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Windows 365 VS Azure Virtual Desktop

When it comes to operating a successful business, there is no room for error. Any plan that you implement needs to be as efficient and streamlined as possible in order to cut down on costs and streamline workflow. For some businesses, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) can be the answer.

Depending on your company’s needs, Windows 365 or Azure Virtual Desktop might be the solution you’ve been looking for. Let’s go over some of the primary differences between these two options so that you can make an informed decision based on your unique needs.

What is Windows 365?

Windows 365 is a cloud-based desktop service that provides a full Windows 10 or 11 experience hosted in the cloud. It can run on any device, including Android, Linux, and iOS.

When users log in, they will have access to all their desktop apps and web browsers. You can also install third-party apps on your device if you choose to do so, although it’s important to remember that these apps will be subject to the same security restrictions as any other third-party app.

Benefits of Windows 365

Increased productivity: users can access their applications from any device, and IT can deliver new applications quickly and easily. When employees use the apps, they don’t have to worry about compatibility with the operating system on their device because the app is hosted in the cloud.

Reduced costs: You’ll use less hardware and software, saving money in the process. You can easily scale up the environment as your company grows, and you won’t have to upgrade your infrastructure manually when new versions of the OS come out.

Simplified migration: You can use Windows 365 to transition from your on-premises environment to the cloud without interrupting service. Employees continue to use their existing applications, but the apps are now hosted in the cloud.

All-in-one service: Windows 365 includes the latest versions of Microsoft Office 365, Windows 11, and Enterprise Mobility and Security.

Cons of Windows 365

User experience: Unlike Azure Virtual Desktop, Windows 365 can only provide Windows 10 and 11 experience. If your employees need to use a different operating system, they’ll have to use Remote Desktop Services. This can be a problem if they need to use an application only available on another OS.

Limited control: Windows 365 has less customisation offers that AVD, which may be frustrating if you require greater control over how you use your devices.

What is Azure Virtual Desktop?

Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) is a managed Desktop as a Service (DaaS) that allows you to run Windows desktop applications from the cloud. AVD allows users to access their applications from any device, including mobile devices with the use of a browser. It’s a strong option for those looking to centralise their desktops and applications without having to purchase hardware.

Benefits of AVD

User experience: AVD is a fully managed virtual desktop solution, meaning can create as many desktop images as you need. This means you can provide different environments for different departments or groups.

Security: AVD can provision user accounts automatically, and you can use conditional access to control what resources the users have access to. It also provides single sign-on so that users don’t have to keep entering their credentials.

Centralisation of desktop and application management: AVD provides centralised management of applications and desktops, so you can make changes to the environment from a single management console.

Scalability: AVD provides scalability, so you can easily increase or decrease capacity based on your current needs. This can help you avoid over- or under-provisioning your environment.

Cost-effective: Users can save up to 90% of their cloud computing costs with Azure’s virtual machines, rather than physical servers and data centres.

Cons of AVD

Pay upfront: AVD does not offer a free trial; you will have to pay an upfront fee to access the service.

Per-use fees: On top of a monthly payment, AVD charges per-use fees when the service is accessed via mobile devices. This can become pricey for small organisations.

The main differences

Windows 365 is the more affordable option of the two, but AVD offers more options. If you’re already a Microsoft 365 user, then Windows 365 is the natural option to go with, as it integrates seamlessly with the productivity suite.

However, AVD provides a more powerful features, high-powered computing, and greater customisation. However, AVD’s customisation does have its drawbacks: the more configurable the solution, the more effort is needed to maintain and update.

Which is better for your business needs?

Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop deliver similar features, but there are several fundamental differences between the two that will impact your business and daily operations. As such, you should consider each against the needs of your business before deciding which will be best for your team and day-to-day tasks.

The IT experts at Steadfast Solutions can advise you on which virtual desktop will suit your business requirements, implement it into your workflows and existing infrastructure, train your users, and manage the environment for maximum efficiency and performance.