April 4, 2023

Choosing between Azure Virtual Desktop and Windows 365

Today, various organizations are exploring hybrid workplaces. Note that rotating workers between working from the office and from home can promote work-life balance and increase productivity. Also, most companies are adopting this approach to tame the spread of the pandemic through physical distancing. However, not all work environments are the same. Particularly, remote employees remain productive if they have a seamless, secure, and familiar method of connecting and accessing their employer's workflows, networks, and data from outside the office.
Windows 365 vs Azure Virtual Desktop

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

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.

Other Considerations

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?

Feature Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) Windows 365
Security Customizable, granular control Streamlined, less control
User Experience Flexible, supports RemoteApp application streaming Consistent, dedicated Cloud PCs
Cost Consumption-based pricing Fixed, subscription-based pricing
Scalability Highly flexible and customizable Scalable, but less flexible
Management Requires dedicated IT resources Simplified management, ideal for SMBs
Deployment Session-based and dedicated VMs Dedicated Cloud PCs for individual users
App Streaming Supports RemoteApp application streaming Does not support RemoteApp application streaming


Need help deciding? 

If you are considering the best option between Windows 365 and AVD, you need to establish the requirements of your organization first. That way, you will identify the cloud-based platform that will help you achieve the most once you analyze the capabilities of the two.

GOBI Technologies provides consulting services for both Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop. Our team will help you deploy and secure your desktop as a service solution.

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