The Digital Work Showdown: Modern Cloud vs Legacy Server

by | Nov 9, 2023 | Cloud Solutions

Modern Cloud vs Legacy Server

The demand for flexible remote working infrastructure and solutions has increased dramatically in recent years.

Azure Virtual Desktop and Remote Desktop Services are both popular desktop virtualisation technologies on the market, facilitating remote access to essential business resources. However, they do differ significantly in terms of infrastructure, deployment, management and more.

So, which solution is right for your business?

Technical Terms To Know:

Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) Remote Desktop Services (RDS)
Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) is a desktop and application virtualisation service that runs in the Azure Cloud. Accessible via the internet from any compatible device, it harnesses Windows Desktop to provide a user experience almost identical to that of office working. Remote Desktop Services (RDS) is a platform for building virtualisation solutions, including desktops and applications, via Windows Server or the Cloud. You can set up your RDS solution for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).

Modern Cloud vs Legacy Server Comparison:

Modern Cloud Legacy Server
Deployment/ Infrastructure AVD can be Windows Server or Client-based
‘Evergreen’ – always the latest underlying technologies
Management Plane managed by Microsoft
Instant deployment
RDS is Windows Server-based
Requires upfront purchasing of physical servers, software and networking hardware
Complicated deployment and management
Long delivery times
Licensing Microsoft 365 Business Premium (or higher) provides all the licensing you need to use AVD RDS requires you to purchase Windows Server licensing and separate Server, RDS and Microsoft Office CALs
Scalability Scale up/down as needed
AVD can be scaled dynamically up or down depending on usage requirements
Difficult to scale
RDS is typically built and licensed to accommodate the maximum number of users to use the solution, making it more difficult to scale in future
Requires planning for additional users with hardware/software purchases
Integrations Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) integration allows you to bring the security features of M365 to your desktop
Key productivity applications such as OneDrive and Microsoft Teams are integrated into AVD
AVD is a full Windows 10/11 desktop experience
AVD can also be run on-premises or in a hybrid configuration using Azure Stack HCI
OneDrive and Teams are not optimised for Windows server and not installed by default
RDS provides a Windows 10 “desktop experience” via a Microsoft Windows Server
Microsoft 365 Apps not supported on the latest version of Windows Server OS
Support for M365 Apps is ending in Oct 2025 for earlier versions of Windows Server
Monitoring and management The AVD backplane is managed by Microsoft
Integrated Azure backup solutions
AVD has both native and third-party monitoring functions, making issue identification/resolution more efficient
RDS is fully managed by your IT Provider, typically using 3rd party remote monitoring and management tools (RMM)
Expensive 3rd Party backup software required
Cost-effectiveness Flexible consumption-based PAYG pricing that helps cost containment (Opex cost)
AVD is a cost-effective way of providing a secure Remote Desktop and Remote App experience from virtually anywhere and from any device
With existing Microsoft 365 Business Premium subscriptions, there are no additional licensing or management overhead costs and does not require costly on-premises infrastructure
Large upfront investment (Capex cost)
RDS requires the purchasing and continual maintenance of physical infrastructures
Security AVD brings together Microsoft 365 and Azure Active Directory to provide fully integrated security such as Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) and Conditional Access (CA)
Integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Defender of Cloud
RDS has more limited security features
Securing the environment is your responsibility

Azure Virtual Desktop: supporting the era of remote work

With so many businesses adopting a Cloud-empowered approach to modern work, Azure Virtual Desktop has a competitive edge over Remote Desktop Services. As well as being a cost-efficient, scalable and flexible virtualisation solution, AVD facilitates secure remote and hybrid work.

To get started with your Azure Virtual Desktop deployment, get in touch with our experts at Arbelos. Your journey into the Cloud begins today!

Download Our Battlecard:

For more on Azure Virtual Desktop vs legacy servers, download our battlecard now:

ARBELOS - AVD Battlecard-min


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