As I am going through my ‘DaaS’ book and also new projects for customers, several with WVD (Windows Virtual Desktop), I started to question myself if WVD or anything similar, is the way to go moving forward. And based on that, I decided to write this post, what will probably come as a surprise to many of you out there.
Before I deal with the title of this post, let me tell you what I have seen so far about WVD and my overall thoughts and impressions.
First of all, for someone used to deal with full RDS deployments, with brokers, web access, gateway, licensing, just being able to worry about my actual workload while all the infrastructure is magically tied into my solution is indeed a breath of fresh air. I have to say it is liberating. The RDS architecture was cumbersome with several very rough edges and with components that were developed with very little thought behind them, especially given how much time Microsoft had to watch this space and how other companies were building their products (i.e Citrix, Provision Networks, ProPalms and so on back in the day). In its typical stubborn fashion, Microsoft decided to be different and created a mess. Typical examples of this messy monstruosity are:
- Domain Joined gateway
- Broker that breaks easily under anything but light loads (why do you think there is a WMI fix for the broker to address all sorts of scalability issues that lead to gateways not being able to get people connected? I could go on and on regarding the broker issues)
- Out-of-the-box wide open mentality. Yep, looking at the gateways default CAP/RAP…
Not having to deal with all that, again, is just plain amazing and does feel great. Trust my word on this, after all I wrote a damn book about RDS.
Now, back to the title of this post, is WVD indeed the future? It depends heavily on what Microsoft will do with it. As of now, the experience is rough. Getting everything up and running is a disjointed effort. Several things must be in place before it can be deployed. You need to hit a particular URL to consent to certain permissions. No UDP support. As usual I could go on and on regarding the list of things that are far from great. But the biggest one, and one that is tied to what Microsoft will do and how great WVD can be is a simple one: lack of proper, simple, on-premises support.
I understand the shift everyone in this industry is now chasing, going from the traditional revenue model to a subscription one. I was doing this back in 2001 when we setup the first company in Canada to provide access to a hosted AD, Exchange and RDS environment, subscription based. I get it.
But this revenue model can be leveraged for the infrastructure only. Charge people a monthly fee per user that includes the RDS CAL (or whatever other CAL that would be good to remotely connect to server and desktop OSs) plus the backend stuff (GW/CB/WA PaaS).
Let people run their workloads anywhere and I truly believe Microsoft will have a winner in their hands.
Its current Azure-only form is just too limiting. And please do not even attempt to comment on this post with things like ‘Have you heard of Azure Stack?’. Yes I did and I wish I hadn’t.
Microsoft, you built something great here. Something that has potential. Quite a lot actually. Please, learn from your previous mistakes in this space (Azure RemoteApp anyone? Shitty RDS architecture too?) and more than that, listen to what everyone is saying.
This new world has no borders. Do not put one around WVD.
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