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Guide To VDI: Evaluating Top Vendors: Page 4 of 6


Microsoft VDI
Microsoft states that it can deliver VDI in one of three methods:

  • Session-based desktops: These were formerly known as Terminal Server. They enable multiple user sessions running on one copy of Windows. There is isolation between user sessions, and user data can be restricted with proper configuration.
  • VM-based pooled or personal virtual desktops: These run atop a hypervisor and enable the choice of centralized (pooled) desktops or individual (personal) desktops.

Microsoft offers VDI through Windows Server 2012. Service providers and vendors that provide VDI solutions using Windows must support the Microsoft licensing model. Microsoft provides a 6-page licensing FAQ located here.

Microsoft Azure RemoteApp
While Microsoft does not officially market a DaaS solution, it provides the Microsoft Azure RemoteApp solution to serve remote applications and provide some of the typical DaaS capabilities, except for the desktop itself.

Azure RemoteApp exists as a cloud-only or a hybrid option. For the cloud-only option, an administrator chooses from a list of Microsoft applications (primarily Microsoft Office) and assigns the apps to the users. Authentication is via the user's Microsoft account credentials or Azure Active Directory account. For the hybrid option, the administrator has additional control to upload an image to Azure and manage the Active Directory authentication.

Key differentiators
Microsoft RemoteApp provides the ability to seamlessly make a single application available to a user, instead of the entire desktop.

Microsoft VM-based virtual desktops not only provide the benefit of desktop centralization, but extend that capability with additional features such as:

  • Unified management of personal virtual desktops with System Center Configuration Manager
  • Accelerated graphics support using RemoteFX to provide shared graphics acceleration to multiple users from a single GPU
  • Dynamic memory, which utilizes Hyper-V's capability to dynamically increase or decrease RAM from VMs based on utilization.