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Microsoft Stresses WVD's Cloud Ties with Azure-Focused Rebrand

Microsoft's Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) service is now called "Azure Virtual Desktop," or AVD, to indicate that it is becoming "a flexible cloud VDI platform for nearly any use case -- accessible from virtually anywhere."

Kam VedBrat, partner group program manager, announced the rebrand in an announcement Monday. He said that Microsoft will be aiming to give organizations "the flexibility to customize and build solutions with its core technology," although he didn't elaborate on this point.

Windows Virtual Desktop, commercially launched in September 2019, lets organizations remotely access true Windows 10 and Windows 7 desktops, as well as applications, which are hosted in virtual machines on Azure datacenters.

This virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) approach brings the benefits of centralized management and the option to use thin-client devices, but it's also been somewhat complex to set it up. Moreover, WVD use comes with the complexities of overseeing Azure hosting costs.

Close Microsoft VDI partner Nerdio suggested that the added flexibility and the AVD name change may indicate that Windows won't be the only operating system hosted. Here's how Vadim Vladimirskiy, Nerdio's founder and CEO, put it in a Nerdio blog post:

Azure Virtual Desktop is likely to not remain exclusive to Windows, whereas Windows Virtual Desktop certainly implied that. This means that other desktop OS support (e.g. Linux) could possibly be introduced in AVD in the future. 

Microsoft's announcement put in a good word for its AVD partners. There are "hundreds" of them. Certified AVD partners can be found at Microsoft's Advanced Specialization page. Citrix and VMware were called out in particular as being able to help organizations "maximize your existing investments and use the tools and solutions with which you are already familiar" when moving to the AVD service.

In addition to the name change, the announcement described some new capabilities coming to the AVD service, mostly at the preview stage. Microsoft plans to further discuss some of them in a June 18 Web presentation.

One of the enhancements is a new per-user AVD pricing option for organizations, which will be available starting on Jan. 1, 2022. With this option, organizations can offer streaming applications to their external "customers and business partners" something that independent software vendors might want to do.

The cost on Jan. 1, 2022 for this per-user option will be $5.50 per user per month, or $10 per user per month if organizations also want to include the use of the desktop OS. Also, there will be Azure hosting costs to pay.

A no-cost promotional offering of this per-user AVD service for external users will be available from July 14, 2021 through Dec. 31, 2021, the announcement indicated.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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