Azure Virtual Desktop

Azure Virtual Desktop is a comprehensive desktop and app virtualisation service running on the cloud. It is the only service that delivers simplified management, multi-session Windows 10, optimisations for Office 365 ProPlus, with support for Remote Desktop Services environments.

In simple terms this is a service designed to make it easier for businesses to manage machines and the software that runs on them.

It also ensures businesses operating in regulated sectors, like law and finance, can provide their mobile workers with a virtual desktop that keeps all their precious data secure.

With Azure Virtual Desktop, you can deploy and scale your Windows desktops and apps on Azure in minutes, with security and compliance features built-in.

And with extended support for Windows 7 soon to end, Azure Virtual Desktop offers you free extended security updates for your Windows 7 virtual desktop, including more support options for previous app versions while you make the transition to Windows 10.

The key benefits of Azure Virtual Desktop

  • Multi-session Windows 10 that delivers the cost advantages of server-based virtualisation
  • The best service to virtualise Office 365 ProPlus running in multi-user virtual scenarios
  • The only service to provide Windows 7 virtual desktop with free Extended Security Updates, giving you more options to support legacy applications while you transition to Windows 10
  • The option to bring your existing Remote Desktop Services (RDS) and Windows Server desktops and apps to any computer
  • The ability to manage Windows 10, Windows Server and Windows 7 desktops, along with your apps, all with a unified management experience on Azure
  • A seamless way to virtualise both desktops and apps

Access Azure Virtual Desktop

If you’re currently virtualising desktops or apps with Windows 10 or Windows 7, there is no additional cost if you are a Microsoft 365 E3, E5, Business, F1, A3 or A5 customer or a Windows 10 Enterprise E3, E5, A3 or A5 customer.

You can access Windows Server 2012 R2 or newer with Windows Virtual Desktop at no additional cost if you are a Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (RDS) Client Access License (CAL) customer.

Customers can also access Windows 10 and Windows 7 with Windows Virtual Desktop from their non-Windows Pro endpoints if they have an M365 E3/E5 or VDA per-user license.

Key capabilities

With Azure Virtual Desktop, you can set up a scalable and flexible environment:


  • Create a full desktop virtualisation environment in your Azure subscription without having to run any additional gateway servers.
  • Publish as many host pools as you need to accommodate your diverse workloads.
  • Bring your own image for production workloads or test from the Azure Gallery.
  • Reduce costs with pooled, multi-session resources. With the new Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session capability exclusive to Azure Virtual Desktop and Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH) role on Windows Server, you can greatly reduce the number of virtual machines and operating system (OS) overhead while still delivering the same resources to your users.
  • Provide individual ownership through personal (persistent) desktops.

You can deploy and manage virtual desktops:


  • Use the Azure Virtual Desktop PowerShell and REST interfaces to configure the host pools, create app groups, assign users, and publish resources.
  • Publish full desktop or individual remote apps from a single host pool, create individual app groups for different sets of users, or even assign users to multiple app groups to reduce the number of images.
  • As you manage your environment, use built-in delegated access to assign roles and collect diagnostics to understand various configuration or user errors.
  • Use the new Diagnostics service to troubleshoot errors.
  • Only manage the image and virtual machines, not the infrastructure. You don’t need to personally manage the Remote Desktop roles as you do with Remote Desktop Services, just the virtual machines in your Azure subscription.

You can also assign and connect users to your virtual desktops:

  • Once assigned, users can launch any Azure Virtual Desktop client to connect users to their published Windows desktops and applications. Connect from any device through either a native application on your device or the Azure Virtual Desktop HTML5 web client.
  • Securely establish users through reverse connections to the service, so you never have to leave any inbound ports open.


Why migrate?

On-premises vs Windows Virtual Desktop
The double trouble of high costs and inflexibility, thanks to RDS licences, infrastructure management and the investment required to scale.   Pay only for what you need, when you use it. Windows 10 multi-sessions ensures you can forget about RDS licences, while session host VMs are licenced by the user, so no Windows Server licences required.
The complexity your customers do not want or need – now you have separate services for desktop and app visualisation.   No complexity, in fact so simple it’s child’s play thanks to things like remote apps.
Security made difficult and not just once, but twice, during both set-up and configuration.   Now security and safety are simple, thanks to Azure AD integration, reverse connect technology and role-based access control.