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Start VM on Connect using Azure Virtual Desktop

This week I’m back to talk about a great new feature in Azure Virtual Desktop. Recently released as general availability, this feature is called “Start VM on Connect”

Intended  help you optimize the costs of your deployment, this feature works by offering a configuration setting to start stopped or deallocated VMs when a user logs in and attempts to connect to a host pool.

It’s remarkably common to set policies to shut down idle VMs and save cost –with the Start VM on connect capability you can now also ensure that those VMs are available to your users if needed. You can enable the start VM on Connect feature for personal or pooled host pools using PowerShell and the Azure portal.

Limitations
There are few details to keep in mind when configuring Start on Connect, thankfully nothing concerning.  Only following Remote Desktop clients support the Start VM on Connect feature:

  • The web client
  • The Windows client (version 1.2.2061 or later)
  • The Android client (version 10.0.10 or later)
  • The macOS client (version 10.6.4 or later)
  • The iOS client (version 10.2.5 or later)
  • The thin clients listed in Thin client support

It’s also important to remember, this feature is not like VM scale sets. You still need to provision virtual machines and add them to the host pool.

Configuring Azure Virtual Desktop Start on Connect

To  configure the Start VM on Connect feature, first you’ll need to create a custom RBAC (role-based access control) role. This is to let Azure Virtual Desktop manage the VMs in your subscription. This role should contain the following actions:

  • Microsoft.Compute/virtualMachines/start/action
  • Microsoft.Compute/virtualMachines/read

Once completed, assign this role to the “Windows Virtual Desktop” application. My custom role is “AVD”

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Once  you have configured the appropriate permissions, enabling start on connect is just a matter of enabling this feature in your AVD host pool as below.

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Azure Virtual Desktop Properties

You can also complete this with the below PowerShell:

Update-AzWvdHostPool -ResourceGroupName -Name -StartVMOnConnect:$true

Thanks for reading this post on Start VM on Connect, hopefully you found this useful and can save some Azure Virtual Desktop costs! As always reach out if you would like to hear more about our AVD Done Right solution!

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