Microsoft’s rebranding of WVD to Azure Virtual Desktop reflects expanded support for VMs.

Jeffrey Schwartz

June 11, 2021

6 Slides

Microsoft’s Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD), the cloud VDI service it launched nearly two years ago, is now Azure Virtual Desktop. Microsoft revealed the name change this week, along with several key enhancements and new pricing.

WVD, first previewed during the fall of 2018, became generally available more than a year later. Designed as a competitor to Amazon WorkSpaces, WVD has generated considerable buzz since Microsoft launched it. Besides offering a cloud-based desktop as a service, it was the first and only multisession Windows environment licensed by Microsoft.

Since Microsoft owns Windows, only it can grant a multisession license to a customer or partner. The WVD partners that provide enhanced DaaS offerings include Citrix, VMware, Igel, Liquidware, Nerdio and Workspot, to name a few. Microsoft and partners have reported increased demand for WVD since the pandemic necessitated organizations to have employees work from home.

Now, as hybrid work environments become permanent, Microsoft said it has a broader plan for WVD, resulting in new name. By rebranding WVD as Azure Virtual Desktop, it portends a cloud VDI environment beyond providing Windows workspaces.


Microsoft’s Kam VedBrat

“We are expanding our vision to become a flexible cloud VDI platform for nearly any use case — accessible from virtually anywhere,” according to the announcement posted by Microsoft partner group program manager Kam VedBrat. “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.”

The changes go beyond branding, though, he noted. Microsoft is rolling out new capabilities and pricing for app streaming. The slideshow above has a breakdown of six improvements to Microsoft WVD that explain why the company changed the name of its cloud DaaS offering to Azure Virtual Desktop.

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About the Author(s)

Jeffrey Schwartz

Jeffrey Schwartz has covered the IT industry for nearly three decades, most recently as editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine and executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner. Prior to that, he held various editing and writing roles at CommunicationsWeek, InternetWeek and VARBusiness (now CRN) magazines, among other publications.

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