Is it possible to have it all with Azure Virtual Desktop? 

Author Steve Smith, Technology & Operations Director – Public Cloud

The demand for virtual desktop solutions has understandably boomed in recent years, but from my experience, there’s a lot of users who aren’t getting what they’re looking for. Many Citrix VDI users have found themselves struggling with high licensing costs and high hardware requirements. Meanwhile, with VMware Horizon, there is a lot of uncertainty around the roadmap of the platform due to Broadcom’s purchase of the company and the imminent sell-off of Horizons. On top of that, a lack of investment is expected whilst all this is going on; so what’s the solution? 

Microsoft’s Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) is emerging as an excellent option. Launching for general release on the Azure Stack HCI flexible hyperconverged infrastructure on February 1 2024 at an attractive price point, it should be ideal for organisations who have an adaptive and/or hybrid cloud estate and want a virtual desktop solution they can rely on. 

Turning to adaptive cloud 

So what’s the difference between hybrid cloud and adaptive cloud? In essence, adaptive cloud brings together many different types of cloud and networking – public, hybrid, multi-cloud, edge computing, IoT and more – allowing the right type to be provisioned to the right users and workloads. This operates under a single unified model and management platform, helpfully removing the need to choose one cloud option over another: now, it really is possible to have it all, and use a cloud-based Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) within that. 

The main reason adaptive and hybrid cloud has become so popular is because it allows businesses to hedge their bets and avoid going all-in on public cloud. A cloud-based VDI gives them access to all the flexibility they need, and can integrate within private or public cloud as required. Combining the scalability of public cloud with the familiarity of private cloud, it represents a powerful solution for businesses at any stage of the cloud journey. And it’ll come as no surprise that, according to a Rocket Software study, 93% of IT leaders feel that hybrid cloud and similar solutions are the future of IT. 

Stability and scalability 

I firmly believe that AVD is a much more stable and reliable VDI choice. AVD session hosts can be deployed wherever they’re needed, and improve access to all types of application by keeping desktops and apps in the same place, including for users with poor connectivity to Azure Public Cloud. 

Now, AVD can be extended not only across the cloud, but across on-premises infrastructure as well, which addresses the issues of technical debt and sprawling systems by bringing everything together. This level of integration also negates the risk of a virtual desktop standing alone from everything else, as it can connect to other teams such as security, ops and networking and stop things from becoming siloed. 

Making the best strategic decisions 

Of course, it’s important to work out whether AVD is a sound investment or not before committing to any firm spending decisions. And it’s for that reason that we have developed our AVD Pathfinder engagement. It’s designed to guide you towards your ideal solution, whether you’re new to the world of VDI or looking at transitioning from your current VDI provider. 

We’ve put together a comprehensive evaluation process, designed to flag up two things in particular: the scale of the benefits you could enjoy; and how and where to deploy AVD for maximum effect, based on detailed profiling of different user personas. If you decide to go ahead with the deployment, we then use this assessment as the basis for the implementation roadmap. 

The whole process takes just a few weeks and gives you that all-important clarity around how suitable your organisation is for AVD, commercially, technically and operationally. The end result is that you’ll have the confidence that AVD can resolve challenges for your users, IT team and wider business, and that you can make informed decisions based on advanced expertise and tailored recommendations, wherever your cloud is.  

SCC is one of only two UK strategic Microsoft partners that can deliver Azure Stack HCI solutions, and also be able to deploy virtual desktop as an AVD Advanced Specialisation partner. We’ve built this position through long-standing relationships with many leading technology partners. Because of this. SCC is uniquely placed to help customers looking at moving to AVD within their adaptive/hybrid estate. 

Looking to find out more about our AVD Pathfinder engagement? Register for our upcoming speedy webinar ‘How to secure and manage your modern workforce desktop environment with Azure Virtual Desktop’ here.  

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