Choosing the best cloud desktop solution for your organisation: Windows 365 Cloud PC vs. Azure Virtual Desktop

Published on December 21, 2023

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In today’s digital era, everything lives in the cloud, from collaboration tools to entire networks, including virtualised desktops. As enterprises get ready for 2024, seeing that deploying cloud desktops and applications enables organisations to boost productivity and streamline operational excellence through tools and operating systems that aren’t restricted by physical hardware or infrastructure. With the global virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) market expected to reach over USD 57 billion by 2030, registering an 18.2% CAGR1, it is clear that this is one trend that IT leaders should place higher on their agenda.

You don’t need to look any further than Windows 365 Cloud PC and Azure Virtual Desktop to get a sense of the power of such tools and how they enable organisations to scale without the need to add to their physical infrastructure. Enterprises benefit greatly from flexibility with instant access to a precise number of desktops, whenever and wherever they need them. And Desktop as a Service (DaaS) solutions also save enterprises the worry of maintenance, data backups, or security updates themselves, as it now becomes the responsibility of their service provider, who ensures strict adherence to the enhanced security and compliance requirements of the industry.

While both Windows 365 Cloud PC and Azure Virtual Desktop present cost-effective ways for organisations to get the latest in cloud technology along with the three-fold benefit of built-in security, remote-work readiness, and a dynamic infrastructure, there are some key differences between the two that we will explore here.

What is Windows 365 Cloud PC?

In a nutshell, Windows 365 Cloud PC expertly integrates cloud security with PC flexibility, empowering diverse work scenarios in today’s dynamic workplace. As Microsoft’s latest addition to hybrid computing, Windows 365 Cloud PC takes the operating system being used by organisations around the world today to the Microsoft cloud. This allows users to get the familiar Windows experience, including apps data settings, across all their devices, even more seamlessly.

The real benefit of Windows 365 Cloud PC, however, is that it is offered as a service, making it ideal for organisations looking for a more simplified hosted service, organisations with fluctuating infrastructure needs due to hybrid or dispersed teams or an elastic workforce (seasonal workers, project-based engagements), and for organisations that would rather outsource the management of their constantly changing infrastructure needs.

What is Azure Virtual Desktop?

Azure Virtual Desktop is what is called a cloud VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) which hints at how it might be different to just a virtualised desktop. Azure Virtual Desktop allows organisations to fully customise their desktop infrastructure but due to that very fact, the responsibility of managing the virtualised infrastructure and the supporting resources lies with the organisation.

It is an ideal solution for organisations who may already be managing VDI solutions and are looking to upgrade to a more modern solution. When it comes to implementing Azure Virtual Desktop, it is often a bespoke solution and requires close collaboration and extensive consultations with client companies.

Who benefits from these cloud desktop solutions?

Windows 365 Cloud PC and Azure Virtual Desktop are unique yet complementary offerings that cater to a wide spectrum of enterprise needs. These solutions are particularly advantageous for organisations that align with one or more of the following scenarios:

  • Remote or mobile user base:

    In today’s digital age, the need for seamless collaboration and connectivity is paramount. This is especially true for teams that are remote or mobile. Both Windows 365 Cloud PC and Azure Virtual Desktop offer the flexibility and accessibility required for such dynamic working environments.

  • Security and Compliance:

    Organisations operating in industries with stringent security and compliance requirements, like the Banking and Government sectors, can greatly benefit from the robust security features ingrained in both Windows 365 Cloud PC and Azure Virtual Desktop. These solutions provide peace of mind, knowing that your data and systems are protected by the highest security standards.

  • Fluctuating workforce or changing infrastructure:

    Organisations with a hybrid workforce, including seasonal workers or project-based engagements, often face the challenge of fluctuating infrastructure needs. Windows 365 Cloud PC, offered as a service, can accommodate these changes efficiently and cost-effectively.

  • Already using the Microsoft tech stack:

    For organisations already managing their own VDI solutions and looking for an upgrade, Azure Virtual Desktop provides the ability to fully customise their desktop infrastructure. Although it requires more hands-on management, it offers increased control and customisation.

In summary, while Windows 365 Cloud PC and Azure Virtual Desktop are similar in that they offer users greater flexibility than on-prem set ups, Azure Virtual Desktop provides organisations with the flexibility to manage the infrastructure themselves, or your experienced MSP can manage it for you as part of a bespoke solution, whereas Cloud PC can be thought of as a complete hosted service.

Regardless, as the future of work continues to evolve with an increasingly mobile workforce, more organisations stand to benefit from virtualised desktops: whether that’s in the form of Cloud PC or Azure Virtual Desktop. To get started on your Modern Workplace journey, download our eBook here or view our Desktop-as-a-Service solution page to learn more.


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William Lam
Group Innovation Director
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