Azure Virtual Desktop is a service in Azure, that can help you to provide virtual desktops to your employees or external people of the organization, by using the Bring Your Own Device model (BYOD).

It is based on Azure Virtual Machine, with a client OS, like Windows 10 or 11.

You can find the full documentation here: What is Azure Virtual Desktop? – Azure | Microsoft Docs

To start, you need to have a virtual network with an Active Directory that can be accessed from this VNet, or, use Azure ADDS.

Search for Azure Virtual Desktop in the list of services.

Azure Virtual Desktop

Host pool

In the host pool tab, click on Create host pool. It is a session host, so, in other terms, it is a collection of one or more identical virtual machines:

Create host pool

Choose a resource group to create the host pool, the name, and the region. After you can choose between Personal (dedicated) or pooled. For personal, you can choose an automatic assignment, or a direct assignment, depending on what you want. For pooled, you need to provide the maximum number of users in a host and the load balancing algorithm:

Load balancing algorithm

We will not add virtual machines to this pool yet:

Virtual machines

The workspace will be created later:

Workspace

Click on Next:

Advanced

We can now create the host pool:

Validation passed

The host pool has been created:

The host pool has been created

Application groups

During the host pool creation, an application group has been created. This application group contains only the SessionDesktop application, to allow the user to connect to the desktop:

Application group

We will assign this application to a user:

Assignments

Workspace

We will now create the workspace. A workspace is a suite of one or more applications groups:

Create a workspace

We add our application group that already exists in this workspace:

Application group

We can start the creation:

Review and create

Virtual Machines in a host pool

Let’s start the creation of virtual machines, for our users. Give a name that will be used for the VM, the image, the size, the number of VM to deploy, and the disk type:

Add virtual machines

Now, you need to select your VNet that has access to an Active Directory and choose a subnet.

Provide information of a user that has rights to do a domain join, and specify or not the OU to store the computer object. Create a local account in the VM:

Create a local account in the VM

After a few minutes, VMs have been created:

VMs have been created

And joined my AD:

Active Directory Users and Computers

And hosts are now present:

Session host

Scaling Plans

The scaling plan section is a very interesting feature for companies. Be careful, this feature is, at this time, only working with Pooled host pool assignment. Start by creating a scaling plan. The time zone is very important here. So if you want to have multiple time zone, for each of your host pools, you need to have multiple host pools, one per time zone for example:

Scaling Plan

Choose days when you want to apply this plan:

Add a schedule

Choose the start hour of your employees, here it’s 8 AM. So, from this time, we can start the ramp-up:

 Ramp-up

Select at which time is the peak hour, 9 AM here:

Peak hours

Do the same for the ramp down. Basically, people that start earlier will leave earlier, so we can decrease the number of nodes:

Ramp-down

Select at which time you want to put your peak-off hour:

Off-peak hours

Select a host pool (Pooled) where you want to apply the plan, and, enable auto-scaling to save money between 8PM and 8AM:

Select a host pool

You can create the plan:

Create a scaling plan

The plan is created and directly applied:

The plan is created

Connect to your Azure Virtual Desktop

The application can be used on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android: Remote Desktop clients | Microsoft Docs

Log in with the user that has the access to the Application Group:

Sing in

Workspace

Workspace

The sec

Session hosts

User information

You can check information for a specific user. For example, a user is stuck in his session, you can log him off, without connecting to the VM:

User information

Go to sessions, and select the session where you want to log off the user, by clicking on Log off button:

Select the session

The user can now connect from scratch, with the login loading page:

Users

You have individual permission for this user too, to which application group the user is assigned, with information:

Individual assignments

In the next part of this article, we will see how to publish a default application and a custom one.

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