Microsoft has announced a new virtual machine service for users of Windows 10, Windows 7 and Office 365 ProPlus.
The company demonstrated how the service, named Windows Virtual Desktop, will work during a presentation at its Ignite event in Orlando, Florida on September 24.
Some users who signed up to publicly test beta versions of Windows 10 may have already known a virtual desktop enabled variant of Windows 10 has been in the works for a while now, after an early version with similar branding was included in a recent limited release update. Corporate vice president for Microsoft Azure, Julia White explained in a blog following the Ignite event how the final version of Windows Virtual Desktop will allow users to create remote multi-user sessions within a Windows Server or Windows 10 virtual machine running on the company’s Azure cloud service.
Microsoft touts Windows Virtual Desktop as having multiple advantages over rival virtualisation services. For many businesses, the key plus point would be the potential to reduce costs, as server-based solutions are often expensive to set up and maintain. The company has noted Windows Virtual Desktop will still support Windows 7 with Extended Security Updates until 2023, so businesses running legacy applications should not be immediately concerned about upgrading.
Windows Virtual Desktop’s Integration with Microsoft 365 helps ensure simple yet rigorous security and access management of both the full desktop experience and of specific apps. The service will allow virtualisation of Office 365 ProPlus applications with some as-yet undisclosed enhancements. Microsoft says it will provide more information on how Office 365 will be tailored for the virtual experience over the next few months. Microsoft Store and existing Windows line of business applications are also supported, which helps set Windows Virtual Desktop apart from the traditional Windows Server experience.
A key focus for Microsoft is on increasing the take up of Windows Virtual Desktop among third party developers, so the service has been created with easy extension options for external developers to build Windows Virtual Desktop support into their software. It says it is currently working with several leading technology companies including Citrix, ThinPrint, and Liquidware to extend Windows Virtual Desktop via the Azure marketplace.
Access to Windows Virtual Desktop will come automatically to Windows 10 Education and Windows 10 Enterprise customers with an Azure subscription, with Microsoft saying it will have a publicly available preview built by the end of the year. The company estimates the cost incentives from virtualisation will be too good for many businesses to pass up, with the average worker using about £7.60 per month in Office 365 and Azure resources. IT departments could also factor in savings from hardware purchases, as costly high-end GPUs and other specialist technology can be shared between workers virtually.
For more information on how Microsoft’s innovations in virtualisation, cloud technology and productivity software can help your business’s performance, contact our friendly customer service team at WM Reply .