Azure Answered – Windows Virtual Desktop in Azure
In July 2020, Microsoft announced General Availability (GA) of the new ARM-based deployment model known during the preview as “WVD Spring Update” as “Windows Virtual Desktop” (WVD) and the old pre-ARM based model was renamed to “Windows Virtual Desktop Classic”. This was a major change for Azure WVD as WVD is now fully integrated into the Azure portal rather than registering resource providers and having to deploy and manage by using only powershell cmdlets.
Azure Windows Virtual Desktop Improvements.
During MS Ignite 2021, Microsoft further announced new features for Azure WVD, now in preview. New features include WVD RDP Shortpath, a new Insights dashboard for WVD in the Azure Portal and additional region support for WVD metadata.
When designing a WVD environment for customers, a common question asked is “Can we utilise our existing ExpressRoute link for WVD?”. WVD RDP Shortpath addresses this requirement by allowing customers who have a private link from on-premise into Azure to utilise that private link to connect directly to the WVD Host Pool. Prior to WVD Shortpath, all connectivity to the WVD Host Pool is via the internet even when there is a private link available. WVD Shortpath uses UDP 3390 and requires line-of-sight from the client to the WVD Host Pool.
Currently WVD metadata is stored in the US regions and recently (announced in MS Ignite), North and West Europe. A common misconception is that for Australian customers, WVD is not available in Australia. This only applies to the metadata for WVD. The VMs associated with the WVD host pools can be created in any Australian Azure region.
Although the new Windows Virtual Desktop product (aka. WVD Spring Update) has vastly improved deployment of new WVD environments, it still takes a few days to create a gold image, provision the profile storage account and domain join, configure the shared image gallery and deploy a new WVD host pool from the gold image located in the shared image gallery.
Additional tasks includes optimization of the image for WVD environments as well as the monthly operational tasks of updating the gold image each month when new Windows patches are released and then refreshing all the VMs in the host pools.
Imagine doing this if you require multiple host pools for different sets of users or have multiple locations where you need to deploy WVD. For large environments, these provisioning and operational tasks may require a full time engineer just to manage and maintain the environment on an ongoing basis.
Your trusted advisors.
This is where organisations require a trusted advisor who is an Azure CSP or MSP who can take the operational burden from them. Macquarie Cloud Services has created automation around WVD so that a new host pool can be provisioned in under 2 hours, assist with these monthly operational tasks and troubleshoot any issues on the Azure infrastructure. MCS trusted advisors can assist with designing a solution that meets your needs and recommend best practices around security, such as Azure Firewall Premium or Azure Private Link, to protect the WVD environment.