Five Things to Know: How Azure Stack HCI with Remote Desktop Services Makes VDI Better

COVID-19 has changed the way we interact and do business. With social distancing in place, more and more employees are working remotely, and this has got organizations asking, should we be rethinking our IT strategy and consider implementing a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)? Maybe you’re thinking it, too. VDI has a lot of benefits, but it also requires more compute, storage, and memory, and low latency networking.

Microsoft Azure Stack HCI offers an ideal platform for VDI. Leveraging a hyper-converged infrastructure and Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (RDS), you can get a high performance, highly available and highly scalable architecture for a successful VDI deployment.

Here are five VDI things to know and how Azure Stack HCI with RDS makes them better.

1. VDI improves scalability

Azure Stack HCI and RDS offer deployment flexibility, high scalability, and extensibility for on-premises VDI deployments that can easily be moved into the public cloud with Azure Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD).

Azure Stack HCI and RDS enable you to quickly create hundreds or thousands of non-persistent and persistent cookie cutter thin clients at scale. Once deployed, your organization has the agility to scale out desktops for new remote offices, or easily add seasonal or new employees.

As a hyper-converged infrastructure, Azure Stack HCI gives you the flexibility to scale as your VDI deployments evolve. You can start with as small as a two-node switchless solution and scale up to sixteen nodes and 4 PBs per cluster.

2. VDI improves security

Azure Stack HCI and RDS allow you to keep company applications and sensitive data safe on centralized servers. Active Directory and Group Polices make it easier to create roles and permissions for files organization-wide so that no unauthorized user can access them. If a workstation or device is stolen or lost, credentials can quickly be changed, and no data is lost or compromised. RDS also reduces risks associated with bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies, keeping personal data separate from corporate assets.

Azure Stack HCI improves your VDI security with Windows Advanced Threat Protection (ATP), an endpoint security platform designed to help enterprise networks prevent, detect, investigate, and respond to advanced threats. Azure Stack HCI enables you to deploy shielded VMs, a combination of Secure Boot, BitLocker encryption, and virtual Trust Platform Module (TPM), to protect against inspection, tampering and theft from malicious fabric admins and host malware.

With Azure Stack HCI’s unique cloud-based capabilities, you can increase security and centrally manage updates using Azure Update Management or unify security management with Azure Security Center to better protect workloads and clients. You can also use Azure services like Azure Backup, Azure Site Recovery, and Azure File Sync to protect your VDI deployments against ransomware attacks, and quickly recover from them.

3. VDI consolidates resources

With Azure Stack HCI and RDS, you can consolidate applications, storage, compute, and memory at the server level, eliminating the need for more resource heavy client-side workstations. As a result, your organization can save significantly on new client-side hardware and extend the life cycle of each workstation.

Azure Stack HCI consolidates your VDI solution even more.  Azure Stack HCI’s hyper-converged infrastructure delivers an all-in-one, consolidated storage solution that is easier to manage and much cheaper than traditional SANs.

Azure Stack HCI can further help you maximize server-side storage efficiency and reduce overall storage costs for your VDI deployments with its deduplication and compression features, now available for ReFS, Microsoft’s recommended file system for HCI. Deduplication and compression increase usable capacity by identifying duplicate portions of files and only storing them once, which can allow you to store up to ten times more data on the same volume.

4. VDI increases performance

Azure Stack HCI and RDS can deliver significant performance increases over traditional workstations, running powerful and resource-intensive server-side applications as if they were native. Azure Stack HCI improves performance by making it easy to boot up thousands of virtual desktops at a time. Hyper-V delivers extremely dense server virtualization for each virtual desktop. And Azure Stack HCI supports hardware acceleration for graphics for applications such as CAD as well as improving RDS video playback.

Azure Stack HCI incorporates industry-leading hardware technologies to improve VDI performance like 2nd Generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable Processors, RDMA networking for ultra-low latency connectivity, NVMe flash, and Intel® Optane® persistent memory, which in memory mode enables you to increase memory up to 512GB per DIMM module, providing an affordable memory solution than DRAM and increasing your overall memory capacity for VDI-intensive environments.

5. VDI helps system admin better monitor and manage client workstations

Azure Stack HCI and RDS make managing clients’ virtual desktops easy. You can rollout system-wide updates, change security policies and permissions, and install applications on hundreds and thousands of desktops at scale. If there is an issue with a virtual desktop, you work server-side, significantly improving response and resolution times of client support tickets, spending minimal to no time trouble shooting client-side hardware.

Azure Stack HCI utilizes Microsoft Windows Admin Center to simplify server administration with streamlined hybrid cloud monitoring and management in one centralized location. Here, you can monitor and manage your Hyper-V VMs and RDS deployments, enabling you to better examine resource consumption and reallocate resources so that each virtual desktop runs optimally. And with Azure Monitor, you can better understand how all your applications are performing both on-premises and in Azure, proactively identifying issues affecting them and the resources they depend on.

Windows Admin Center also supports third party extensions such as the DataON MUST visibility and management tool. It add unique functionality to the Windows Admin Center experience, such as enhanced disk mapping, real-time e-mail alerts, and a call home service that integrates with Azure Analytics to provide real-time system monitoring for disk failures or predicted disk failures to ensure maximum uptime for your VDI deployments.

If you’re looking to create a VDI solution with Azure Stack HCI, DataON can help you.

Read our customer stories and see how we’ve been able to help our customers succeed in their IT modernization goals.

Contact us for a detailed consultation with our sales team and we can help turn your IT challenge into a success.