What is Windows Virtual Desktop?

Windows Virtual Desktop is a desktop and app virtualization service that runs on the cloud. You can set up Windows Virtual Desktop in minutes to enable secure remote work. Provide the familiarity and compatibility of the Windows 10 with the new scalable multi-session experience for your end users and save cost by using the same Windows licenses. Manage your end-to-end Windows Virtual Desktop deployment alongside other Azure services within the Azure portal.

Here’s what you can do when you run Windows Virtual Desktop on Azure:

  • Set up a multi-session Windows 10 deployment that delivers a full Windows 10 with scalability
  • Virtualize Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise and optimize it to run in multi-user virtual scenarios
  • Provide Windows 7 virtual desktops with free Extended Security Updates
  • Bring your existing RDS and Windows Server desktops and apps to any computer
  • Virtualize both desktops and apps
  • Manage Windows 10, Windows Server, and Windows 7 desktops and apps with a unified management experience

Key capabilities

With Windows Virtual Desktop, you can set up a scalable and flexible environment:

  • Create a full desktop virtualization environment in your Azure subscription without having to run any additional gateway servers.
  • Publish as many host pools as you need to accommodate your diverse workloads.
  • Bring your own image for production workloads or test from the Azure Gallery.
  • Reduce costs with pooled, multi-session resources. With the new Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session capability exclusive to Windows Virtual Desktop and Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH) role on Windows Server, you can greatly reduce the number of virtual machines and operating system (OS) overhead while still providing the same resources to your users.
  • Provide individual ownership through personal (persistent) desktops.

Requirements

There are a few things you need to set up Windows Virtual Desktop and successfully connect your users to their Windows desktops and applications. Microsoft support the following operating systems, so make sure you have the appropriate licenses for your users based on the desktop and apps you plan to deploy:

Supported Remote Desktop clients

The following Remote Desktop clients support Windows Virtual Desktop:


You can access the free on-demand training for WVD below:


Session Host Deployment

Step-by-Step: WVD (ARM) Session Host Deployment in Azure Portal

Host pools are a collection of one or more identical virtual machines within Windows Virtual Desktop tenant environments. Each host pool can be associated with multiple RemoteApp groups, one desktop app group, and multiple session hosts.

RemoteApp Deployment

Step-by-Step: WVD (ARM) RemoteApp Deployment in Azure Portal

The default app group created for a new Windows Virtual Desktop host pool also publishes the full desktop. In addition, you can create one or more RemoteApp application groups for the host pool. Follow this tutorial to create a RemoteApp app group and publish individual Start menu apps.

Azure Files for User Profile Disk

Step-by-Step: WVD (ARM) User Profile Container using Azure Files

A user profile contains data elements about an individual, including configuration information like desktop settings, persistent network connections, and application settings. By default, Windows creates a local user profile that is tightly integrated with the operating system. Microsoft Azure Files announced the general availability of Azure Files authentication with Azure Active Directory Domain Service (AD DS). By addressing both cost and administrative overhead, Azure Files with Azure AD DS Authentication is a premium solution for user profiles in the Windows Virtual Desktop service.

FSLogix Profile Container Configuration

Step-by-Step: WVD (ARM) FSLogix Profile Container configuration

The Windows Virtual Desktop service recommends FSLogix profile containers as a user profile solution. FSLogix is designed to roam profiles in remote computing environments, such as Windows Virtual Desktop. It stores a complete user profile in a single container. At sign in, this container is dynamically attached to the computing environment using natively supported Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) and Hyper-V Virtual Hard disk (VHDX). The user profile is immediately available and appears in the system exactly like a native user profile. This article describes how FSLogix profile containers used with Azure Files function in Windows Virtual Desktop.

Install OneDrive Per-Machine for WVD

Step-by-Step: WVD (ARM) Install OneDrive Per-Machine

By default, the OneDrive sync app installs per user, meaning OneDrive.exe needs to be installed for each user account on the PC under the %localappdata% folder. With the new per-machine installation option, you can install OneDrive under the “Program Files (x86)” or “Program Files” directory (depending on the OS architecture), meaning all profiles on the computer will use the same OneDrive.exe binary. Other than where the sync app is installed, the behavior is the same.

The OneDrive sync app is not supported in remote app scenarios. If you’re running FSLogix with Files On-Demand on Windows 10 or Windows Sever 2019, the minimum supported versions are: OneDrive 19.174.0902.0013, FSLogix Apps 1909 HF_01 (2.9.7237.48865). For Windows Server, the SMB network file sharing protocol is also required. The OneDrive sync app with FSLogix does not support running multiple instances of the same container simultaneously.

MS Teams with AV Redirection & Media Optimizations

Step-by-Step: WVD (ARM) Install Teams with AV Redirection media optimizations

Microsoft Teams on Windows Virtual Desktop supports chat and collaboration. With media optimizations, it also supports calling and meeting functionality. To learn more about how to use Microsoft Teams in Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) environments, see Teams for Virtualized Desktop Infrastructure. With media optimization for Microsoft Teams, the Windows Desktop client handles audio and video locally for Teams calls and meetings. You can still use Microsoft Teams on Windows Virtual Desktop with other clients without optimized calling and meetings. Teams chat and collaboration features are supported on all platforms. To redirect local devices in your remote session, check out Customize Remote Desktop Protocol properties for a host pool.

How to check WVD Latency?

How to measure your latency for Windows Virtual Desktop?

Windows Virtual Desktop is globally available. Administrators can create virtual machines (VMs) in any Azure region they want. Connection latency will vary depending on the location of the users and the virtual machines. Windows Virtual Desktop services will continuously roll out to new geographies to improve latency. The Windows Virtual Desktop Experience Estimator tool can help you determine the best location to optimize the latency of your VMs. We recommend you use the tool every two to three months to make sure the optimal location hasn’t changed as Windows Virtual Desktop rolls out to new areas.

WVD Monitoring and Diagnostic

Windows Virtual Desktop uses Azure Monitor for monitoring and alerts like many other Azure services. This lets admins identify issues through a single interface. The service creates activity logs for both user and administrative actions.

I’ve written several articles related to Windows Virtual Desktop in the past couple of months. A few of them are still relevant, and a few are not. I am using this blog post to bring all the relevant content related to WVD ARM (Spring 2020) into a single page.

  • What is Windows Virtual Desktop?

    Get to know the benefits and Features of WVD here

  • Whats the Architecture behind WVD?

    Understand the WVD user connection Traffic flow and Network access requirements here

  • Whats the Licensing requirements for WVD?

    Understand the Azure Infrastructure requirements and the licensing requirements for WVD here

  • How to properly size WVD Session Host VMs in Azure?

    Get to know the WVD Virtual Machine sizing guidelines here

  • How to price a WVD solution?

    Understand the various pricing components before quoting WVD solution here

  • Whats the difference between Non-ARM and ARM WVD?

    Get to know the difference between old and New ARM based WVD here

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Cheers!

Susanth Sutheesh

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