AVD vs. RDS: a Head-to-Head Comparison (when Running in Azure)

***Please note that our Nerdio for Azure (app.nerdio.net) product, including RDS deployments, have been sunset.  Please see our Nerdio Manager for MSP (NMM) overview HERE. ***

Nerdio Manager for MSP takes full advantage of AVD technologies, including auto-scaling for cost savings, FSLogix implementation with Azure Files, seamless Microsoft Teams support and so much more. You can download Nerdio Manager for MSP directly from the Azure Marketplace by clicking HERE


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:

Desktop Operating System Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session Windows Server 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 Yes, supported 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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