About UsSchedule a Call
Mar 20, 2024
Cloud Solutions

Azure Virtual Desktop: A Deep Dive

Azure Virtual Desktop: A Deep Dive

Desktop virtualisation is a technology that enables employees to access their desktop environment from any device, anywhere, and anytime. It works by hosting and running the desktop on a remote server, and allowing users to interact with it through a network connection. This way, employees can access their applications, data, and settings from any device they prefer, such as a laptop, a tablet, or a smartphone.

However, desktop virtualisation can also pose some challenges. Businesses need to invest in and manage the hardware and software, cope with performance and compatibility issues, and secure themselves from cyberattacks. Employees may also encounter difficulties in accessing their desktops from different devices or locations, especially if they need to work remotely or collaboratively.

That is why many businesses are opting for Azure Virtual Desktop, a cloud-based desktop virtualisation service that lets users access a virtual Windows desktop hosted on the Azure cloud. This way, users can leverage the benefits of the cloud for virtualisation, and also enable remote work in a reliable and cost-efficient manner.

In this article, we will take a deep dive into Azure Virtual Desktop and explore its capabilities. We will discuss its features, benefits, use cases, and best practices. We will also compare it with other desktop virtualisation solutions and explain how you can get started with Azure Virtual Desktop today.

What is Azure Virtual Desktop?

Azure Virtual Desktop is a cloud-based desktop virtualisation service that lets users access a virtual Windows desktop hosted within the Azure cloud. This lets businesses take advantage of the many benefits of the cloud for virtualisation, while also providing a great way to enable remote working in a reliable and cost-efficient manner.

Full Desktop Virtualisation

Microsoft Azure gives you access to full desktop virtualisation, meaning that you can essentially access your own virtual Windows desktop in the cloud. This means that you can easily access your desktop from anywhere, which is vital in the modern workplace.

By utilising Azure Virtual Desktop to run desktops within your whole organisation, you can move your entire organisation’s desktop system to the cloud, which can help you save costs on hardware and resources to ensure everyone has their own accessible systems — and turn that into an operational expenditure.

There are a ton of other benefits too —

- Security: By using desktop virtualisation, you can keep environments isolated from one another. This will protect you from malware and data breaches.

- Recovery: Due to the way that desktop virtualisation functions, user data recovery is much easier in the event of hardware failure or anything else that could cause an issue for users.

Legacy Applications: Desktop virtualisation lets older applications that might not work on newer operating systems work freely within a virtualised environment, meaning that you can still use tools that might be essential but outdated.

Remote App Streaming

Using Azure Virtual Desktop, you can take advantage of remote app streaming. This allows you to run applications from the cloud, which comes with a host of benefits —

- Processing Power: When utilising Azure Virtual Desktop for remote app streaming, the processing takes place on the server side rather than the client side, meaning that you can take advantage of the powerful systems provided in the Azure ecosystem.

- Convenient Access: By utilising the cloud, you can ensure that important applications are accessible anywhere, meaning that you can even use them on mobile devices. This will further allow your organisation to remain flexible and versatile in the modern world.

Single app streaming is a great option for businesses that have an on-premises server hosting business-critical applications, but want to be able to access the applications remotely or need to scale up and down the resource requirements to meet business needs.

Some examples of applications that could be used for remote app streaming include HR applications, finance and accounting software, enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools, customer relationship management (CRM) solutions and legacy applications that do not have a web-based version.

Benefits of Azure Virtual Desktop in 2024

A virtual desktop is a powerful tool that any organisation should look to use. But, what makes Azure Virtual Desktop so great?


Utilising Azure Virtual Desktop for your organisation’s desktop virtualisation needs lets you take advantage of the cloud, meaning that you don’t have to spend capital expenditure on central server hardware and all of the maintenance that comes with maintaining a server that can host desktop virtualisation.

All of that cost simply becomes an operational expenditure that you’ll need to pay as a fee to your service provider, which is a lot easier and works out cheaper than having to pay for all of that hardware and having to replace it as time goes on.


As your business grows, you’ll need to grow your IT infrastructure with it. The cloud fully enables desktop virtualisation scaling, which will let you grow your implementation with your organisation.

Scaling up physical server hardware is a pain, and so the fact that Azure Virtual Desktop makes it so easy to scale — in a few clicks — is a massive benefit. But, Azure Virtual Desktop has autoscaling, which means that it’ll scale to match your needs automatically to save you money and resources.

Some businesses have busy periods that require more powerful hardware to keep teams productive. With an on-prem solution, the hardware needs to be powerful enough to cope with these periods, even if the busy period is only 10% of the year. This powerful hardware ends up being much more expensive, and can easily feel like a waste of money as the high compute power is rarely actually needed.

Operating System

Azure Virtual Desktop is directly equipped with Microsoft Windows, meaning that it gives you access to Windows 10 and 11 on any device worldwide — including MacOS, Android, and iOS devices.

With this, you can further facilitate remote working as your employees can access their desktops no matter what the device they have at home is.

Powerful Hardware

Azure Virtual Desktop gives you access to some of the most powerful hardware available to a business. Therefore, if you have tools that require lots of hardware power and you don’t want to invest in all of that hardware, Azure Virtual Desktop is a great solution.

Using remote app streaming, you can simply run the app on a virtual desktop, meaning that you can take advantage of the high-performance hardware that the Azure system runs on.

This is great for organisations that rely on demanding applications such as 3D Modelling and Rendering applications, graphic design applications, CAD applications, and any other hardware-intensive tools that you might need to use.

Azure Virtual Desktop vs. Similar Solutions

Azure Virtual Desktop vs. VPN

While both Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and AVD allow you to easily connect to your work network, they are very different types of services and work in different ways from one another.

A VPN creates a tunnel between your network and the target network, meaning that you can securely connect to your work network from anywhere. However, VPNs only allow you to remotely connect and receive data from your organisation, meaning that you don’t get any of the hardware benefits that you do with AVD.

While a VPN is more cost-effective than AVD, it is far more restrictive and is incredibly hardware-dependent, whereas AVD uses the powerful Azure hardware instead of having to open files that have been transmitted on your own device.

Ultimately, VPNs are useful and have their place, but — while similar to AVD — cannot replace the benefits that a desktop virtualisation service can offer.

Azure Virtual Desktop vs. Windows 365

Both offered by Microsoft, Windows 365 and Azure Virtual Desktop have lots of similarities.

However, Windows 365 provides a much more simple solution for desktop virtualisation — aiming to be a simple remote desktop application rather than having the depth that AVD offers.

Due to this, Windows 365 isn’t suitable for most organisations — as AVD provides many more benefits and ways to take advantage of the power of desktop virtualisation.

Azure Virtual Desktop vs. Virtual Machines

While incredibly similar, Azure Virtual Desktop is actually a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), and not a virtual machine (VM).

While AVD does utilise VMs, a VDI is a licensed and managed way to be able to use desktop virtualisation within your organisation — whereas VMs are simply just a way of virtualising a desktop.

AVD is therefore much easier to use within your organisation as it is provided as a service, whereas setting up a VM requires a lot of prior technical knowledge and maintenance.

Common Use Cases for Azure Virtual Desktop

Simple Remote Working

Remote working is commonplace in many organisations throughout Ireland. However, many organisations still struggle with finding a bulletproof solution to enable employees to securely access company applications when users are working from home.

Rather than having to carry your files on a physical computer or hard drive, Azure Virtual Desktop allows you to access your work computer system from any computer, meaning that your files never leave the workplace — but you can work on them anywhere.

And, as remote teams grow and more resources are deployed — Azure Virtual Desktop’s scalability is second to none. You can onboard users easily, and can also ensure that leaving employees’ work drives are archived or deleted without having to physically access their computers.

Secure Healthcare

The needs of the healthcare industry are enormous due to the importance of providers’ work and the amount of sensitive information that healthcare institutions carry. Azure Virtual Desktop is far more secure than any other solution and allows for data to be stored on encrypted drives that can’t be accessed by physical attacks.

Also, AVD allows multiple users to access the same desktop — which lets healthcare employees have anonymous access to the files that they need whenever they need them without security fears.

Cheaper Manufacturing Hardware

Virtual Machines are integral to the manufacturing industry, as it allows organisations to create a system that is accessible to employees at once.

Azure Virtual Desktop lets employees log in to a single desktop, meaning that you don’t have to spend tons on hardware and software licensing — nor do you have to give up any security power.

Law Firms on the Go

Legal institutions need secure infrastructure as their information is often highly sensitive and prone to attacks. Azure Virtual Desktop is highly secure and protects these companies’ data from ransomware attacks and data breaches.

Legal representatives will often have to travel outside of the office. Azure Virtual Desktop is the easiest solution to allow them to log in to their desktop away from their physical office, meaning they can access important documentation and files whilst meeting with a client — or even in the courtroom.

Education and Schooling

Virtual Machines have been the backbone of schools for years. Being able to give hundreds of students access to computer accounts without paying for tons of physical hardware for each student is important to educational institutions.

With schools and other institutions moving to a remote-based platform, Azure Virtual Desktop is great for moving archaic on-prem virtual machines onto the cloud. With great scalability and ease of adding and removing accounts, schools can easily give new accounts to new students whilst removing leavers each year.

AVD also allows students to access their files and school desktop from anywhere, meaning that they are able to do work at home — this lowers the amount of demand for physical hardware in school libraries/workspaces.

Compliant Finance Organisations

Azure Virtual Desktop is great for financial organisations due to its top-tier security and encryption.

Rather than having on-prem servers — that can be attacked physically — Azure Virtual Desktop allows financial institutions to safeguard themselves against ransomware attacks and data breaches.

Azure Virtual Desktop is also fully security compliant, allowing employees to access their files remotely in a secure way — whilst also limiting what employees can access or transfer to external devices.


Companies often hire independent contractors to work for them, meaning that they need the tools and systems from the business to be able to carry out their work.

Due to the temporary nature of contract work, Azure Virtual Desktop allows employers to give temporary access to contractors without having to physically give them hardware or full access to work systems — you can easily add and remove contractors from your AVD system

How We Can Help

Azure Virtual Desktop is a tool that any organisation can use to boost their organisation’s flexibility, power, and productivity. With Azure Virtual Desktop, desktop virtualisation becomes easier than ever and can be used in so many different ways.

The Azure cloud network only helps here, as it lets you ensure that you have reliable access to your desktops as well as great hardware to beagle to run your virtual desktops on.

If you’re looking to get started with Azure Virtual Desktop but don’t know where to begin, join us for our webinar on 25th of April at 11:00 to take a deep dive into how AVD can help your business in 2024.

To register for this webinar, please email finbarroriordan@typetec.ie