Announcing the public preview of Windows Virtual Desktop

This article was originally posted in the Microsoft 365 blog.

Last September, we announced Windows Virtual Desktop and began a private preview. Since then, we’ve been hard at work developing the ability to scale and deliver a true multi-session Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus virtual desktop and app experience on any device.
Today, we move to the next phase and announce the public preview of Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop. Now, all customers can access this service—the only service that delivers simplified management, a multi-session Windows 10 experience, optimizations for Office 365 ProPlus, and support for Windows Server Remote Desktop Services (RDS) desktops and apps. With Windows Virtual Desktop, you can deploy and scale your Windows desktops and apps on Azure in minutes and enjoy built-in security.
Through our private preview, we had the chance to work closely with customers and partners to help shape this new service. It has been rewarding to see the results so far—a great example being at X5 Music Group, a Warner Music Group company.

“Within the music industry, we have to access, manage, and store large volumes of complex metadata securely. Windows Virtual Desktop is a great way of bringing data-heavy applications into our cloud platform without the need to rewrite the application. Windows Virtual Desktop also provides several additional benefits, such as making it really easy to scale the number of users while minimizing the attack surface of our applications.”
—Klas Broman, CTO and Developer Lead, X5 Music Group

As we start public preview, we’ll continue listening and taking feedback, to ensure we’re meeting your needs as we head toward general availability in the second half of calendar year 2019.
With the end of extended support for Windows 7 coming up in January 2020, we also understand some customers need to continue to support Windows 7 legacy applications as they migrate to Windows 10. To support this need, you’ll soon be able to use Windows Virtual Desktop to virtualize Windows 7 desktops with free Extended Security Updates (ESU) until January 2023. This support provides a comprehensive virtualization solution for Windows 7 alongside your Windows 10 and Windows Server desktops and apps.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30dOLcZ4_9U?feature=oembed]

Solutions to extend Windows Virtual Desktop

In November 2018, we acquired FSLogix, a next-generation app-provisioning platform that reduces the resources, time, and labor required to support desktop and app virtualization. FSLogix technologies enable faster load times for non-persistent users accessing Outlook or OneDrive. FSLogix technology will support both client and server RDS deployments—helping on-premises customers more easily migrate to Windows Virtual Desktop and providing a great solution for customers in hybrid scenarios.
Windows Virtual Desktop will also be extended and enriched by leading partners in the following ways:

  • Citrix can extend Windows Virtual Desktop capabilities with their Citrix Cloud services.
  • Through our partnership with Samsung, Windows Virtual Desktop will provide highly mobile Firstline Workers access to a full Windows 10 and Office 365 ProPlus experience with Samsung DeX.
  • Software and service providers will extend Windows Virtual Desktop to offer targeted solutions in the Azure marketplace.
  • Microsoft Cloud Solution Providers (CSPs) will deliver end-to-end desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) offerings and value-added services to their customers.

Access to Windows Virtual Desktop

To deploy and manage your virtualization environment, you just need to set up an Azure subscription. You can choose the type of virtual machines (VMs) and storage you want to suit your environment. You can optimize costs by taking advantage of Reserved Instances (up to 72 percent discount) and by using multi-session Windows 10.
For users accessing the Windows 10 and Windows 7 desktops and apps, there’s no additional cost if you’re an existing Microsoft 365 F1/E3/E5, Windows 10 Enterprise E3/E5, or Windows VDA customer. For Windows Server desktops and apps, there’s no additional cost if you’re an existing Microsoft RDS Client Access License (CAL) customer.

Get started with the public preview of Windows Virtual Desktop

Windows Virtual Desktop is comprised of the Windows desktops and apps you’re delivering to users and the management solution hosted as a service on Azure by Microsoft. During public preview, desktops and apps can be deployed on VMs in any Azure region, and the management solution and data for these VMs will reside in the United States (US East 2 region). This may result in data transfer to the United States while you test the service in public preview.
We’ll start to scale out the management solution and data localization to all Azure regions starting at general availability. For more information on getting started, considerations for optimal deployment guidance, and to provide feedback as you preview the service, please visit the Windows Virtual Desktop preview page.