Cloud PC the evolution of Windows Virtual Desktop?

DaaS (Desktop as a Service) has seen a lot of uptake now during COVID-19, where organizations are moving from use of traditional VDI deliveries, going to a fully managed desktop as a service from the main vendors such as Citrix, Nutanix, VMware or others.

As also described here in this ZDnet article –> Microsoft is working on their own DaaS service.

With the introduction of Windows Virtual Desktop about 1,5 years ago. Microsoft introduced their VDI platform with some modifications to Windows 10 and introdusing multi-user session, aquisition of FSLogix and providing management of the centralized components (control and data plane). But still providing the customers with the management of the VDI servers or Windows 10 VDI clients.

Enhancing Windows Virtual Desktop

With the upcoming Cloud PC Services, Microsoft is then introducing a full DaaS service where they will also take responsibility for the VDI (Clients and Servers as well). (Market as Your Azure Subscription in the picture above) 

Cloud PC will be a managed service under Microsoft 365, managed trough the Graph API so meaning that it will mostly be under management of the Microsoft 365 admin portal.

Cloud PC is built on top of services in Azure, and when poking around in the current beta graph API I found the following.

  • You can build Cloud PC desktops using either gallery or custom image.
  • You can connect Cloud PC desktops to on-premises using a On-premises Connect ID for Domain Joined machines.
  • Cloud PC desktops are assigned to a user group (Azure AD based)
  • Cloud PC desktops are built upon scale sets in Azure.
  • You have the object Cloud PC Provisioning Policy which is binding an Windows 10 IOmage together with a on-premises connection together with a
  • No ability to define a custom VM size, meaning that it will have some predefined SKU’s it is dependant on the Cloud PC Service Plan. Service Plan “lite” is one the defined SKU’s found in the API.
  • All documentation points to Windows 10 only.

So looking at the API’s the general idea is that you have a defined Azure AD Group which is assigned a Cloud PC Provisioning Policy. When a new user is added to the group, the service will automatically deploy a new VM based upon the image and add it to the scale set.

The technology is still built upon RDP protocol and using the main components on WVD but just providing the additional management layer and simplified pricing. So based upon the inital investigation the service might look something like this.

A lot of the API updates happened now in December on the beta Graph API which you can see here –> so it is going to be interesting to see how this feature will compare to other DaaS services and what the SKU’s are going to look like, and if this will ahve the same “limitations” as regular WVD.





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