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Windows Virtual Desktop service is now generally available

     
8:04 am on Oct 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Windows Virtual Desktop is now generally available worldwide [azure.microsoft.com]
Today, we are excited to announce the worldwide general availability of Windows Virtual Desktop. It is the only service that delivers simplified management, a multi-session Windows 10 experience, optimizations for Office 365 ProPlus, and support for Windows Server Remote Desktop Services (RDS) desktops and apps. With Windows Virtual Desktop, you can deploy and scale your Windows desktops and apps on Azure in minutes.

Now available in all geographies, customers will be able to deploy scalable Azure-based virtualization solutions with a number of operating systems, including Windows 10 multi-session, Windows Server, and Windows 7 desktops with free Extended Security Updates for up to three years for customers still completing their move to Windows 10.


This appears to be what they have been shooting for all along...Windows as a billable service.

[azure.microsoft.com...]
5:37 pm on Oct 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Am I the only one who looks at this sort of thing, examine it yet wonder what on earth it could do for our businesses that we can't do already with existing equipment, keeping it in-house and at lower cost?

Or am I, and my techie guys, completely missing the point?

We're real world widget producers and, at the moment, cannot see any benefit whatsoever.

Please explain.
6:23 pm on Oct 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Wait, don't you have to have some OS installed in order to get connected in the first place? Terminal services or not, you have to have something going in order to connect with it, no?
7:49 pm on Oct 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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This is really more relevant for enterprise for internal LOB operations than your online marketing stuff.
I have had several clients (I am primarily a web developer) that use this sort of thing for their employees. It makes controlling OS images much easier on their IT staff. It also means they don't have to deploy platforms to outsourced resources. I had one client with 4500 employees in SE Asia & India that worked on VMs hosted in the US.
For them, the outsourced resources just needed a good pipe and minimal hardware to run the company software.
It also means they can wipe out access to the systems much easier since the user's actual machine may not have the ability to save files locally, etc. So there are security features.
Even working from home can be easier because you can work on your own machine, but use the corporate image without needing to configure anything.
8:31 pm on Oct 1, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@docluv

But what do your clients do with it?

I have 7,500 employees (about 1% in IT) in India alone producing and exporting real world products from raw materials through to the finished items, all of them are to our customers' specifications which they supply.

What benefit(s) could this have for me?

I'm not doubting its usefulness, I/we simply cannot see for what it could be used.
6:09 am on Oct 2, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Back in the old pre-Windows days I worked in a company that had no PCs. Every desk had a monitor, keyboard, and a mouse. There was one machine in the office that they were all connected to...literally everything ran off that one unit. That's sort of the idea here. Your users don't need a PC or laptop at all. Everything runs in Azure, remotely, and maintained by Microsoft engineers.

Benefits for your company?
Well, to start with, they don't need all these IT guys on the payroll for PC maintenance...

The security benefits have already been mentioned. Of course WVD could be used from a traditional PC, but if you eliminate that from the equation then you cut out all kinds of vulnerabilities; from infected USB devices, WiFi vulnerabilities, physical attacks on RAM, all sorts of issues go away when you take the local machine out of the loop.

Do your CAD engineers or 3D designers each need a $7000 machine? Spinning that up in a cloud on demand when needed would probably be cheaper in the long run.

There are a number of benefits here that will tick a lot of boxes for corporate board members who will gleefully ignore the protests of the traditional in-house IT staff. Once that momentum builds you'll see it in smaller businesses, and eventually the consumer market.
8:16 pm on Oct 2, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@redbar

It varies for everyone of course.

For this company, they could maintain a single image as a source to quickly provision new images as employees come and go. Plus they changed outsourcing providers from time to time, so instead of fussing with hardware changes they could just delete the images.

did I mention you don't have to buy and maintain the hardware? :) Outsource that responsibility too.


The company I am referring too had a really bad group of software developers, so the internal applications they had were just awful. THe first one they had me review had an average 13.5 minute load time for 4500 employees 7 days/week. They had determined some of that was due to network latency and they were correct. They had figured out a VM hosted in the US would cut that time to ~7 minutes.

Of course I offered to actually build a proper solution that would load in about 3 seconds anywhere in the world. I sort of offended the manager of those developers, so it never got done LOL.
10:41 am on Oct 3, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I am a bit sceptical about the advantages, and you could get a lot of them (all except not maintaining hardware) by running VMs on your own hardware (as some people do) or similar. My daughter's school (sixth form college to be precise for those familiar with how things work in the UK) does that and its the only part of their IT that seems to work really well.

Was it on WW that some talked about a place where desktops all booted a clean image from the network every morning?

I do not see the case for security is clear cut. You still have client devices running something. They still have to connect to the network. Its not clear to me that a simpler client device plus a more complex but centralized service is going to be more secure.

Then there are other risks - what if your account is compromised, for example? That applies to relying on any cloud service, of course. There may be legal issues (is this GDPR compliant, for example)?

Back in the old pre-Windows days I worked in a company that had no PCs. Every desk had a monitor, keyboard, and a mouse. There was one machine in the office that they were all connected to...literally everything ran off that one unit.


I have worked somewhere that did that with Windows years ago. It was horribly slow then - it would probably be fine now. I have done exactly that with Linux - I still do a little (although with the switch a way from X Windows I might not able to for much longer).

Do your CAD engineers or 3D designers each need a $7000 machine? Spinning that up in a cloud on demand when needed would probably be cheaper in the long run.


That would surprise me. Usually buying and owning hardware is cheaper than renting.
2:26 am on Oct 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Was it on WW that some talked about a place where desktops all booted a clean image from the network every morning?

Might have been me talking about the old Windows SteadyState [en.wikipedia.org] freeware. That was great stuff, but it only worked on XP & Vista.

I am a bit skeptical about the advantages, and you could get a lot of them (all except not maintaining hardware) by running VMs on your own hardware (as some people do) or similar.

These days it's still probably cheaper, safer and easier to do this yourself if you know how. You're probably not their target market though.

I'm starting to notice tutorials for Linux where you put your OS onto a VPS and run everything from there. I agree that we probably aren't to the stage where this would be as good as local hardware, but there is a certain appeal to having that sort of setup. If the Azure infrastructure can handle serving up Win10 virtually without noticeable lag then we're getting closer to the day when it won't make a difference. My example of running a CAD machine virtually may have been an exaggeration, but the day is coming when that might be fast and cheap enough to consider the cloud for.
10:28 am on Oct 4, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Do your CAD engineers or 3D designers each need a $7000 machine? Spinning that up in a cloud on demand when needed would probably be cheaper in the long run.


I'd like that if we actually did it. For one big portion of our business our clients send us their exclusive new designs for each season (anyone who knows what I do would possibly be surprised about that), and we do not have any input to those designs for production purposes until we actually see them and evaluate if they are prossible, they usually are.

Our IT guys are mainly concerned with ensuring factory machines are running to their optimum levels, we very rarely have issues with office machines. We have more problems with directors losing laptops than anything else!

One question about Azure, I assume this requires an always-on connection therefore anyone who knows about Indian connections realises, because of weather and generation even in large cities, that this cannot be guaranteed without, as we have, our own back-up generators etc.

Just wondering out loud, taking a 1,000 pupil school, what would they actually require to have an effective "system/connection" whereby any class at any time could use it?
4:38 pm on Oct 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Even if connections are working, lag can be a problem. A lot of "fast" broadband can be quite laggy (enough to bother me when typing commands into a remote server), and people who use laptops at multiple locations, or travel, or work from home are quite likely to have problems.

These days it's still probably cheaper, safer and easier to do this yourself if you know how. You're probably not their target market though.


Who is the target market? I would have thought larger organisations were more able to do it themselves - but they also suffer from more CYA which makes cloud services more attractive.
6:04 pm on Oct 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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While looking at all the tech wonder of the proposal folks are missing the real elephant in the room:

Your computing "power" will be control by a very small number of very powerful companies that become monopolies ... and all the ills that kind of power can result in.

Prefer to not have my business held hostage by the good will, or supposed "excellence of service" promised. After all, once everyone is hooked up the next step is to never innovate again ... status quo, lowest level possible, and bill and bill and bill and bill and bill.
6:04 pm on Oct 6, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Not to mention the potential for gateway control ... who gets to see what.
10:58 pm on Oct 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Who is the target market? I would have thought larger organisations were more able to do it themselves

My guess was initially was mid-size organizations that didn't have the internal capability to do this themselves. Or it could be a large company with remote locations that didn't have the capacity to handle the unique support needs of certain regions.
11:13 pm on Oct 7, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Yes, there are good reasons for this functionality to exist. And reasons why small to medium will jump on like white on rice ... but the EXPOSURE to failures (or other things) can have a very adverse effect.

All one needs do is look at most university systems (which are similar, but NOT THE SAME THING) for what happens if something either breaks down, or a uni-dean deems that channel/content is unsuitable.

Part of me says "This is Great Stuff!", but the real me says "No Way!"

I'd rather do it myself.*

*And that part I listen to!
 

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