Windows Virtual Desktop Spring 2020 Update

Time to read: About 7 minutes
Intended for: IT management, administrators, and desktop support professionals
Key takeaway: In this post I discuss some of the key features and enhancements to Windows Virtual Desktop in the spring 2020 update.

Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) provides virtual desktops hosted in Azure.  WVD offers a secure, highly available, and scalable remote desktop solution.  With WVD, an organization can quickly provision virtual desktops and virtual applications on-demand, without the need to deploy hardware.   WVD is currently generally available.  Microsoft recently announced the WVD Spring Update is now in public preview. 

The Spring Update adds many anticipated features.  With the update, WVD is a full-fledged Azure Resource Manager (ARM) service.  Currently, WVD exists as its own service, accessible by but different from other Azure services.  This cause some limitation with management capabilities and inconstancies in management between WVD and other Azure services.  Below highlights the enhancements that the Spring Update brings to WVD.

Azure Management

The Spring Update adds a new management experience that is now part of the Azure Portal.  The ability to manage from the Azure portal is a welcome change.  Most of the management tasks with the current implementation are handled with PowerShell commands.  Now, WVD management is available with a familiar Azure portal experience.

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Windows Virtual Desktop Portal

PowerShell Module

For those who prefer PowerShell or to extend functionality through scripted solutions, PowerShell support for WVD is now part of the AZ module.  The AzWvd commands run on PowerShell Core, a cross-platform implementation of PowerShell.

Group Management

One of the most commonly requested features with WVD is the ability to use group-based management to assign users to resources.  The Spring update adds this feature.  With the Spring Update, access to desktops and application groups is applied to users or Azure AD Groups.  Group assignment can be managed from PowerShell or the new Azure WVD Portal.

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Select Azure AD Users or Groups

Meta-Data Storage

The current version of WVD stores all meta-data in the US.  The Spring Update adds the ability to select the region to store WVD meta-data.  Regions outside the US will be added as they become available.

Architecture Change

The current version of WVD has Tenants and Tenant Groups as management points in the architecture.  The Spring Update removes these objects.  The functionality of Tenant Groups is addressed with Azure Lighthouse, and a new object called “Workspace” becomes the point users interact with when they use WVD.

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Management Objects

Role-Based Access Control

Windows Virtual Desktop Spring Update follows the same Resource Group and Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) as other Azure ARM services.  WVD objects such as Session Hosts, Application Groups, and Host Pools are deployed into Resource Groups.  Roles are applied at the subscription, resource group, or object level for fine-grained permissions to the service.

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Windows Virtual Desktop RBAC

Dedicated Scale-Out

Increasing the number of available computers for a pool of WVD hosts involves running an ARM template deployment with the current version of WVD.  WVD now has a dedicated process for scaling out the number of computers that host uses sessions.  The process makes adding computers to the pool straightforward and provides the ability to manage the process from the portal.

Monitoring

Azure WVD monitoring is improved with the update.  With Spring Update, log data is managed natively from Azure.  WVD log data includes checkpoint, error, management, and other information.  There are multiple locations to send the data.  Destinations for the log data include Log Analytics, a storage account, or stream it to the Event Hub. 

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Diagnostic Settings

Conclusion

The Spring Update for WVD adds significant improvements to the existing product. Advances in monitoring, management, and access control are all welcome additions.  These changes are possible now that WVD is a full-fledged ARM service. 

 The Spring Update for WVD is currently in Public Preview.  Please contact RBA if you would like to learn more about Windows Virtual Desktop and the new Spring Update experience.

https://cloudblogs.microsoft.com/industry-blog/en-gb/cross-industry/2020/04/30/windows-virtual-desktop-spring-update-enters-public-preview/