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AVD vs. RDS - a head-to-head comparison (when running in Azure)

Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) is the modern, Azure PaaS-based solution for virtual desktops. RDS is the traditional, mature, good ole solution. Let's look at how these two compare to each other when running in Azure with Nerdio.

Desktop Operating System Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session Windows Server 2016 Desktop Experience with RDS
Licensing options a. Microsoft 365 (E3, E5, A3, A5, Business)
b. Windows 10 (E3, E5, A3, A5)
c. Windows 10 Enterprise VDA
a. Windows Server via Azure, CSP Software Subscriptions or SA
c. CSP Software subscription 1- and 3-year RDS SAL
d. RDS CALS with Software Assurance (SA)
Control plane
(Connection infrastructure)
Hosted in Azure as PaaS, managed by Microsoft Hosted in Azure on VMs, managed by MSP/customer
Cost - OS license (approximate) $7 per user per month (Windows 10 Enterprise) $5 to $8 per user per month
(RDS + Windows Server)

Cost - control plane (approximate)

$0 (included in OS license) $2.50 per user for 100s of users, higher for small deployments
Desktop types a. Personal - dedicated VM
b. Pooled - shared VM
a. VDI - dedicated VM
b. RDS - shared VM
Profile management FSLogix profile containers a. RDS Collections: User Profile Disks (UPD)
b. VDI & RDS: Native profiles
OneDrive installed client support Yes, supported a. RDS Collections: No
b. VDI & RDS: Yes
Windows search indexing Yes, supported a. RDS Collections: No
b. VDI & RDS: Yes
Skype & Teams No, but expected soon a. RDS Collections: No
b. VDI & RDS: Yes
GPU desktops Yes Yes
Azure regions Desktop VMs - all
Control Plane - limited
Desktop VMs - All
Control Plane - All
Azure Hybrid Usage Supported Supported
Reserved instances Yes Yes
32 bit apps Supported Supported
Time in market New technology, GA fall of 2019 Stable, widely used technology for over a decade


For a more detailed comparison, refer to this KB article.

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Important Notification for NFA Partners Only
  • Microsoft is sunsetting Azure Classic (not Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD)) - Microsoft Article
  • NFA sunset occurs February 20th, 2023
  • NFA will be fully supported until the official sunset -


  • Avatar
    Matt Lane

    Can you add a column for Vmware VID? A head to head of all three would be very hepful!

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