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CloudJumper > Posts > Blogs > WVD, Coronavirus and Business continuity

Robin Brandl is the Vice President of Strategic Alliances at CloudJumper and has an extensive background in EUC working at Microsoft, Citrix, VMware and CloudJumper. See Robin’s Bio here

Last month I was planning to travel from the U.S. to Munich, Germany for IGEL DISRUPT 2020. My wife sent me an article about how Munich was the site for the first non-asymptomatic transfer of COVID-19 and told me to be careful. (COVID-19; also known as 2019-nCoV; best known as coronavirus; officially named severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2.)

This stirred a flood of memories from 2009 as I was on a flight with the first suspected case of H1N1 as a passenger became ill with H1N1 symptoms on my flight to Berlin. (H1N1 is the subtype influenza A).

Picture taken by the author, Robin Brandl, in 2009 of health officials boarding his plane to take off an early H1N1 suspected patient.
Picture by Robin Brandl: Health officials boarding his flight to remove a suspected H1N1 patient in 2009

(Picture by Robin Brandl: Health officials boarding his flight to remove a suspected H1N1 patient. 2009)

Over many years, talking to thousands of EUC customers, I’ve found that the majority of them had never thought about how they would continue to work in the event of a disaster where their employees couldn’t get into an office.

Business continuity is one of the foundational value pillars that made me such a big fan of desktop virtualization. Nearly 2 decades ago, I worked for a company in the Southeast United States when a hurricane was bearing down on our Headquarters and our datacenter. We switched over to our disaster recovery (DR) site in anticipation of Hurricane Floyd. I decided not to leave, but rather play the role of the watchman and ride out the storm in the datacenter. The storm ended up missing us. While I watched the storm crawl our way, I decided to do some routine maintenance. What our servers showed me that day surprised me. I could see that even though we sent our employees home, many were still logged in and working! When I asked them, days later, why they were in the system that day, they told me, “For the first time, I could work the same way at home as I do in the office.”

While rehearsing our next DR test scenario, it also hit me that if the datacenter was inaccessible we had thousands of employees in buildings that would also be inaccessible also. In other words, we had a great backup strategy, a fully functioning DR site, proper project planning for cut over and for our systems to all be rebuilt within 48hrs of an emergency, but no one had given thought HOW the users would be able to access those systems.

Since then, I’ve watched a number of local Florida businesses delay this type of planning year after year. This is shocking in this region since Florida is renowned for hurricanes and severe storms. But I’ve witnessed too many good companies with sound and reliable backup and DR plans, but no EUC business continuity plans. They could fail-over their entire datacenter to a warm DR site in a matter of hours, but failed to provide a way for the users to access their applications. It’s almost like the businesses expected thousands of users to jump into their cars, after a bad storm, and go to the warm DR site too. 

The risk is not just from storms and viruses, I’ve seen other emergency cases where a company’s office was condemned mid-day because a simple copy room renovation unexpectedly revealed asbestos in the ceiling and walls and they were forced to immediately quarantine the site — the workers we’re kicked out and not allowed back in the building for months.

When your customers can’t reach you and you can’t reach your systems, they turn to your competitors.

Robin brandl

Thankfully SARS, MERS, and H1N1 never exploded. However, experts expect the COVID-19 infection rates to continue to grow. It’s already affecting manufacturing, supply chains, travel, events, the stock market and most importantly, the public’s perception of their own safety. 

With this event we have EUC technologies available to keep employees productive that we didn’t back then — Azure and Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD).

With the planning I was involved in for customers with SARS, and H1N1 one of the biggest challenges was the capital expense (CAPEX) and effort it would take to build out an environment to support our users in the event they all had to stay home. Further, even if you spent unlimited money to build out your on-premises EUC infrastructure, you may not be able to get the need storage, compute and network equipment because of the currently affected supply chain issues as highlighted by our current COVID-19 outbreak.

With Azure and WVD customers can pre-stage a small, secondary deployment in place and be ready in a time of need. WVD and Azure can scale to thousand, or tens of thousands of users on-demand. Further, you pay (or rent) for only what you use. There’s no need to over-provision resources on-prem like we’ve had to do in the EUC industry for so long. EUC has evolved. The cloud allows for real-time provisioning and renting only what you need and use. Renting is an operational expense (OPEX) and is preferred by a great number of organizations to CAPEX.

WVD is a Desktop as a Service (DaaS) offering. Unlike hosted Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offerings where you have basically redeployed what you have for infrastructure in the cloud on a bunch of virtual machines (VMs), WVD is a Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering. PaaS refers to native services coded directly into the platform of the provider — in this case, Microsoft Azure. PasS services offer a reduced attack surface. For example, in Azure’s WVD, there are no gateways exposed and therefore there are no IP ports to be scanned, closing the door on a classic penetration approaches. WVD leverages a reverse connect technology, eliminating the need to open any inbound ports to the VMs.

Graphic showing Reverse Connect on WVD as deployed with CloudJumper's WVD
source of image = Microsoft

WVD is the natural evolution of EUC. New and imminent industry trends — 5G bandwidth, new remote work scenarios, the proliferation of ransomware, pandemic health urgencies, new privacy laws, and the changes to Microsoft licensing — are coming together to make WVD the remote desktop solution of choice.

Ready to test-drive/pilot/POC WVD? We can help. CloudJumper solves the most challenging adoption problems of WVD. Take WVD from a “long-term organizational strategy” to “deployed” in a matter of minutes.

While Azure WVD is CloudJumper’s EUC cloud of choice, we can also deploy to your on-premises environment as well as AWS, GCP, and VMC on AWS, all managed in the same unified UI portal.

2020 is the year of WVD. Go to www.getwvd.com to signup for a free trial of CloudJumper’s software.

While nobody likes to have to think of the impact of a situation like this it’s better to be prepared than find out you’re not prepared. And remember:

Keep Calm and Wash your Hands

About CloudJumper

CloudJumper solves the most challenging adoption problems of WVD. It all starts with our simple UI which overlays the Azure WVD environment and allows you to perform all of the necessary deployment, management and maintenance functions needed for a successful turnkey WVD solution– no PowerShell needed.  CloudJumper is a recognized Microsoft Preferred Solution Provider for WVD. Our product team worked alongside Microsoft for two years developing a native Azure solution.

CloudJumper is cloud-agnostic with deployments in Google, Amazon, regional cloud providers and on-premises. We work on the control plane to provide an automation, orchestration and workflow solution used to deploy and manage complex WVD, VDI and RDS workspaces. Consider us the industry’s best alternative to the big guys.

Customers and MSP Partners have been trusting CloudJumper for nearly 20 years in the managed workspace industry. We have thousands of customers running tens of thousands of applications and desktops.

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