What you need for Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD)

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Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) is now generally available and I’ll be covering off how to set it up in upcoming articles. However, before you even login to your Azure tenant to start setting this up, here’s what you’ll need:

1. A Windows Virtual Desktop license for every user who want to use the service. These come with all Microsoft 365 and Windows E3 and E5 suites.

2. A paid Azure subscription. The majority of the cost of the WVD service will be your Virtual Machine hosts. The cost of these will vary on how many you want to use and how long they run for.

3. Azure Active Directory. The users who access the WVD service need to be in Azure AD. These users can be cloud only or synced from on premises using Azure AD Connect.

4. A Domain Controller (DC). At this point in time the WVD still requires a ‘traditional’ domain controller to allow the VMs to connect to for access. If you only have cloud users then the easiest option to achieve this is to add Azure AD Domain Services. If you already have an on premises Domain Controller (DC) you’ll need a Site to Site (S2S) VPN to link your on premises network to Azure. Note, that if you have an on premises DC that is using Azure AD Connect you can’t just add Azure AD Domain Services because Azure AD Connect doesn’t sync ‘traditional’ DC attributes. So, if you have an on premises DC, even if it is already using Azure AD Connect, you’ll still require a S2S VPN to Azure to allow the WVD service to connect VMs to that domain.

5. Azure AD tenant ID. Each Azure AD has a unique number which you can get from the web interface or via PowerShell. This is because it is possible to have multiple AD’s inside Azure and each can be configured and connected differently. The WVD service will need to know which specific Azure AD to connect to when provisioning.

6. Azure Subscription ID. The costs of the WVD service need to be applied against a unique subscription inside Azure. again, remember it is possible to have multiple independent subscriptions inside an Azure tenant. The WVD setup will need to know which subscription to bill for the service.

7. Azure tenant admin account. This will typically be a global administrator of your Azure environment. This will typically be the user who sets up, configures and manages WVD. They will also typically be an administrator of the domain that is connected to Azure AD.

8. Domain join account. This is an account that has the rights to join machines to the domain. The WVD service will create a number of VMs that need to be connected to the domain so that users on the domain can login to these machines in your WVD environment. You may wish to have a domain join user who is not a global administrator for security reasons but you should also be aware of the potential password requirement differences between your domain user and the Azure admin account. You may wish to use the same Azure admin account as your domain join account. If so, just beware of the password requirement policy for these.

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As you can see above, the domain join account has to be at least 12 characters long, plus 3 of the following – 1 lower case character,  1 upper case character, 1 number, a special character. That requirement may be different from what your Azure AD or on premises AD requires. My recommendation would be to create a stand alone domain join account that meets the requirements and is only used for joining machines.

9. Azure Virtual Network (VNET). You’ll need a pre-existing VNET for the WVD machines to connect to. When you implement Azure AD Domain Services or a S2S VPN to connect an on premises DC, you’ll need a VNET. Make sure you understand the IP addressing and subnetting of your Azure VNET when you create it, as changing it later can be very painful.

10. Appropriate skill set. WVD requires a range of skills and understandings including:

– Identity management

– Azure AD

– PowerShell

– Azure IaaS including VNETs, VMs, Storage, etc

– Networking

– Azure backup, imaging, etc

Can you bumble you way through without these? Maybe, but life will be much easier if you do have these skills and really, if you are planning to work in the Microsoft Cloud environment, these should be considered mandatory.

There you have it, ten pre-requisite items to get sorted before you launch into creating a WVD for yourself. Get these sorted prior and your installation will be much smoother!

As I said, I’ll have upcoming articles on how to set this up, so stay tuned.

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