Written by: Daniel Haurey on 09/02/20

Sizing Windows Virtual Desktops in Azure is an art.  You seek to find the balance between performance and cost that optimizes your user’s ability to use the desktop resource to complete their tasks with the least amount of issue.  If you size the solution too small, users may experience slow processing and potentially crashes of systems and applications while sizing too large will result in unnecessary spend for resources that are never used.  Azure provides the flexibility to resize and scale your WVD solution to meet your needs.  These top five considerations provide a framework to help you determine which solution set would best fit your organization.

1.      Desktop goal

Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) is powered by Azure and that makes it flexible for what type of computer you can provide to your end users.  This gives you the ability to provision your users a desktop capable of just browsing the web (B series desktops) all the way to a desktop that can complete graphics rendering and data science tasks (N series desktops).

2.      Budget

On the surface budgeting is simple, you can specify how much you want to spend and customize your solution to fit.  If you have a $10,000 annual budget for your virtual desktop needing to service 50 users, you can build it.  Where it gets complex is how you apply your budget to virtual disks and machines to provide your users a great experience.

3.      Pooled or Personal Desktops

With Windows Virtual Desktops in Azure, you can choose to give each user their own computer (Personal Desktops) or you can allow multiple users to access a single desktop at the same time, each with their own secure session (Pooled Desktops).

Personal Desktops:

Personal desktops are normally Windows 7 or Windows 10 Enterprise machines and they provide each user an individually assigned desktop which allows customization for each person just as you would be able to if you gave them a physical laptop or a desktop workstation.  With this type of desktop users are unable to impact other users on the computer because everyone has their own. The downside for personal desktops is they come with additional cost as you are running a computer instance for each person within the organization, and you must manage all of them.

Pooled Desktops:

If you have heard of Terminal Servers, Citrix Servers, or Remote Desktop Servers previously you are thinking of Pooled desktops.  With this type of desktop, we are allowing multiple users to log into the same server and work independently of each other on shared hardware (or virtual hardware). With pooled desktops, you save on cost and management but lose the ability to customize the hardware to the user and a power user has the potential to impact other users on the system if they consume all the processing power of what you provisioned.

Personal Pooled
Advantages Customize CPU/RAM for each user
Users can not impact other users
Less Cost
Less Servers to manage
Disadvantages Additional Cost
Additional Management
Pooled resources for users
Users CAN impact other users

4.  User Details

At a minimum, you need to know how many users you will have accessing the system. Knowing your user count allows you to begin planning capacity in the form of vCPU and RAM.   In a perfect world, you will know how your users work and what applications they use.  This knowledge will allow you to plan for CPU and memory requirements for each person.  Having an idea of each person’s CPU and memory requirements you can create a mix of pooled and personal desktops to fit your organization.

5.  Applications

Single applications can change your sizing of WVD drastically.  A single data scientist in your organization attempting to use a pooled desktop sized for Microsoft Office Suite task workers has the potential to crash your server and leave your helpdesk receiving calls from multiple people who have lost time and work because the desktop ran out of resources.  At a minimum, you need to know which applications your users will use and their manufacturer’s requirements for CPU and RAM as well as if the application and licensing can support a pooled desktop model or if it requires personal desktops.

Need help deploying Windows Virtual Desktops?  Contact one of our WVD consultants today!