Following the launch of Azure Virtual Desktop in 2019, business needs – and the requirements for remote work – have continued to evolve. Fortunately, our flexible virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) platform gives customers the benefits of cloud scale, security, agility, and resilience – along with less complexity and management overhead than traditional VDI solutions.
We continue to innovate based on conversations with our customers, and today we are happy to announce new capabilities for hybrid cloud deployment as well as scaling and automation features to ensure your users get the best experience from Azure Virtual Desktop while you optimize costs.
Azure Virtual Desktop for Azure Stack HCI supports hybrid cloud requirements
Azure Virtual Desktop for Azure Stack HCI is for customers who need desktop virtualization for applications that must remain on-premises for performance or data locality reasons. For example, customers can run latency-sensitive applications on the same network as the users – or meet business needs by storing data locally instead of in the Azure public cloud.
Azure Stack HCI is a hyperconverged infrastructure solution that customers can deploy to extend their Azure environment to on-premises datacenters for a hybrid cloud environment with a consistent set of cloud services. With Azure Virtual Desktop for Azure Stack HCI, customers can maintain full control over their infrastructure and run the full Windows 10 and Windows 11 desktop experience for users with multi-session or single session VMs to achieve the best performance and cost efficiencies.
The ultimate goal is to offer a unified management experience for Azure Virtual Desktop public cloud and on-premises deployments from the Azure portal. In addition, organizations can leverage other Azure services that they are familiar with – such as Azure Backup, Azure Monitor and Azure Security Center – to manage across a hybrid cloud deployment. We are also working with our strategic partners such as VMware and Citrix on new ways to support the hybrid cloud VDI environments of their customers.
“Running Azure Virtual Desktop on our Azure Stack HCI solution on-premises will allow us to better manage both data integrity and accessibility while utilizing the mature and intuitive Azure cloud deployment and management platform,” said Richard Kemble, Operations Manager and Technical Architect at Oxford University. “Having been lucky enough to have the chance to test and configure the early pre-release of Azure Virtual Desktop for Azure Stack HCI with our partner Acuutech, I can honestly say that we are excited to be moving forward in a continuing relationship with Microsoft as this next stage hybrid cloud offering brings further benefits to the evolving hybrid teaching and working requirements of our organisation.”
Azure Virtual Desktop for Azure Stack HCI is available in preview starting today. Watch this Microsoft Mechanics video to see it in action and then visit our documentation to get started.
Innovation momentum for Azure Virtual Desktop
We are continuously adding new innovation to the Azure Virtual Desktop service, as you may have read in our recent announcements about Windows 11 support, Azure AD-joined VMs, and RDP Shortpath for managed networks. And today I am excited to share more new capabilities:
Built-in autoscale to optimize costs at scale: Azure Virtual Desktop gives you a new way to optimize your infrastructure costs by using shared or pooled desktops and paying only for the resources you use. Previously, customers used Azure automation to scale their session hosts – and we are pleased to introduce a new autoscale feature which makes it easier to start or stop your session hosts automatically based on a defined schedule. With autoscale, you can save costs by shutting down idle session hosts during off peak hours while ensuring you have enough capacity to meet your users’ needs during peak hours. You can define the schedule, then set up the scaling plan from the Azure portal and apply it to multiple host pools. This new feature is now available for preview. Learn more in autoscale documentation and watch this Ignite session for a demo.
Screenshot of Azure Portal option to create a scaling schedule
- Azure Virtual Desktop starter kit for Power Automate: Organizations can now manage robotic process automation (RPA) workloads with greater ease with the Azure Virtual Desktop starter kit for Power Automate, now in preview. For example, customers can use RPA to automate data entry and interactions with legacy applications. With the new starter kit, users can integrate with Azure Virtual Desktop deployments and automatically turn on virtual machines to scale RPA workloads faster. This helps optimize infrastructure costs and reduce overall wait times for flow runs in Power Automate. Visit our docs page to learn more or access the kit here on GitHub.
Join us at Ignite!
Please join us at the Microsoft Ignite 2021 digital event to learn more at these sessions:
I also encourage you to join our Tech Community where you can connect with our team of experts, as well as other customers and partners to ask questions or share feedback and best practices. To advance your skills even further, take advantage of our free training and then demonstrate your expertise by getting Microsoft Certified with your Azure Virtual Desktop Specialty.