There are many guides out there comparing Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop, highlighting the features and benefits of each in an attempt to sway you towards one or the other.
The truth is ... they are just two different ways of doing the same thing.
Windows 365 is built on the Azure Virtual Desktop platform, making them already related and intertwined.
By leveraging the best features of each, you get the best of both worlds!
You're probably thinking GREAT.... tell me more.
When should I use Azure Virtual Desktop? When should I use Windows 365? The simple answer is ... it depends.
Let's quickly recap each service, then dive into a few examples of when you'd use each of them, and when you'd use the simultaneously.
Optimized for simplicity and personalization, W365 leverages the same set of Microsoft tools to manage physical and virtual PCs, making it almost identical to managing existing physical desktop assets. Users always get a fully personalized desktop experience.
Azure Virtual Desktop
AVD provides maximum flexibility, as pricing is based on consumption and gives IT administrators more control. It relies more heavily on an understanding of Azure skills to manage. Users can have a complete desktop to log in to, or simply access the applications they need. All that's required is an internet connection and a browser for access.
Better Together | When to Use AVD + W365
Depending on the workforce you're supporting, a combination of Windows 365 + Azure Virtual Desktop is likely the best choice. From a user perspective, there is very little difference in the look and feel of most applications once you’re using them. Rather its a matter of how they are accessed.
With W365 and AVD running side by side, your team has access to the tools they need. Here are a few scenarios where you'd want to use Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop together.
1. You Want to Offer Dedicated Cloud PCs & Multi-Session Desktops
If you're an organization with full-time, permanent employees and contractors, you may want to give your employees a dedicated cloud PC experience (W365) and your contractors multi-session desktops (AVD).
Windows 365 offers dedicated Cloud PCs, meaning they're personalized to each user and only one person can be logged into that virtual desktop at a time. Any changes made to their desktops are only available to that individual user, and are not reflected on any other device they use.
Your contactors don't need a personalized desktop experience, however they do need access to the applications required to do their job. AVD allows for multi-session desktops, and gives your contractors access to the same virtual desktop as long as they have an internet connection and browser. Think of it as sharing a computer that can be accessed on any device, regardless of who owns it.
2. There are less frequently accessed applications you don’t want to install for all users – but they still need to be available to other users.
Windows 365 allows you to install applications quickly and easily on all desktops. This is great for your W365 users who need to regularly access apps. For the applications that are accessed occasionally, but still need to be available to some users, AVD can lend a hand.
Azure Virtual Desktop allows you to ‘publish’ applications for access via a browser when a user is signed in, without the need to actually install them. These apps can be accessed by your W365 users AND your AVD users.
It All Comes Down to User Experience
At the end of the day, it all comes down to the end user experience and how they access applications.
- If users want the convenience of accessing apps directly from their personalized desktop, then Windows 365 is for you.
- If your users don’t mind accessing applications through a browser, then Azure Virtual Desktop is your answer.
- If you want to be able to do both depending on the user - chose both!
Ultimately, you still get the same information, just in 2 different ways. One isn’t better than the other – they work better when used together.
Download our eBook to learn more about how Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop stack up against each other and why they make a great team.