As organizations navigate the ever-evolving world of remote work and hybrid workplaces, Microsoft offers two robust Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) solutions: Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) and Windows 365. These platforms provide secure, seamless access to employer's networks, workflows, and data, helping businesses maintain productivity and security.
In this article, we'll examine AVD and Windows 365, comparing their features, security, user experience, cost, and more.
Introduction to Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) and Windows 365
Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD), formerly known as Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD), is a cloud-based service that enables organizations to host and use Windows on the web. Built on Azure Cloud Services, AVD is managed by both Microsoft and Microsoft Partners.
Windows 365, launched in July 2021, streams the full Windows OS experience online. It brings Windows 10 and Windows 11 operating systems to the cloud, allowing users to access their favorite Windows apps from any browser or device.
Both AVD and Windows 365 are built on Azure, providing enterprise-grade security features, including data encryption, multi-factor authentication (MFA), and Azure Active Directory integration. However, there are some differences in their security offerings:
- AVD: The platform offers granular control over security settings, allowing organizations to customize their security posture according to their needs. This flexibility enables AVD to cater to businesses with strict compliance requirements.
- Windows 365: While Windows 365 also provides robust security features, it offers less control and customization than AVD. However, this streamlined approach simplifies security management for small and medium-sized businesses, making it easier for them to maintain security best practices.
User experience is a crucial consideration when selecting a DaaS solution, as it impacts employee productivity and satisfaction. Both AVD and Windows 365 deliver high-quality user experiences, but they cater to different use cases:
- AVD: As a flexible, fully customizable solution, AVD is well-suited for organizations with diverse requirements. It can provide both session-based and dedicated virtual desktops, accommodating various workloads and user scenarios. Furthermore, AVD supports RemoteApp application streaming, enabling users to access specific applications instead of a full Windows desktop session.
- Windows 365: This platform excels in simplicity and consistency, making it ideal for businesses that prioritize ease of use. Windows 365 assigns dedicated Cloud PCs to individual users, ensuring a consistent, personalized experience across devices. While it doesn't support RemoteApp application streaming, it does offer a seamless Windows experience on various devices, including macOS, Windows, iOS, Linux, and Android.
Pricing is another critical factor when comparing DaaS solutions, as organizations must balance their budget constraints with their technology needs.
- AVD: With a consumption-based pricing model, AVD charges users based on their actual usage. This approach can be more cost-effective for organizations with fluctuating desktop requirements or those looking to consolidate multiple users on shared VMs.
- Windows 365: Using a fixed, subscription-based pricing model, Windows 365 charges a flat monthly fee based on the chosen Cloud PC configuration. This model can be advantageous for businesses requiring 24/7 desktop access or those with small IT environments (less than ten desktops) looking for simplicity.
Beyond security, user experience, and cost, organizations should consider additional factors when comparing AVD and Windows 365:
- Scalability: Both platforms offer scalability, but AVD provides more flexibility with its consumption-based pricing model and customizable deployment options.
- Management: Windows 365's streamlined approach simplifies management for small and medium-sized businesses. In contrast, AVD's extensive customization options may require more dedicated IT resources.
Which is Better for My Business? AVD or Windows 365?