Desktop as a Service (DaaS) is a cloud computing technology that offers virtual desktop workspaces to businesses and individuals. A service provider offers access to the virtual desktops and charges a subscription fee. When you subscribe, the provider takes care of data storage, updates, backups, and maintenance. Some DaaS providers even manage the applications and security tools on the virtual desktops.

Many small businesses are choosing DaaS solutions because they can leverage desktop applications without having to buy onsite servers. Nevertheless, each DaaS provider offers different features and has unique subscription fees.

Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) have emerged as the leading DaaS solutions. Here is what each solution offers.

What Is Windows 365?

Windows 365 is a Desktop as a Service solution that Microsoft released in August 2021. This DaaS is an upgraded version of Office 365’s remote and virtualization software. Users can access Windows 365 from any device running on Windows 11 or Windows 10. In addition, Android, Linux, IpadOs, and macOS devices can stream the Windows 365 sessions.

Once you subscribe and sign in, you will get access to all desktop applications, including popular web browsers. Microsoft hopes that Windows 365 will help people seamlessly transition from their office desktops to home laptops and vice versa.

Key Capabilities

  • Anytime, Anywhere Access: All Microsoft 365 applications, tools, and software can be accessed from any location and at any time.
  • Real-Time Collaboration: Your team members can simultaneously work on the same project in PowerPoint, Excel, and Microsoft Word.
  • Instant Messaging: Microsoft 365 improved employee engagement, knowledge sharing, ticket resolution speed, among others.

Microsoft 365 has two pricing plans: Microsoft 365 Business and Microsoft 365 Enterprise. The former accommodates up to 300 users while the latter can accommodate an unlimited number of users.

What Is Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD)?

Azure Virtual Desktop is a cloud-based platform that is compatible with any device. Users can access and add multiple applications by leveraging their current Windows licenses. Moreover, you can create several host pools without requiring  the traditional additional components that are required such as gateway, connection broker and SQL server.

The latest Azure enterprise solution uses a lower number of machines, is cheaper, and provides more resources at scale. It also virtualizes Microsoft 365 applications and benefits from regular security updates. At the same time, several users can simultaneously launch a virtual scenario and run it from any computer. This creates a seamless and unified desktop experience for individuals and organizations.

Key Capabilities

  • Create a flexible and scalable virtual environment at an affordable cost
  • Manage multiple host pools and run several workloads without investing in a single gateway server
  • Cut expenditure by activating several session resources at the same time
  • Designate roles and gather information for error analysis and workflow configuration
  • Create user accounts without exposing inbound ports
  • Use the Powershell module to discover tutorials. In addition, you can use these tutorials to create and change the type of host pools
  • Use Representational State Transfer (Rest) to build, find, modify, or remove access to an application or resource

AVD vs. Windows365: Key Differences

Both Windows 365 and AVD use the same Azure cloud architecture and global control plane. However, the two technologies have several differences.

1. Architecture

Azure Virtual Desktop runs the applications and resources on virtual machines. This means that a single PC can be used by an individual or as a pooled desktop. On the other hand, each PC on Windows 365 is only assigned to a single individual.

2. Pricing Model

Windows 365 Business monthly prices are fixed. You’ll pay a flat fee every month regardless of usage. In contrast, AVD’s pricing is based on monthly usage and the Windows version. Also, the pricing will depend on whether you subscribe to standalone apps only or choose a package with both desktop services and standalone apps.

3. System Administration

Administrators have more flexibility on AVD than on Windows 365. They can determine the network router, security settings, and storage type on Azure Virtual Desktop. In contrast, administrator settings on Windows 365 are saved on the cloud and used across all devices. The settings will remain unchanged until the administrator decides to reset them.

4. Onboarding

AVD’s onboarding process happens on the Azure portal, and it can take several weeks to complete. On the other hand, Microsoft will email login details for Windows 365 once you pay and select your preferred hard drive, RAM, and CPU size. Consequently, Windows 365’s onboarding process is simple and takes a few minutes or hours.


Microsoft Endpoint Manager licenses are required for Windows 365 Enterprise and optional for AVD. The license provides access to E3, E5, and Business Premium on Windows 365. However, the license is not required for Windows 365 Business.

As stated earlier, the price of the AVD license is based on the amount of usage. In contrast, the Windows 365 license is valid for a single user, and its cost is based on the computing capacity. Users can either subscribe to the Windows 365 Enterprise license or the Windows 365 Business license. If you choose the latter, you will be eligible for a 16% discount provided that you own a valid Windows 10 Pro license.

What’s Best for Your Organization?

There are many factors to consider when choosing a virtual desktop solution. It would help if you worked with the best IT company, such as Softlanding. We are a managed IT service provider that implements and deploys Microsoft solutions. Our IT experts will help you to choose between Azure Virtual Desktop and Windows 365. We will also help you to implement your chosen DaaS. Contact us now to get started.


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Softlanding is a long-established IT services provider of transformation, professional services and managed IT services that helps organizations boost innovation and drive business value. We are a multi-award-winning Microsoft Gold Partner with 13 Gold Competencies and we use our experience and expertise to be a trusted advisor to our clients. Headquartered in Vancouver, BC, we have staff and offices in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary to serve clients across Canada.

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