WVD enabled team
Azure Virtual Desktop vs Citrix VDI – Why You Should Be Migrating

Azure Virtual Desktop is Microsoft’s flagship Virtual Desktop Infrastructure solution, completed hosted in Microsoft Azure Public Cloud. It incorporates the security, scalability and next generation technology that is the staple of Microsoft Azure environments.

It allows organisations to adopt a low-cost alternative to more traditional Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, such as comparable Citrix solutions. It provides a feature-rich environment for users to be more productive and grants access to their critical business applications via a virtual desktop, or streamed directly to the end-user’s device.

With cost-effective pricing, simplified management and soon-to-be-released new features, Azure Virtual Desktop is gaining ground as an alternative to Citrix and VMware and seizing market share.

Azure Virtual Desktop vs Citrix VDI

1. Cost Efficiency

Azure Virtual Desktop utilises Microsoft Azure’s native scaling model to allow organisations to pay for what they use. In comparison, Citrix traditionally focuses on heavy capital investment for on-premises hardware and software to provide an end-to-end solution.

A typical Citrix on-premises deployment consists of on-premises servers, Windows Server Operating System licensing, Microsoft RDS CALS, Citrix licensing, additional Microsoft Office licensing and ongoing support services. For a 50-user organisation this can potentially require a £100,000-£150,000 upfront investment.

On the other hand, across the same sized organisation Azure Virtual Desktop will require a Microsoft Azure Subscription, smaller amounts of consultancy and Microsoft 365 licensing. An estimated deployment cost for this type of solution would equal closer to £30,000 per annum.

In this example scenario, that is a potential £100,000+ saving on the initial investment for a similar deployment solution.

2. Accessibility for Smaller Businesses

Azure Virtual Desktop is much more accessible than Citrix for small to medium-sized enterprises. Admittedly, Citrix has many advanced features that require additional cost to implement and maintain. However, not all businesses require them in the short term, nor a way to support them long-term.

The rapid deployment of Azure Virtual Desktop is another reason why it’s becoming a firm favourite for mid-market and enterprise clients alike. The lower cost makes this a great option for mid-market businesses which require a hosted VDI environment and don’t want to be delayed with complex deployment models and higher levels of investment.

3. Ongoing Servicing

The complexity of providing ongoing support for a Citrix environment can be difficult and costly due to the skills required from internal staff or partners to maintain the Citrix infrastructure. In contrast, WVD is delivered in Microsoft Azure and utilises existing skills many organisations already have.

Minimising the new skills required for existing employees makes the WVD environment easier to maintain and manage and reduces the need for and overall cost of expensive specialist contractor support in order to maintain and service the environment.

Camwood Azure Virtual Desktop Services

We’ve been developing our suite of Azure Virtual Desktop services at Camwood around three core components: the platform, applications and your users.

Platform:

We take care of setting up your WVD architecture, ensuring robust security and compliance, whilst ensuring it’s optimised to your business needs. We look after the following areas:

  • Access Microsoft Azure’s unlimited scalable platform: vertically or horizontally scaling based on user requirements.
  • Pay for what you need: utilising Microsoft’s PAYG pricing model, organisations only pay for what they use and need, removing the need for high capital investments.
  • Native security and compliance: utilising Microsoft’s next gen security solutions such as Azure Sentinel and Azure Monitor keeps your users secure and compliant without restricting productivity continuously.

Applications

Our Azure Virtual Desktop service offering is centred around your application estate: are they available, will they perform and how do they integrate? Working with Camwood means we take care of the following application considerations:

  • Application transformation: migrate all your existing application packages into Microsoft’s MSIX format for future proofing.
  • MSIX support: utilise MSIX App Attach to future proof all application delivery with Microsoft’s WVD App Attach integration.

Users

WVD is centred around optimising your team’s experience. Our services ensure a seamless transition for your end-users,  enhancing user experience so your team can focus on being productive. We focus on these key areas:

  • Microsoft 365 native support: allowing users to utilise all Microsoft applications hosted within their virtual desktop
  • FSLogix integration: utilising FSLogix profile containerisation, which allows users to have the same customisation no matter what host they log into.
  • Simplistic OS migration and updates: leveraging Microsoft’s ARM scripting and Camwood’s intelligent automation, this speeds up OS updates and upgrades allowing users to access the latest features available from Microsoft.

The Camwood Process

We can provide your organisation with a cost-effective, granular and rapid migration to Azure Virtual Desktop from on-premises Virtual Desktop Infrastructure solutions.

Following our standardised approach, we deliver a clear overview of your current VDI requirements and how they are transferable to WVD.

Assess

We will provide a 30/90-day assessment of the current on-premises VDI environment to gather technical metrics such as CPU, RAM, IOPS and how they are transferable and right-sized for WVD.

We will then deliver detailed analysis of your organisational user personas such as mobile vs non-mobile, compute resource needs and application usage, to ensure that the WVD environment is tailored to the end-users’ needs.

Build

Utilising our Rapid Deployment Framework, we can provide organisations with a deployment of WVD within two weeks. Ensuring that vendor and industry best practices are adhered to and wrapping your requirements into the build framework to guarantee user productivity is at the heart of the solution.

Migrate

We base all migration paths on clearly defined and well documented processes to ensure that users are disrupted a little as possible and allowing them to stay focussed on what’s important. Throughout the migration lifecycle workloads are optimised to ensure the most cost-efficient deployment for current and future growth requirements.

Develop

Once you are integrated with the WVD solution, we will provide you with ongoing workload optimisation, continuous security and performance monitoring and development of the next generation integrations available as part of WVD.

Providing turn-key solutions such as MSIX Application Packaging and MSIX App Attach integration will allow users to continue working in a safe, productive and optimal manner.

Camwood’s Free Azure Virtual Desktop Assessment

Camwood’s free Azure Virtual Desktop Assessment is an agent-based tool powered by Lakeside SysTrack’s Digital Experience Monitoring Solution. Camwood enables organisations to gain a true visibility of their current Virtual Desktop Infrastructure estate and provide data analysis on a migration path to Windows Virtual Desktop.

The assessment provides organisations with an accurate recommendation regarding the environment’s readiness for Azure Virtual Desktop with no time commitment, effort or investment.

Key Metrics & Data Analysed:

  • Window Virtual Desktop right-sizing: to ensure that the WVD workloads are optimised to meet performance requirements and financial budgeting.
  • Current operating system composition: to give a clear understanding of what workloads are live within your environment and how they can be transposed in WVD accurately.
  • End-user experience scoring: utilising Lakeside SysTrack’s innovative solution, it allows for user persona mapping to ensure that they are receiving the best-suited WVD performance they require.
  • Application usage and performance data: allowing you to gain a clear understanding of what applications to take to Cloud and the key performance metrics to be aware of.
  • Windows 10 multi-session mode considerations: we capture core utilising metrics such as CPU, memory, IOPS and network utilising. This enables us to provide you with a transparent commercial viability assessment to make the move to Azure Virtual Desktop.

Camwood underpin all the data captured and analysed with a clear migration transition path from your existing Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, transparent cost model and ongoing support key considerations as part of your long-term strategy.

If you’re looking for an alternative to Citrix and to migrate into Microsoft’s Azure Virtual Desktop, then you’ll need the right partner to support you. We’re on hand to help with whatever you need, get in touch with the team today.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Daniel Williams
Daniel Williams is the Head of Technology at Camwood.
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