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Nerdio Seeing Growth Surge Amid ‘Unbelievable’ WVD Demand

The startup has been at the forefront of enabling MSPs to tap into Microsoft’s Windows Virtual Desktop service.

For a startup, Azure automation provider Nerdio has played an outsized role in enabling the move to Microsoft’s Windows Virtual Desktop during the remote work surge of 2020.

The Chicago-based company and its MSP partners have been deploying Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) at a rapid pace since March, said Nerdio Chief Revenue Officer Joseph Landes in an interview with CRN. Nerdio saw an “unbelievable rush to WVD in March, April and May,” and demand has remained strong ever since, Landes said.

[Related: Nerdio Raises $8M To Bring Azure, Windows Virtual Desktop To More MSPs]

WVD is a desktop and app virtualization service that aims to offer simplified deployment, less-expensive licensing and other advantages over previous virtual desktop solutions. After debuting in the fall of 2019, WVD had already been gaining traction prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nerdio, in fact, was in on the ground floor with Windows Virtual Desktop. The startup had actually partnered with Microsoft during the development process for WVD, co-founder and CEO Vadim Vladimirskiy told CRN previously.

In early March, the company launched its Nerdio Manager for WVD solution--which provides MSPs with tools for simplifying the deployment, management and optimization of Windows Virtual Desktop environments.

The timing of the launch for Nerdio Manager for WVD was uncanny, debuting just as the widespread shift to work-from-home was getting underway in North America.

“We totally pivoted our company to help customers deploy WVD, and help partners learn about WVD,” Landes said.

Windows Virtual Desktop runs on Azure and offers a simpler and less-expensive licensing model for deploying virtual desktops. Among WVD’s key features is the ability for multi-session usage--in which multiple users can connect to Windows 10 virtual desktops on a single virtual machine at the same time.

As a result of the massive demand for WVD, Nerdio ended up crossing its full-year target for its Nerdio Manager for WVD solution in July, Landes said. The company is now up to 1,000 customers for the offering.

Nerdio’s aggressive efforts at working with partners to deploy WVD have not gone unnoticed by Microsoft. At the Inspire 2020 partner conference in July, Microsoft Channel Chief Gavriella Schuster singled out Nerdio while discussing the WVD opportunity in her keynote.

Solution providers, Schuster said, can manage a WVD environment and “turn it into a managed service opportunity without much heavy lifting--especially if you team up with a partner like Nerdio.”

Schuster said that Nerdio has “developed tools specifically for partners--for both SMB- and enterprise-focused partners--that can help you begin to deploy a WVD environment in only 60 seconds, and deploy a complete desktop in just a few hours.”

Following the initial surge, the WVD demand has been continuing steadily as organizations look to get more strategic in enabling their remote workforces, Landes said.

One managed services provider that has been busy moving customers to WVD with the help of Nerdio’s solutions is Sandy Springs, Ga.-based Decision Digital.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the MSP accelerated its plans to move the majority of its customers from its Atlanta data center into the Azure cloud. And Decision Digital has deployed some form of WVD for 90 percent of those customers, said CEO and co-founder Rick Harber.

“We felt a tremendous opportunity to start talking to customers about Windows Virtual Desktop,” Harber said. “We’ve had great success with it, and we really couldn’t have done it without the Nerdio folks. Their tool is phenomenal.”

Nerdio’s solution dramatically reduces the number of steps that must be taken to get to different areas within Azure, he said. “That’s probably the No. 1 thing that my team will tell you is the advantage,” Harber said.

Nerdio, which launched in 2016 out of managed services provider Adar, also offers its Nerdio for Azure solution to provide MSPs with capabilities around Azure deployment, pricing, management and optimization. This past February, Nerdio raised its first outside funding with an $8 million Series A round led by MK Capital, and including investments from Vladimirskiy and Landes.

In late January, Nerdio will host a two-day virtual event for MSPs, NerdioCon. Speakers at the event will include Schuster and other Microsoft executives such as Kam VedBrat, partner group program manager for Windows Virtual Desktop at Microsoft.

NerdioCon is scheduled to take place Jan. 26 and 27, 2021.

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