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Battle of the Virtual Desktops: Azure Virtual Desktop vs Windows 365

Discover the differences between Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop, and learn which is more appropriate for your business needs.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, remote and hybrid work have become a part of everyday life. It is vital that businesses have the capability to allow employees to work from home. Increasingly, cloud-based solutions are supporting remote workplaces, providing greater security, flexibility and agility.

How are Azure Virtual Desktop and Windows 365 similar?

Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) and Windows 365 are both Desktop as a Service (DaaS) solutions from Microsoft, powered by the Cloud. Both solutions separate the desktop environment and connected applications from any one physical device, allowing you to access your unique desktop remotely via the internet.

Azure Virtual Desktop vs Windows 365: the primary differences explained

So, what are the differences between the two virtual desktops, and how can you decide which is a better fit for your business? In this blog, we will compare Azure Virtual Desktop vs Windows 365, giving you all the essential information you need to make an informed decision.

Azure Virtual Desktop

Architecture and deployment 

When you examine the architecture of AVD vs Windows 365, there are a lot of similarities. This is because Windows 365 is technically built on top of existing Azure Virtual Desktop components. Both solutions use the Azure cloud architecture and the same global control plane. However, when it comes to deployment, they differ quite significantly.  

Windows 365 uses Windows Cloud PC. Windows Cloud PC creates personalised interfaces via virtualisation, so individual users can access their unique apps and data from anywhere via the internet. Windows 365 has limited hardware set up that is configured and provided by Microsoft, while Azure Virtual Desktop has much more customisable hardware. With AVD, you can also use auto-scaling and reserved instances. You can select the virtual desktop that is most appropriate for your business requirements. For instance, if you need a virtual machine that has powerful editing or video producing capabilities, AVD is a more appropriate choice as you can scale the virtual machine accordingly.

AVD’s session host virtual machines can be used as personal computers or pooled desktops for multiple users. Pooled desktops share compute power, meaning that usage is lower than the number of users. When weighing AVD vs Windows 365, you need to consider your business’ need for versatility and agility. The ability to serve individual or multiple users means that AVD has more flexibility than Windows 365. 


Windows 365 is optimised for simplicity. Cloud PCs are designed to function similarly to physical PCs, so the management of Windows 365 is very similar. Windows 365 uses the same Microsoft tools for management, so for a user who is under-confident with technology it is the ideal solution. 

Azure Virtual Desktop offers more flexible options for management, via the Azure Portal. Administrators can customise security preferences, types of storage and network routing according to their specific business needs. AVD also supports all editions of Windows, while Windows 365 is only compatible with Microsoft 10 enterprise. AVD has superior backup capabilities too, with Azure Backup and Azure Site Recovery integrated into the platform. On the other hand, Windows 365 does not have a native backup method, so users must invest in third-party backup methods to ensure business continuity and disaster recovery for their virtual desktop. To discover the additional business benefits of Azure Virtual Desktop, read our blog here

Microsoft desktop as a service


Windows 365 has a predictable fixed-fee price per user, per month. This makes it more appropriate for businesses who prefer to stick to a stable budget that they can plan in advance. With Azure Virtual Desktop, you only pay for what you use. Your monthly fee will fluctuate based on consumption and usage. While this is a more unpredictable pricing model, it is arguably more cost-efficient for your business.  

What’s right for my business, AVD or Windows 365? 

When you weigh up AVD vs Windows 365, you need to consider your current and future business needs. Azure Virtual Desktop is most appropriate for medium to large businesses who want a more granular control of their virtual desktop and management flexibility. When you consider AVD vs Windows 365 as a larger business prioritising cost-efficiency, Azure Virtual Desktop will win out. On the other hand, Windows 365 is the ideal solution for smaller businesses who require a predictable, fixed-cost solution that is easy for all users to navigate and manage.  

In short, Windows 365 is designed for simplicity of use, while Azure Virtual Desktop is optimised for flexibility. Has your business invested in the right Microsoft Desktop as a Service Solution? Vital can help you to enhance your remote operations with the appropriate virtual desktop. Book a consultation today to discuss your VDI needs. 

Book a consultation with Vital today to discuss your VDI needs. We can help you explore AVD vs Windows 365 and select the most appropriate solution for your requirements.