Microsoft 365 brings Windows Virtual Desktop to Azure cloud

Microsoft Azure splash screen on a smartphone

Microsoft has officially unveiled its Windows Virtual Desktop that allows multiple users to access a Windows 10 desktop at the same time, optimised for Office 365 ProPlus.

The solution means that instead of reaching for a third-party virtualisation platform, you can use the feature as part of an Azure subscription, making it much simpler for businesses that don't want to wander out of the Azure environment.

"For many companies, the specific needs of their business require a virtualised desktop experience. The reasons for virtualisation vary," Julia White, corporate vice president for Microsoft Azure said in a blog post announcing Windows Virtual Desktop.

"For example, for regulated industries like financial services and healthcare, a virtualised desktop experience ensures compliance regulations are met and access to sensitive data is securely managed. For mobile workforces and Firstline Workers, desktop virtualisation makes managing and provisioning access to corporate data and apps easier."

And Microsoft wants to make that process a whole lot easier. Plans include integration with Microsoft Store and existing Windows applications, as well as services that users may want access to at the same time, without needing to make use of server-based virtualisation.

Other benefits of using Microsoft's native virtualisation platform are free Windows 7 Extended Security Updates for those using the legacy platform and the ability to virtualise both desktop and apps, depending on what your needs are at that time.

The next step in this virtualisation journey is for Microsoft to start working with other businesses such as Citrix, CloudJumper, FSLogix, Lakeside Software, Liquidware, People Tech Group, and ThinPrint with integrations that allow tighter partnerships with the apps companies may already have running.

The company added that Virtual Desktop will be available through Microsoft Cloud Solution Providers if businesses need to add extra services to their implementation.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.