Yet more Windows announcements – MMD, WVD – what does it mean?

September has certainly been a busy month for people involved in the End User marketplace and particularly those tracking the Windows 7 to Windows 10 transition.

A couple of weeks ago I posted about two really key announcements, the first relating to the extension to Windows as a Service (or Evergreen) support ability for Enterprise users (up to 30 months) and also the confirmed availability of Extended Security Updates (ESU) for Windows 7 beyond its planned end date of January 2020.

Both of these announcements are good news for businesses.  The first giving more time to deploy updates in complex estates and providing more stability to the desktop environment.  The second provides transparency to customers on the impact of not completing their migration from Windows 7 by 2020.  To take ESU will get expensive for customers of a given scale, but its a back-stop solution and allows for an informed business case for completing the move to Windows 10.  The harsh reality is the enterprise was never going to have completed this by January 2020 anyway, so Microsoft providing an option early diffuses the issue somewhat.

But that’s old news.   In the past two weeks there have been two other announcements that are worth noting, as placed alongside the existing announcements add more option, maybe more complexity to the migration planning situation

Microsoft Managed Device (MMD)

Computacenter are delighted to have been chosen as an initial launch partner for Microsoft’s “MMD” offering.   We have been working closely with Microsoft as the MMD concept has developed and matured and are excited about the opportunity this brings both to ourselves and our customers in helping them transform to a Modern Workplace powered by Microsoft 365 and cloud technologies.

This strategy aligns completely to our Digital Me proposition which we’ve been using to help our customers transform to a modern workplace environment and enable their users and develop significant business performance from a truly mobile and collaborative workplace.

We will be working in partnership with Microsoft as MMD develops in the coming months and are excited by the opportunities to enhance our existing solutions and accelerate the transformation to the Modern Workplace.

For further details, we’ll be talking about this topic in a specific presentation at Microsoft Future Decoded on 31st October at the London ExCel centre. 

Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD)

At Microsoft Ignite in Orlando this week, Microsoft announced WVD.  This is a very significant, not least as Microsoft themselves have held up this market for many years with complicated and restrictive licensing models that effectively prohibited running Client Operating Systems in this kind of way.

But times change and Microsoft have now announced that this too will be available (Soon) allowing you to run Windows 10 Virtual Desktops in the Azure platform.  Citrix were also quick out of the blocks to build on this announcement, adding more capability and function to the base Microsoft offer.

The really interesting bit in this is not the headline announcement itself.  Why? My view is that Public Cloud Desktop as a Service will find its own trajectory in the market based on organisations public cloud and security appetite and the classic application adjacency and performance issues – but nice that there is now a viable option in the market.

What caught my eye most was that Microsoft are offering Windows 7 ESU for free within the WVD proposition.  What does this mean? Basically you can charge on with the deployment to Windows 10 but for any of those troublesome apps or workstyles that Windows 7 is creating a constraint, you now have a containment strategy to host them on WVD without incurring the additional support costs.  There are nuances, you’ll clearly have to pay for the Azure resources to run this, but it gives yet another option to deal with the Windows 10 migration challenge.

WVD is in a limited preview stage and we’re awaiting more details on formal launch

Summary

Piece all of these announcements together and we’ve now got a number of different options and solutions to content with the transition to a Modern Desktop.  A few weeks all we really had was a date in early Jan 2020 that we knew the market was going to struggle to hit.  Microsoft have responded, and responded in force.

We’re looking forward to talking to customers about MMD in particular, but even aside from that all the other announcements are going to create some  different customer conversations through the rest of 2018 and 2019

Contact us for more details or come and see us at Future Decoded

About Paul Bray

Paul is Computacenter’s Chief Technologist for End User Services and Digital Workplace @PSBray

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