*This blog was originally published by Microsoft Azure Posted on June 7, 2021.

When we launched Windows Virtual Desktop nearly two years ago, no one predicted a global pandemic would force millions of workers to leave the office and work from home. Organizations around the world migrated important apps and data to the cloud to gain business resilience and agility. And to support the new remote workforce, many of you turned to Windows Virtual Desktop to give remote users a secure, easy to manage, productive personal computing experience with Windows 10 from the cloud. It has been humbling to work alongside you as you pivoted your operations to meet new challenges—from supporting frontline healthcare workers at NHS to engineers at Petrofac to educators and students—hear from some of the top UK universities on their experience with Azure Virtual Desktop.

Going forward, organizations will need to support an evolving set of remote and hybrid work scenarios. To help our customers and partners meet these new hybrid work demands, we are expanding our vision to become a flexible cloud VDI platform for nearly any use case—accessible from virtually anywhere. A modern VDI platform needs to be secure, scalable, and easy to manage, while delivering a seamless, high-performance experience to end users. It should also empower organizations with the flexibility to customize and build solutions with its core technology.

To support this broader vision and the changing needs of our customers, today we are announcing new capabilities, new pricing for app streaming, and changing the name of the Windows Virtual Desktop service to Azure Virtual Desktop.

New platform capabilities for security and management

Azure Virtual Desktop ActionPoint

We are continually adding new capabilities to the core Azure Virtual Desktop platform. Today we are also pleased to announce the public preview of new features that will help you onboard and better manage your Azure Virtual Desktop deployment.

  • Enhanced support for Azure Active Directory (coming soon in public preview): Azure Active Directory is a critical service used by organizations around the world to manage user access to important apps and data and maintain strong security controls. We are pleased to announce that you’ll soon be able to join your Azure Virtual Desktop virtual machines directly to Azure Active Directory (AAD) and connect to the virtual machines from any device with basic credentials. You’ll also be able to automatically enroll the virtual machines with Microsoft Endpoint Manager. For certain scenarios, this will help eliminate the need for a domain controller, help reduce cost, and streamline your deployment. While this is a major milestone, it’s just the beginning of the journey towards full integration with Azure Active Directory. We will continue adding new capabilities such as support for single sign-on, additional credential types like FIDO2, and Azure Files for cloud users.

Create a host pool for Azure Active Directory

  • Manage Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session virtual machines with Microsoft Endpoint Manager (available now in preview): Microsoft Endpoint Manager allows you to manage policies and distribute applications across devices. You can now enroll Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session Azure Virtual Desktop virtual machines in Microsoft Endpoint Manager and manage them in the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center the same way as shared physical devices. This simplifies management and provides a centralized view across both physical devices and virtual desktops. Read the Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session documentation to learn more.

Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session VMs in the MEM admin center

  • Deploy in minutes with new onboarding experience (coming soon in preview): We are pleased to offer a streamlined onboarding experience for Azure Virtual Desktop in the Azure portal. This new experience will validate requirements, kick off an automated deployment, and will also implement best practices. With only a few clicks, you can set up a full Azure Virtual Desktop environment in your Azure subscription.

Create a Quickstart application

 

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