CloudJumper & WVD Review: Work Smarter, Not Harder

By Rory Monaghan

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Back in May, I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to try out CloudJumper’s Cloud Workspace Management Suite, which was pretty cool. At the time, I liked what I saw. For several months, I have also been playing with Microsoft’s Windows Virtual Desktop public preview which has been a fun and interesting experience.

I’m going to go into detail on my thoughts of WVD in another blog post but what I will say is that I went through the setup of WVD and took screenshots with the intention to post a blog on that setup but many others got there before me.

I didn’t really struggle with the setup per se but it wasn’t very streamlined, in my opinion. If you want to get an idea of what I mean check out Christian’s excellent blog post that details step by step the setup of WVD:HERE

You see that? In my opinion, it’s a disjointed experience, working partly in the Azure portal, partly in PowerShell, browsing out to a separate RD URL. I didn’t think it was all that difficult but then I tried the setup from scratch using the free trial of CloudJumper’s CWMS. Now I don’t see why I would go through setting up WVD any other way.

If you haven’t tried WVD yet or you did kick the tyres a little and want to try again (in which case, go into Azure and clear all of your previous setup’s resources) you can use use CWMS as it is completely free until January 2020 through getwvd.com and follow this guide (Correct as of September 2019):

My Pre-requisites

I already had my Azure subscription in place with a handy $150 a month credit. I also had Azure Active Directory setup and in-place with my on-premises AD syncing to the cloud via AD Connect. If you are in EUC and this is your first venture into Azure, first of all, welcome, if your organization already uses Office 365 and Azure Active Directory you should be in a good starting place and already have the same pre-requisites in-place.

One other thing you’re going to need is Azure Global Admin rights. You may need to work with somebody who is a Global Admin in your org in order to complete the setup if you are not able to get that yourself.

Setup WVD with CWMS

Simply start by completing your sign-up

When you have completed the sign-up, you should be able to start your setup through the setup wizard with your Azure login. Simply select your subscription from the dropdown box.

Select your tenant’s Azure region in the Location dropdown box and click Next -> 

Give a suitable password for the initial VM admin account.

You can setup some generic addresses for your E-mail notifications and set a level 3 admin account for your initial VM setup then click Next ->

My prerequisite was that I already had an Azure Active Directory presence so it was very easy for me to just use that. Alternatively, if you would like to choose internal you can build and use Active Directory running on VMs, you’ll want to go down that path with the wizard. The Azure AD option is nice and quick! Click Next ->

For the initial machine setup, I select a single Windows Server 2016 Server with no FTP feature enabled for the Platform VM. This is a VM that will be used for running some unique CloudJumper services like it’s cool Live Scaling capabilities which I will get into a little later in this blog post. When using WVD, this isn’t going to needed going forward UNLESS like me you want to use the CloudJumper services (Live Scaling, Workload Scheduling, Wake on Demand) to help operate your WVD. In my case, I also used this server for my own tools  (e.g. App-V Scheduler) and used it as a jump box.

Next you’ll want to set you Subnet IP and select to get your subnet groups

As stated, this initial server is a tear away for some but for me I didn’t selected any Office apps. I installed my own tools on the box.

When completed, click Validate.

At this point, your platform has been validated and you can to start to provision.

Click Provision.

Go to the pub or run a marathon.

By the time you get back, you’ll have a platform ready to build WVD on.

At this point, if you move over to the Admin Portal you should see an Available status on the Dashboard.

Navigate to Workspaces and you’ll find a WVD menu item.

You will see a unique code in the text. You’ll need to copy that.

Enter the unique code into the consent page and click Submit. After a couple of minutes, you’ll want to do this step again but this time select Server App and click Submit.

With your Azure account, you’ll want to Accept the permission request from CloudJumper.

And again for WVD.

 

Accept again and repeat these steps on the rdweb consent page and click but this time for the Server App.

Now you should be all set to click Allow WVD Access.

Now you should be able to Initialize WVD.

When complete, you’ll see the URL presented to create a new host pool.


Select the settings you would like. I decided to build using the Windows 10 EVD template for the Windows 10 multi-user experience. The Machine Size type will also obviously be pretty important to factor for cost. When complete click Add Host Pool.

The new host pool should be created.

Under Users & Groups, choose who to enable the Cloud Workspace for.

Click Yes

Next, I added myself as a user into a group

I selected the user.

 

 

 

At this point when navigating to the RDWeb Client, the desktop is now available.

When launching, you’ll be prompted to allow Clipboard and Printer access.

I’ve got a multi-user Windows 10 desktop. I can modify it and at this point, you can prepare a master image with FSLogix and all of your other goodies or use CWMS Provisioning Collection option to simply modify a VM and turn into your master image. You can even take existing master images you might have and use CWMS to bring them into your WVDs. In my lab environment, I deployed my existing App-V applications to my desktops with App-V Scheduler.

There’s More!

Clearly this setup of WVD is a lot more straight forward than jumping between the Azure portal, the consent page, PowerShell etc. but that’s not the only value CloudJumper CWMS adds.

CloudJumper have their own workload scheduler and live scaling features which allows you to ensure you always have the capacity required WHEN it’s required. Ensuring machines are powered down when they are not required, allowing you to keep your costs down.

 

One of the shortcomings of WVD, in my opinion is the application delivery. CloudJumper provide a very cool automation framework for doing pretty much anything you wish to run as a scripted event and also the ability to add applications. Best of all, they support using Chocolatey packages for your app deployment needs and have some useful information HERE.

There is also a pretty nice easy backup scheduler and a slew of settings you can set with ease. Enabling Remote App access, enabling Profile Disk, enable MFA for All Users and more!

A pretty interesting option here is to enable App Locker to allow you lockdown and secure your desktops.

It is excellent that these features are provided in a relatively simple way to manage and consume. It provides an organization with some quick wins while they start their journey to the cloud with CloudJumper and Windows Virtual Desktop. A key to ensuring users and organizations have a good first impression of WVD is to show the value and CloudJumper makes it easy to do that.

I will post an article soon diving into Windows Virtual Desktop itself! I look forward to sharing it.

Joshua Earle

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