Microsoft has changed the name of Windows Virtual Desktop to Azure Virtual Desktop, as it adds new capabilities for security and management to the virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) platform.
“Going forward, organisations will need to support an evolving set of remote and hybrid work scenarios,” said Kam VedBrat, partner group program manager for Microsoft. “To help our customers and partners meet these new hybrid work demands, we are expanding our vision to become a flexible cloud VDI platform for nearly any use case – accessible from virtually anywhere. A modern VDI platform needs to be secure, scalable, and easy to manage, while delivering a seamless, high-performance experience to end users.”
Microsoft will be enhancing Azure Virtual Desktop’s support for Azure Active Directory (AAD), allowing customers to join their virtual machines directly to AAD from any device with basic credentials. They will also be able to automatically enrol their virtual machines with Microsoft Endpoint Manager. This will help to eliminate the need for a domain controller and is aimed at reducing costs and streamlining deployment. Further integrations with AAD are also being developed, including support for single sign-on, additional credential types like FIDO2 and Azure Files for cloud users.
Microsoft Endpoint Manager will also allow customers to enrol Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session Azure Virtual Desktop virtual machines and manage them in the admin centre in the same way as shared physical devices. This development is intended to simplify management by providing a centralised view across both physical and virtual desktops.
A streamlined onboarding experience for Azure Virtual Desktop will now be available in the Azure portal under ‘Quickstart’ in the Azure Virtual Desktop blade. This experience will validate requirements, start an automated deployment and implement best practices, allowing a full Azure Virtual Desktop environment to be set up more quickly in an Azure subscription.
Microsoft has also launched a new monthly per-user access pricing option for organisations to use Azure Virtual Desktop to deliver apps from the cloud to external users. This is aimed at allowing organisations to use Azure Virtual Desktop to deliver applications as a service-as-a-software solution to their customers and business partners. In addition to the monthly user price for Azure Virtual Desktop, organisations also pay for Azure infrastructure services based on usage.
The new capabilities will soon be available in public preview.