Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop is a hot topic and many organisations are looking to enable a remote session offerings because of the recent pandemic and working from home scenarios. However using VMware Horizon Cloud on Azure, as a layer on top of the workloads in Azure, adds a few big benefits.


VMware Horizon Cloud is a service you can use to offer virtual desktops or applications via the cloud. This involves a control plane – a management layer – which is administered by VMware. The workspaces themselves are usually administered by the clients themselves. These workspaces can be hosted on a number of cloud platforms – such as IBM Cloud, AWS, or Azure – but on-premise hosting is naturally also an option. In the case of Microsoft Azure, you can – as of this year – also offer Windows 7 and Windows Virtual Desktop, which essentially means offering Windows 10 Enterprise multi-sessions.


VMware Horizon Cloud provides, as it were, an enriching layer on top of Windows Virtual Desktop. This enrichment is mainly seen in advanced management tooling and in the extensive portfolio of other products which make administering the environment easier. The entire end-user profile management, for example, is significantly easier with VMware Dynamic Environment Manager. Among other benefits, VMware Horizon Cloud offers personalization and dynamic policy configuration in every virtual, physical, and cloud-based Windows desktop environment. Additionally, VMware Horizon Cloud offers a cloud-based monitoring service which gives you a great deal of insight into how the environment is used, which applications are used most, which times of the day are the busiest, and more.


VMware Horizon Cloud also offers advanced help desk features so that first and second-line support staff can easily help users who work with Windows Virtual Desktop and have a problem. Help desk employees can take over functions, stop processes, close applications, log out an employee, or reset a session. What’s more, VMware Horizon Cloud offers all sorts of insights into how the desktop is running, such as the CPU and memory use.


Many clients use a Pay-As-You-Go subscription for the use of Azure VMs; if this is the case, it’s important to promptly disable (de-allocate) resources which are not being used. By disabling resources at times when there is less demand for the Windows Virtual Desktop environment, significant cost savings can be had. VMware Horizon Cloud offers extensive functions for dealing with this in a smart and automated manner.


When multiple employees are using the same Windows Virtual Desktop VM at the same time, it is important for these employees to have an equivalent user experience over a longer period of time. To do this, you need to regularly restart or rebuild the Windows Virtual Desktop. This action can also take place entirely automatically on the basis of a schedule of a number of days, fixed days during the week, or after a certain number of sessions. On the basis of your image, you can set the VM to be rolled out again after, for example, every hundred sessions; this means that there is almost no chance of contamination on your Windows Virtual Desktop VM. Automatically restarting the VM on the basis of the same options can also be selected. In both of these situations, the employees naturally experience no inconvenience.


Last but not least, with VMware Horizon Cloud, the Workspace ONE Access portal is also provided. This is a portal where you can have all sorts of applications converge. These include SaaS applications, internet and intranet pages, on-premises Citrix and/or VMware Horizon environments, but also a Windows Virtual Desktop. It forms a type of collection point for all applications. This Access portal offers advanced options for security. For instance, you can turn on two-factor authentication and apply conditional access policies, such as when someone may or may not initiate a resource and, if so, under which conditions.

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