Sergey Nivens - Fotolia
Microsoft's Windows Virtual Desktop will be a game changer to the desktop-as-a-service market, so IT pros should know the ins and outs of Windows Virtual Desktop management.
Microsoft's desktop-as-a-service product, Windows Virtual Desktop, runs on Azure. It enables IT to implement both dedicated and session-based virtual desktops. One of its standout features is a multiuser version of Windows 10 Enterprise OS, which operates like a locally installed version of Windows 10.
IT should be aware of ways to use, manage and troubleshoot Windows Virtual Desktop before deploying the service to the entire organization.
Using Windows Virtual Desktop with PowerShell
IT admins should know how to handle Windows Virtual Desktop management. One of the most effective ways to do that is through PowerShell; in fact, PowerShell is the only way to manage Windows Virtual Desktop during its technical preview.
IT can perform a range of Windows Virtual Desktop management tasks with PowerShell, such as managing user roles and authentication. IT can combine a Microsoft PowerShell module, Microsoft.RDInfra.RDPowerShell, with Azure Resource Manager and Azure Active Directory modules to create a script that can perform management tasks, such as the following:
- Deploy and import the PowerShell modules.
- Configure a multiuser Windows 10 with an Office ProPlus host pool.
- Enable users to access that host pool.
IT admins must first authorize Windows Virtual Desktop to an Azure environment through the consent page, and then enter their Azure Active Directory Tenant global unique identifier on the website.
IT needs to run the PowerShell script as an admin to start working on Windows 10 and Office ProPlus.
Using Windows Virtual Desktop with FSLogix profile containers
One of the best ways to handle user profiles in Windows Virtual Desktop is through FSLogix profile containers. There are multiple ways to save the profiles: IT could create a file server VM in Azure or save the FSLogix profile containers with Azure Blob Storage. Because the former method requires compute power and disk space that could be expensive, the latter is a more inexpensive option.
IT can use FSLogix profile containers with Blob Storage to make the storage redundant worldwide, without setting up file rights or using a VM. Because FSLogix enables IT to save profiles in multiple locations, such as an on-premises file server, IT can also use Azure Blob to help with a cloud migration or to back up profiles in the cloud.
FSLogix is free with a variety of Microsoft licenses, including Windows 10 Enterprise E3 and E5, Microsoft 365 E3 and E5, and Remote Desktop Services client access license.
Printing with Windows Virtual Desktop
Printing with virtual desktops has been a longtime sticking point, so it's not surprising that Windows Virtual Desktop can complicate things. End users won't always connect to a Windows Virtual Desktop session through a remote desktop protocol client; instead, they can use their browsers.
If users connect from a browser, they will need to use a printer called Remote Desktop Virtual Printer, which doesn't actually cause a document to print. Instead, it creates a PDF, and users must print that PDF to a local printer. This confusing process can cause headaches for both IT and users.
Fortunately, third-party vendors have already emerged to simplify the process. Tricerat's Print Server Proxy software enables organizations to directly communicate between Windows Virtual Desktop and an on-premises print server. ThinPrint's ezeep for Windows Virtual Desktop simplifies print driver management by eliminating the need to install print drivers onto virtual desktops.
Use Windows Virtual Desktop with Samsung DeX
Samsung and Microsoft have been working together to integrate Samsung DeX into Windows Virtual Desktop environments. With the two products, IT can essentially turn mobile devices into VDI thin clients.
Samsung DeX is a feature embedded in Samsung smartphones that enables users to plug their devices into a computer screen, mouse and keyboard for a full desktop experience. Users can plug an adapter or bridge into their Samsung device and install the Remote Desktop Client from the Google Play Store.
Using a mobile device as a thin client has limitations, however. A Samsung smartphone can only run Android and web-based applications, so many Windows-based organizations couldn't use their necessary applications without compromising security.