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Ignite 2018: Windows heads to the cloud with Azure Virtual Desktop

Today at Microsoft Ignite, the company announced an Azure version of “Windows Virtual Desktop,” calling it “best virtualized Windows and Office experience delivered on Azure.” With a cloud based virtual desktop, companies can ensure regulation compliance, securely managed data, and easy access for mobile and/or first-line workers.

Microsoft says it has developed Windows Virtual Desktop with “both IT and the user in mind,” and the new product delivers these benefits:

  • The only service to enable a multi-user Windows 10 experience, including compatibility with Microsoft Store and existing Windows line-of-business apps while delivering cost advantages previously only possible with server-based virtualization.
  • The best service to virtualize Office 365 ProPlus running in multi-user virtual scenarios. Microsoft Office is the most virtualized app used, and we are committed to deliver the best possible virtual experience. In the months ahead, we will have more to share on our investments in the Office 365 virtualized experience for the Windows Virtual Desktop service.
  • The only service to provide Windows 7 virtual desktop with free Extended Security Updates, giving you more options to support legacy apps while you transition to Windows 10.
  • The most scalable service to deploy and manage Windows virtual machines, using Azure for compute, storage, rich diagnostics, advanced networking, connection brokering, and gateway. You no longer need to host, install, configure, and manage these components yourself—so you can deploy and scale in minutes.
  • The most flexible service allowing you to virtualize both desktops and apps, meaning you can choose between providing your users the entire desktop experience or delivering only specific apps. When you deliver virtual apps to a Windows 10 endpoint, they are integrated seamlessly into the user experience.
  • Deeply integrated with the security and management of Microsoft 365. The Microsoft 365 conditional access, data loss prevention, and integrated management are natively built in—providing the most secure and simplest solution for protecting and managing all your apps and data.

Recognizing that companies will have specialized needs for a virtual desktop, Microsoft has built Windows Virtual Desktop as a platform, and customers will be able to extend it through partner services from the likes of Citrix, FSLogix and ThinPrint, and Cloud Solution Providers will be able to offer value added Desktops.

Windows Virtual Desktop will be available to Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education customers by setting up or using an existing Azure subscription and paying only for the storage and compute consumption. A public preview will become available later this year, and you can register now to get more information and get your name on a list.

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Could you use a cloud based Windows desktop?