Windows Desktop in the Cloud

Microsoft Windows Cloud Desktop

Every so often some technology or provider comes along with a piece of tech that just works. This has prompted this post.

The problem -: a customer wants to host some desktop technology in the cloud.

Plenty of solutions, some I have used before and others that I have not. As ever, the previous supplier has changed prices, location, licenses etc. leading to another discovery journey.

The search begins in Google with ‘Windows Cloud Desktop Cloud‘ and brings up the usual suspects.  I have used both Azure and AWS on projects. Yes, they work well but the environments require mastering. They also bring pricing surprises, the cost is always more than you first thought. I have been burnt by them both, I know they have to make a profit, but the true cost never quite is shown, until you see the monthly invoice..

As usual, did too much research and ignored those vendors that insist you enter your details to get a call from sales. I know what I want, I just need a monthly price and access to set a Windows Desktop in the Cloud. I do not need to talk to anyone..

Anyway, after cutting the prospective suppliers down I tried V2 Cloud . The offer of a 7 Day ‘Risk-Free’ trial is attractive, giving us a chance to install the application, test and prove the viability of their VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure). For complete transparency, this is an affiliate link, however, this is something I am using and do recommend, with or without making a little on the side!

With a quick sign-up of email and password, I selected a Desktop configuration from their ‘Individual Cloud Desktops. The bundles are named, this is ‘The Startup’ and comes with 2CPUs (Intel Xeon 3.8/4.2GHZ), 8 GB RAM and 50GB SSD. Should be enough for the initial stage of this project. Also, can be located in Europe. The cost $70 per month, not quite as low as I had wanted, but still have the Free Trial period to make a decision.

I selected ‘The Startup’ configuration, entered credit card and the Cloud machine starting being provisioned. Took about 30 minutes.

Access is via either a WebConnect – not something I had used before, or via a badged, pre-configured, downloadable Remote Desktop connection tool (RDP).  I downloaded the RDP tool and started it up. I had to use the same login I used for the V2Cloud registration and the Virtual Windows 10 desktop was immediately available. Simple, no network layer, no volumes to configure, no firewall to fathom. Yes, I am sure there are limitations but I like what I see.

Software installed quickly and is now available for testing with Windows Server 2019 Datacenter running smoothly in the background.

V2 Cloud suggests the following benefits:

  • Increased Security
  • A boost to employee productivity
  • Easy and secure remote access
  • Reduce IT expenses

You can read more here

One note about the costs. The $70 per month quote is for the Basic Plan, by default the setup selected the Business Plan at $105 per month. This includes backups, malware protection and a few other niceties that I do not require during this trial.

In the current climate, where it is difficult, or impossible to physically visit a client, this type of solution will become the norm. I am also seeing a move to yet even thinner clients, leaving the cloud to provide the flexibility to change machine spec quickly, with clear pricing.

Perhaps worth considering if you are on the lookout for a Desktop in the Cloud.