Starting at only £45 per desktop per month, Cognition Cloud’s secure managed Azure Virtual Desktop service represents outstanding value. In this article I will describe what it is and why you need it.
What is BYOL?
The license to use Microsoft’s Azure Virtual Desktop service is free if you already have one of the following licenses:
- Microsoft 365 E3, E5, A3, A5, F3, Business Premium, Student Use Benefit
- Windows Enterprise E3, E5
- Windows VDA E3, E5
- Windows Education A3, A5
If the license is free, what am I paying for?
There are a number of Azure components generally required to host an Azure Virtual Desktop deployment. These include:
- Virtual machines
- Operating system (OS) storage
- User profile storage
- Application storage
Microsoft charge for each of these resources on a per consumption basis – i.e. you pay for what you use.
In theory, the pay per use model makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately, it is very easy to get caught out with unplanned and unbudgeted costs.
Cognition Cloud manages this uncertainty for you. We charge a fixed monthly cost for our Managed Azure Virtual Desktop service based on the type of workloads you need to run.
Importantly, we also manage the environment for you. We make sure that the environment is properly secured and that the relevant information is backed up so your data is never lost. Windows is kept patched and up to date. Your users get the application they need.
Azure Infrastructure is only half of the story.
Cognition Cloud also manages the endpoint – the computers used to access AVD.
There are three key benefits to this:
- User experience/Convenience
At Cognition Cloud we talk a lot about the sustainability benefits of using your computers for longer.
The way we extend the life of your computers is by converting them to thin clients. To do this we install a new operating system called Igel OS on your devices.
Igel OS is the ideal edge OS for endpoint devices accessing Azure Virtual Desktop services. It is designed specifically for secure, high-performance access to cloud workspaces. Igel OS is the first Linux-based OS validated and certified with Microsoft for AVD device access.
Igel OS is secure by design. It is a lightweight Linux based operating system. Being “stateless”, no user data is ever held on the device. This creates a minimal attack surface, making it pretty much impervious to ransomeware attacks.
Imagine you have a new employee starting, or you need to on-board a team of contractors. Traditionally you might need to provide them with laptops and/or VPN access. Cognition Cloud makes it possible to scale up and down at high speed and at low cost.
The UD Pocket is the only really secure BYOD option. It is a bootable USB device that will temporarily convert a user’s device to a read-only thin client. With the Cognition Cloud BYOL package there is an additional charge for UD Pockets – it is included with other packages.
Users can access the same desktop from any device from anywhere they have Internet access.
Windows patching is run out of hours, so users never having to experience the disruption from an unexpected security patch deployment when they have an important call or presentation to make.
Importantly, Igel OS is optimised for voice and video applications running in AVD. So if you’re using MS Teams, Zoom or Webex you get the same great experience you would if the application was running locally.