Azure Virtual Desktop vs Windows 365: What is the Difference?

As we mentioned in a previous blog Desktop as a Service (DaaS) is a cloud-based offering where the backend is hosted by a third party. These hosted desktops are also known as cloud virtual desktops. the desktop operating system or OS runs inside virtual machines on servers in a cloud provider’s data center. The necessary infrastructure, including storage and network resources, is also in the cloud. This allows the streaming of virtual desktops over a network to endpoint devices that are accessed through client software or a web browser.

Azure Virtual Desktop and Windows 365 are two of the leading DaaS solutions. Although both solutions are from Microsoft, there are differences.

Let’s explore the two offers.

Windows 365

Windows 365 was released by Microsoft one year ago. It is a cloud-based service that automatically creates a new type of Windows virtual machine (Cloud PCs) for users. A Cloud PC is a highly available, optimized, and scalable virtual machine providing users with a full Windows desktop experience. It is hosted in the Windows 365 service and is accessible from anywhere, on any device. Each Cloud PC is assigned to an individual user and is their dedicated Windows device.

Core Elements

  • Anytime, anywhere access: Availability of all Microsoft 365 applications, tools, and software from any location and at any time.
  • Collaboration: Team members can simultaneously work on the same project in applications such as PowerPoint, Excel, and Microsoft Word.
  • Instant Messaging: Improved employee engagement and knowledge sharing and other features.

Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD)

Azure Virtual Desktop is a desktop application and visualization service that runs in the cloud. It provides all the benefits of a virtual desktop while offering the same tools and resources employees already use. AVD enables businesses to have an effective remote working solution providing employees the ability to work from anywhere and on any device while making deployment and management of desktops easier. It also virtualizes Microsoft 365 applications and benefits from regular security updates. All of this creates a seamless and unified desktop experience for users and organizations.

Core Elements

  • Ability to set up a multi-session Windows 11 or Windows 10 deployment that delivers a scalable full Windows experience
  • Microsoft 365 Application and optimize it to run in multi-user virtual scenarios
  • Provides Windows 7 virtual desktops with free Extended Security Updates
  • Can take existing Remote Desktop Services (RDS) and Windows Server desktops and applications to any computer
  • Virtualize both desktops and applications
  • Manage desktops and applications from different Windows and Windows Server operating systems with a unified management experience

AVD vs. Windows 365 Comparison

Both solutions offer the latest in cloud technology: built-in security, a premium remote work experience, flexibility, and cost effectiveness.

Azure Virtual Desktop is a cloud VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) that allows for the customization of the infrastructure required and management of the resources supporting the virtualized infrastructure.

Here is a chart that may be a helpful comparison.

Cloud PC – Windows 365
Optimized for simplicity
Cloud VDI – Azure Virtual Desktop
Optimized for flexibility
Windows 10 or Windows 11 personalized desktopWindows 10, Windows 11 or Windows Server multi-session desktops 
Complete end-to-end Microsoft service Remote app streaming 
One-stop administration in Microsoft Endpoint Manager (Enterprise edition) Full control over configuration and management
Direct self-service model (Business edition)Citrix and VMware support 
Predictable per user pricing Flexible consumption-based pricing 

There are many aspects to consider when deciding if a DaaS solution is right for your organization and what solution would best fit your needs. MicroAge can help you assess your situation and make the best recommendations based on your business requirements and needs. Contact us to start a conversation. 

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As service providers to more than 300 companies, the dedicated professionals at MicroAge are second to none when it comes to managed services. By improving efficiency, cutting costs and reducing downtime, we can help you achieve your business goals!

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