Azure Virtual Desktop vs Windows 365

Azure Virtual Desktop vs Windows 365

In the modern age of cloud computing, it makes sense that we can now run our Windows client computers in the cloud. This category of Cloud PCs even has a name: Desktop-as-a-Service, or DaaS. For businesses considering modernizing their desktop solutions without investing in costly hardware, Microsoft offers Azure Virtual Desktops (AVD) and Windows 365. While they both utilize the same underlying virtualization in Azure, they have a few technical and licensing differences that you should know about.


Windows 365

Announced in 2021, Windows 365 is a dedicated cloud PC for each of your end-users that resides in Azure. This means that applications will be installed directly onto the device assigned to each user, which is different from a traditional Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) server.

To connect to their Windows 365 computer, the user can use the same Remote Desktop Services (RDS) client that they would use to connect to Azure Virtual Desktop, or they can connect from any device to their cloud PC through a web browser. Logging in requires a Microsoft 365 account.

Microsoft 365 is a cloud-based subscription service that brings together the best tools for the way people work today. By combining best-in-class apps like Excel and Outlook with powerful cloud services like OneDrive and Microsoft Teams, Office 365 lets anyone create and share anywhere on any device.

Microsoft 365 includes premium versions of these familiar Office applications:

Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, and Access (Publisher and Access are available on PC only). In addition to these core productivity apps, Microsoft 365 also includes:

-1TB of storage in OneDrive for Business

-Advanced security features to help protect your data

-The latest version of Windows 10 Enterprise

Microsoft 365 is available in two plans: Business and Enterprise. Office 365 Business includes the core productivity apps, 1TB of storage in OneDrive for Business, and advanced security features. Office 365 Enterprise includes all the features of Office 365 Business, plus additional business services like Exchange Online and SharePoint Online.


 Azure Virtual Desktop

Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) is a cloud-based desktop virtualization service that allows users to access their applications and desktops from anywhere. The service is designed to provide a seamless, secure, and cost-effective way for organizations to deliver virtual desktops and apps to their employees.

AVD was originally released in preview in September of 2018 and became generally available in March of 2019. Azure Virtual Desktop is based on Windows Server Remote Desktop Services (RDS) and supports both Windows 10 multi-session and Windows 7 SP1.

With AVD, organizations can provide their employees with the same high-quality desktop experience they are used to, while simplifying IT management and reducing costs. Azure Virtual Desktop provides several benefits, including:

- Reduced IT costs: AVD can help organizations reduce their IT costs by simplifying desktop management and reducing the need for on-premises infrastructure.

- Increased security and compliance: AVD provides a secure, isolated environment for users to access their applications and data. Azure Active Directory and Azure Resource Manager integration helps ensure that only authorized users have access to the service.

- Flexibility and scalability: AVD is designed to be highly scalable, so organizations can easily add or remove users as needed. The service is also flexible, so organizations can choose to deploy it on-premises, in the cloud, or a hybrid environment.

Azure Virtual Desktop is essentially a traditional VDI setup but hosted in the Azure cloud. You would configure the applications a user needs onto the VDI server, the user connects to the server, and their profile is redirected to some persistent storage (FSLogix).

To authenticate to Azure Virtual Desktop, the user will need to have an account in either Azure Active Directory or an on-premise Active Directory that is synchronized to Azure Active Directory. This can include an account linked to Microsoft 365.


AVD is available in two editions: Standard and Enterprise. The Standard Edition is ideal for small and medium-sized organizations, while the Enterprise Edition is designed for larger organizations with more demanding requirements. Both editions include all the features needed to deliver a high-quality virtual desktop experience to users.

When comparing Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop licensing, the biggest difference is that Windows 365 is a flat rate, per-user license whereas Azure Virtual Desktop is consumption-based. However, it is important to note that Windows 365 truly is per user in that multiple users are not currently able to share a Cloud PC. However, a single user can have multiple Windows 365 instances, each one consumes a license.

Another thing to point out with Windows 365 is that Microsoft is offering an additional discount for customers that have valid Windows 10 Pro licenses through their hybrid benefit program, so be sure to choose that option if your users already have those licenses.


Key Differences

There are a few key differences between Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) and Microsoft 365 that you should be aware of. First, AVD is a cloud-based service that allows users to access their desktops and apps from anywhere, while Microsoft 365 is an on-premises solution. Secondly, AVD provides users with a Windows 10 desktop experience, while Microsoft 365 offers a Windows 7 desktop experience. Finally, AVD includes support for Azure Active Directory, while Microsoft 365 does not. These are just a few of the most important differences between these two solutions. Be sure to consider all these factors when deciding which is right for your organization.

From a technical perspective, there are some important differences to be aware of when comparing Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop, and it comes down to how much of the solution you are comfortable managing yourself:


When it comes down to it, the easiest way to choose between the two is to figure out how much overhead you want to deal with and go from there. If your IT team is already managing an on premise VDI, it might make sense to shift that to Azure Virtual Desktop, but if you are looking for a solution that has a lower overhead, consider Windows 365.

Remember that whichever way you go, your #1 Software Dudes are here to assist!


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