosing Azure virtual desktops stands to reap these benefits like identity management, backup, database security, and much more.

Enhanced Productivity

Azure virtual desktops enable you to create a flexible, digital, modern workplace, by allowing employees to access their work anywhere, anytime, on any device. It also seamlessly integrates with Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams to boost employee productivity.

Azure VDI Deployment Best Practices

Azure VDI is one of the best cloud-first infrastructure solutions for any organization that wants to scale and stay ahead in a fast-moving digital world. But Azure VDI works under a shared responsibility model, and it is imperative that organizations understand the nuances of this.
A shared responsibility model usually clearly details what responsibilities lie with Microsoft and what responsibilities lie with the organization that adopts the solution.

Choose the Best VMs

Azure provides a range of virtual machines with a range of computational capabilities. It would be prudent to have a demo or test-drive of these VMs to find out the best options that align with your business requirements. Once you figure out the best VM that gives you the best outcome at the lowest cost, you can adopt it to reduce costs.

Turn Off Non-Running VMs

Switching off VMs when they are not active can make a lot of cost difference since Microsoft bills for Azure VMs on a pay-as-you-go model.

Delete Unused Vdisks

Unfortunately, Azure does not automatically delete vdisks when you delete a VM. Remember, Microsoft follows a pay-as-you-go pricing model for Azure VMs and these vdisks continue incurring costs. So, locate and delete these vdisks when you delete VMs and you may end up saving a decent sum.

Enable Multi-Factor Authentication

Activating multi-factor authentication is a great measure to enhance identity and access management. It requires users to log in using two or more authentication/verification factors.

Activate Conditional Access

By implementing automated access control decisions by using Azure Active Directory, you can mitigate risks before they occur. Conditional access requires you to decide who the end users are, which endpoints they will be using, and how they are signing into the platform.

Why Azure Virtual Desktops

Azure Virtual Desktop is the only desktop and application virtualization service that provides a multi-session Windows 10 experience on the Azure cloud. It optimizes O365 experience and enables your IT team to transition existing Windows server (Remote Desktop Services) desktop and applications to Azure cloud.

Anunta’s Managed AVD is a fully managed cloud desktop on Azure that leverages Azure’s Virtual Desktop technology. We provide an end-to-end implementation and management of your AVD environment so that your end-users experience zero business disruption and high application availability.

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Anunta is an industry-recognized Managed Desktop as a Service provider focused on Enterprise DaaS, Packaged DaaS, and Digital Workspace technology. We have successfully migrated 500,000+ remote desktop users to the cloud for enhanced workforce productivity and superior end-user experience.

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