Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) from Microsoft is generally available around the globe. That is exciting news for service providers because WVD is a very powerful platform to develop a successful cloud strategy and gradually transform into a cloud-inclusive company. How can WVD help service providers to build a business, ready for the future?
Windows Virtual Desktop is a new cloud platform service running on Microsoft Azure – and only on Azure – for virtualizing fully managed desktops and apps. It is the only virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) that offers simplified management, multi-session Windows 10, optimized for Office 365 ProPlus and support for RDS environments.
With WVD Service Providers benefit from:
Before we continue with examples about setting up a WVD business, we need to clear up a manifest misunderstanding about what is meant by Windows Virtual Desktop. To be honest, we found it a bit confusing too, when we first heard about WVD.
First thing you need to know: there is Windows Virtual Desktop and Windows Virtual Desktop. Although they seem the same, they are in fact two different things. On the one hand, the term is used in a hypervisor environment to virtualise multiple computers on one physical machine and create virtual desktops. If this is done using a Windows OS, then you have created a Windows virtual desktop. However, Windows Virtual Desktop, or WVD, which we are talking about here, is a different concept. WVD as launched by Microsoft in 2019, is in fact a completely new PaaS/SaaS approach by Microsoft, and is actually the future of Remote Desktop Services (RDS).
In addition to the benefits already mentioned above, the most important argument to consider WVD is probably an argument that we heard from one of our partners when Office 365 was first introduced. They said: “When Office 365 was launched, we did not onboard very quickly, because we thought we could do better ourselves. But then customers started asking for Office 365. Because we were unable to help them, they went to our competitors. We really missed new business opportunities then.”
The same could happen with WVD. It is undeniable: the world is adopting the cloud very quickly, both in business and in private life. Vendors such as Microsoft follow a cloud-first strategy; customers ask for cloud solutions; new companies are born in the cloud. To remain successful and competitive, it is better to think about how to work with the cloud than to ignore it.
That said, we understand that it is not easy to start changing what has always worked for you. During the Insight Cloud Journey we work with service providers in different phases of where they are in relation to the cloud. From first explorations, to building, implementing and managing their cloud services. For most service providers the adage is to change gradually; find the low hanging fruit to expand the existing business with profitable cloud services. Use WVD’s managed infrastructure and differentiate your business by building services around it. So, what can you do?
1) Move your backups and disaster recovery sites to the cloud
A very simple first step can be to move backups and disaster recovery files from the on-premise datacentre to Azure. The implementation of Backup and Cloud DR already frees up a significant amount of time, which can be spent thinking about the cloud and developing a cloud strategy to help improve the business.
2) Add consultancy value to your current offering
Most service providers are likely to implement WVD to deploy managed virtualised desktops with Office 365 for their end customers. How can you distinguish yourself from everyone else? By going beyond the pure implementation of Office 365 and expanding the offering with tailor-made advice and assistance to your end customers about what they want to achieve. For example about collaboration, security, mobility and more.
3) Advise on and migrate legacy applications to the cloud
Many end customers want to move some of their legacy applications to the cloud to be more productive. They do not use a full desktop application, but need just enough IT to push e-mail and planning to their remote terminals for example. With their knowledge and experience, service providers are in an excellent position to advise end customers and help them to use the applications they need in a way that is most effective and efficient for them.
4) Expand your offering with ready-to-use third-party applications
Microsoft Azure Marketplace is a rich catalogue of thousands of third-party business applications. Ready to use and guaranteed by Microsoft to work seamlessly with other Azure applications and services. There is a wide range of applications to build around WVD and Office 365 that fit your strategy and meet the needs of end customers. Ranging from AI and machine learning to Internet of Things, chatbots, DevOps, containers and ready to be integrated with existing offerings.
No service provider needs to feel pushed to go to Azure. However, we are evangelists for starting to think about the cloud now, to be ready tomorrow. For example, start a pilot with a new customer. Experience how things work in the cloud, what your experiences and/or benefits are and how the organisation deals with this. Consider WVD especially when new investments or hardware refreshments have to be made in the on-premise datacentre within three years. Calculate what is more rewarding: make all CapEx investments in one go or continue with the cloud instead. The experience is already there; you only have to implement it according to your requirements.
The fact is that we are in a digital transformation. Users require increasingly more IT to achieve their business or personal goals and challenges. This means that the role of service providers is also changing, from technical companies that keep apps and infrastructure running, to companies that help end customers to achieve their goals and challenges. Microsoft’s mission ‘to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more’ is precisely in line with the new role of service providers. Why not follow it? And Insight can help.
If you are interested in learning more, watch our WVD webinar.