Last month, we shared our expanded vision for Azure Virtual Desktop as the flexible cloud VDI platform for hybrid work – for nearly any use case accessible from virtually anywhere. As the world dramatically changed over the past year, your needs changed – and many of you turned to Azure Virtual Desktop to give your remote users a secure, productive way to get work done. As new scenarios continue to emerge from customers with different requirements, we’re continuing to build a broader platform with deeper capabilities to meet those needs, including integration with amazing partners like Citrix and VMware.
Today, I’m excited to share updates on our continued innovation in Azure Virtual Desktop to expand the ways in which you can use the platform to offer secure hybrid work environments.
Introducing Windows 365
Today we announced Windows 365, an incredibly simple way to securely stream Windows from the Microsoft Cloud, delivered as a complete software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution built on the Azure Virtual Desktop platform.
Windows 365 is ideal for customers looking for a personalized Windows experience – including apps, content and settings – on any device, with predictable per user, per month pricing. This service can be easily deployed and managed with Microsoft Endpoint Manager or via a self-service portal, no VDI expertise required.
For organizations that want maximum flexibility and control, Azure Virtual Desktop is a flexible cloud VDI platform that can be used to build and deliver nearly any desktop or app virtualization scenario – with capabilities such as remote app streaming, personalized (single session) or pooled (multi-session) desktops, and integration with Citrix and VMware cloud solutions. With Azure Virtual Desktop, you can customize and fine-tune your deployment to meet your performance, security, compliance, location, or other requirements.
With these two offerings, Microsoft gives organizations two exciting options to support all your hybrid work needs.
Windows 11 on Azure Virtual Desktop
Good news - both Azure Virtual Desktop and Windows 365 support the new Windows 11 operating system. Azure Virtual Desktop is a great place for customers to set up their validation environment to try out this new operating system. While Windows 11 will be generally available later this calendar year, customers with eligible Microsoft 365 or Windows licenses can use Azure Virtual Desktop now to experience Windows 11 as part of the Windows Insider Program. You will also be able to use Windows 11 on Windows 365 once it’s generally available later this calendar year.
You can read more about what Windows 11 means for your business in the Microsoft 365 blog.
Now partners can offer remote app streaming as a service
Last month we announced a new pricing option for remote app streaming to enable you to use Azure Virtual Desktop to deliver applications “as-a-service” to customers and business partners. For example, this would enable software vendors to deliver their app as a SaaS solution that can be accessed by their customers.
Starting today, we begin our special promotion for no charge to access Azure Virtual Desktop to stream apps to your customers or business partners. This promotion ends on December 31, 2021, and only applies to external user access rights. Organizations would continue to pay for the underlying Azure infrastructure. The new monthly per-user access pricing will begin on January 1, 2022. To enable remote app streaming to their employees, contractors or vendors, organizations should continue to use existing Windows license entitlements, such as Microsoft 365 E3 or Windows E3 and higher. Visit our web page for more details.
New product updates for Azure Virtual Desktop
We are pleased to share a set of new product enhancements:
Azure Active Directory joined VMs is available today in public preview. You can now join your Azure Virtual Desktop virtual machines directly to Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) and connect to the virtual machines from any device with basic credentials. You can also automatically enroll the virtual machines with Microsoft Endpoint Manager. For certain scenarios, this will help eliminate the need for a domain controller, help reduce cost, and streamline your deployment.
Azure Virtual Desktop will be available in China. This rounds out our global coverage and helps organizations support customers in this region with improved performance and latency. Public preview for China will be available in the coming weeks. Click here to learn more.
Getting started is now generally available to offer a new streamlined onboarding experience to set up a complete Azure Virtual Desktop environment in your Azure subscription. This new onboarding option in the Azure portal will simplify meeting the pre-requisites and validation requirements to kick off an automated process for deploying the Azure Active Directory Domain Service and implementing best practices for a successful deployment.
Start VM on Connect will be generally available in the coming weeks to help you optimize the costs of your deployment. Instead of predicting when the VMs need to be available for your users, give them the power to turn on a deallocated or stopped VM to meet flexible demand.
We have new metadata storage locations in the European Union (EU), United Kingdom (UK) and Canada. Azure Virtual Desktop allows customers to choose the region best suited to them for virtual machine deployment today.
Partner opportunities to grow with Azure Virtual Desktop