Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD), was released in September 2019, and is seen as the next step in the evolution of Microsoft’s OS. Microsoft Azure really doesn’t offer native management of WVD, and that is where Citrix, VMware, NetApp VDS (formerly CloudJumper), and Nerdio come in.
Anyone familiar with Citrix Cloud can easily create WVD desktops as it is just another target. Citrix supports a variety of features with the use of WVD, specifically the HDX protocol, integration with other targets outside of WVD (on-premises, hosted shared desktop, published applications), granular policies, etc. Citrix does not require AD Connect or Office 365 licenses, and does not automate the installation/integration of FSLogix for profile management.
VMware recently announced support for hybrid (on-premises/cloud) and traditional (Windows 10, Windows 2016, etc.) WVD workloads on Horizon Cloud on Azure. VMware uses the Blast or PCoIP protocols. VMware provides granularity with policy control, hybrid configurations, support for many different types of end-points, image management, monitoring, etc. VMware does not require AD Connect or Office 365 licenses and does not automate the installation of FSLogix.
NetApp VDS and Nerdio
NetApp acquired CloudJumper in April and changed the name to NetApp Virtual Desktop Service (VDS). Both NetApp VDS and Nerdio have been in the Azure RDSH world for years and have adapted their solutions to work with WVD. NetApp VDS and Nerdio use the RDP protocol. While both solutions offer features such as Autoscale and integration of FSLogix, the solutions are not as customizable as Citrix's or VMware's. Both NetApp VDS and Nerdio require AD Connect and Office 365 licenses. Recent product releases have made both NetApp VDS and Nerdio integrate much easier in existing customer AD environments and Azure tenants. Previous versions were more geared towards greenfield implementations.
Candidates for WVD
Before selecting a solution for a proof of concept, Gotham highly recommends using Lakeside SysTrack to evaluate the on-premises physical/virtual desktops to find out what types of Azure machine classes would be required along with the best candidates for WVD. SysTrack’s solution is cloud-based with an agent on the on-premises desktop that will be used to pull a variety of metrics , e.g., current OS composition, application landscape, and resource consumption considerations. Liquidware provides similar functionality.
Microsoft has a program that will fund proofs of concept and production rollouts. Gotham can utilize the funding for services and product evaluations for Citrix, Nerdio, NetApp VDS, Lakeside, Liquidware, and IGEL.
Many customers have inquired about WVD since its release, and I am sure WVD will evolve and gain traction given the many benefits. The typical use case customers inquire about is SaaS-based applications since there is no requirement for backend data. This has also shifted for the many more work from home (WFH) users given the COVID19 pandemic.
For more information on using WVD in your environment, or on obtaining Microsoft funding, please contact your Gotham Account Manager.