Microsoft: Interest in Windows Virtual Desktop Is 'Off the Charts'

Deployment of the Azure-hosted DaaS-VDI service preview has been rampant.

Jeffrey Schwartz

May 31, 2019

4 Min Read

Microsoft believes its forthcoming cloud-based Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) service will become a big hit with partners and customers with the potential to grow into a major new business for the company.

Bolstering this optimism, testers have deployed more than 4,500 individual tenants of the Azure-hosted VDI service in the two months since Microsoft released the technical preview to partners and customers.

Brad Anderson, corporate VP for the Microsoft 365 platform, last week during the opening keynote session of the Citrix Synergy conference in Atlanta, where the two companies expanded their decades-long technical alliance, revealed that staggering number. Citrix will provide a variety of services that connect to WVD, which Microsoft announced in September. Microsoft released the technical preview in March. The 4,500-plus WVD tenants deployed so far is more than Microsoft had projected.


Microsoft’s Brad Anderson

“Interest in this has just been off the charts,” Anderson said in the keynote session. “It’s exceeded all the expectations of what we had mapped out in terms of interest in this.”

Anderson said when WVD becomes generally available, it will become an option with Microsoft 365, the company’s desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) bundle that includes Windows 10, Office 365 and Intune, along with other components of its Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) service.

The company will also offer WVD as an option with its new Microsoft Managed Desktop (MMD), Anderson said. Microsoft’s launch of WVD comes as partners and experts see the market for virtual DaaS heating up. Amazon has ramped up its Amazon WorkSpaces, and a number of cloud service providers including Citrix have rolled out DaaS services. In addition to Citrix, Microsoft WVD alliance partners include CloudJumper, Lakeside Software, People Tech Group and Thin Print. Last month, Microsoft partnered with Dell Technologies, which will also offer support for WVD.

While Microsoft’s new DaaS offering has created buzz since the company revealed plans for WVD, managed service providers (MSPs) that provide desktop management are still studying it. Some believe it could gain traction, but not overnight.

“I think this year we will see a number of customers exploring it for proofs of concept, but not a large-scale production adoption,” said Paul Stansel, director of Presidio’s national end-user computing practice. “A year from now I expect it to be a very serious challenger, especially with the announcements from Microsoft limiting the availability of its Office for Server OS starting in 2022.”

Peter Fidler, CEO of WCA Technologies, a Microsoft gold partner, said WVD could be appealing, but many of his clients are law and financial services firms that migh have misgivings about a cloud-based desktop.

“We just had a law firm that was going to go with a virtual desktop service, but they got cold feet and decided to replace the servers,” Fidler said. “For many of these firms, compliance is critical, and everything has to be …

… locked down.”

In an interview with Channel Futures, Anderson pointed to similar resistance to Office 365 Exchange Online more than a decade ago.

“If you go back to 2006 and 2007, we had at that time one customer — Energizer,” Anderson said. “Now look at where we are … The world has recognized it’s not their core competency to host and run Exchange — let Microsoft do that. It’s the same thing with Windows Virtual Desktop. Why build out all of the infrastructure in your own data centers to run Windows when Microsoft can do it in [its] public cloud?”

WVD has the potential to go down a similar path, as it will be a better alternative from a cost and management perspective for many customers, Anderson added.

“Microsoft has made it very attractive from both the packaging, pricing and SLA capability,” he said. “I think you’ll see a significant portion of virtualization, whether it’s a full desktop or app, that’s on premise[s] today, move into the cloud over the next five years, in the same way that email has moved into the cloud with Exchange Online and Office 365.” 

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.

Free Newsletters for the Channel
Register for Your Free Newsletter Now

You May Also Like