If you’re considering optimizing your network to allow for virtual desktops, you’ll need a desktop virtualization service that you can trust. Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) is one of the best options out there for companies offering software as a service. Keep reading to find out what you’ll need to implement AVD, what the benefits are, and how pricing works. Then, we’ll discuss Broadcom’s acquisition and its potential significance for AVD users.

What is Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD)?

Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) is a virtualization service that combines a set of Azure technologies to create a customizable virtual desktop experience. This service replaces existing Remote Desktop Services (RDS).

Here are some of the key features of AVD:

  • Offers a full Windows experience via Windows 10, Windows 11, or Windows Server
  • Allow users to work from virtually anywhere across any device
  • Cut IT and licensing infrastructure costs by automating and optimizing operations
  • Pay only for the features you use

With AVD, you can seize the competitive edge you need through innovation and flexibility. The best part is that AVD is completely scalable; as your business grows, you can count on this virtualization service to meet your increasing needs. See 10 reasons for choosing Azure Virtual Desktop.

Licensing Requirements for AVD

AVD requires that you purchase a license for each remote desktop on your network. AVD offers three options: RDS, Windows, or Microsoft 365 license. The type of licensing you’ll need depends on the type of user.

There are two types of users that AVD recognizes: external users and internal users. Internal users are individuals who are a part of your organization. For example, students that attend a school that uses AVD would be considered internal users. External users are customers that you use AVD to provide with Software as a Service (SaaS). For instance, let’s say you use AVD to provide customers access to your lifestyle app. The users that access the app each billing cycle would be considered external users.

Now, let’s take a look at how the type of users you serve impacts licensing requirements:

The type of licensing you’ll need depends on whether you plan to use a Windows client or Windows server operating system and what type of users need access. Licensing for external commercial purposes is based on a per-user access pricing model. Licensing for internal commercial purposes, on the other hand, is typically billed as a fee that is based on the licensing, usage, and storage needs.

Understanding AVD Licensing Costs

It’s no secret that Azure Virtual Desktop pricing can look complicated on the surface. Luckily, the basics are simple: you’ll be charged for user access rights and Azure infrastructure costs.

Let’s break that down a little further.

User access rights involve licensing required to run a Window operating system on a virtual machine. As we discussed earlier, you’ll need to purchase a license for each desktop on your server, regardless of whether it is a physical machine or a virtual one.

Infrastructure costs pay for resource consumption. A virtual network of computers requires things like storage on the Azure cloud, networking, and computing, which come at a cost. You can expect to be charged a fee according to how much consumption your network uses on a monthly basis.

There are also variable costs that you’ll need to consider, such as:

  • Per user access costs
  • Application storage
  • User profile storage
  • Managed disks and bandwidth

Final costs vary and depend on the size of your network. Here are a few examples:

A small startup uses AVD as the platform to launch their new gaming app to consumers. Since their users are external, they will be charged for licensing according to the number of users that access their app each month.

A medium-sized construction company uses AVD to grant contractors access to their main database. Since these users are considered external users, Microsoft will charge a per user cost based on usage.

A large telecommunications business employs AVD to transition 1,500 call center employees to virtual workstations. Each virtual desktop is equipped with its own user profile and has storage available for users to save their files. The telecommunications business is charged accordingly for 1,500 Microsoft licenses, plus an additional cost for user profile storage and managed disks.

Virtual Machine Licensing Requirements

Separate licenses are needed for each virtual machine on your network with AVD. The only exception to this rule is if your business has already purchased individual licenses for each of your users, they can be repurposed.

Microsoft AVD is the only cloud VDI solution that is fully optimized for Windows 10 and 11 multi-session capabilities. Taking advantage of these capabilities can also save you money on licensing since you’ll only need one license for each VM, regardless of how many users access it. Keep in mind, however, that you’ll still be charged accordingly for Azure infrastructure costs.

How AVD Licensing Works

Obtaining the right AVD licensing is essential to a positive user experience. Luckily, the process is simple.

First, you’ll need to sign up for a Microsoft Azure account and enroll in an Azure subscription. Once these prerequisites are met, you can obtain licenses by managing your subscriptions in the Azure portal. Within the portal, simply type “Azure Virtual Desktop” in the search bar and select the matching entry. Then, locate the licensing you’d like to enroll in. Check the box that corresponds with your selection and select “Enroll”. Finally, review the terms and select “Enroll” again to confirm enrollment.

Benefits of Using AVD for Businesses

Using AVD for business is one of the most convenient ways that you can provide remote desktop capabilities to your workforce or organization. Doing so can reduce overhead costs and increase employee satisfaction for businesses.

For SaaS providers, using AVD means that you can take advantage of per-user pricing, so you’ll never pay for more services than you’re using. You can also have peace of mind knowing that the desktop virtualization service you’re using is top quality and backed by a reputable brand.

The Impact of Broadcom’s Acquisition

In 2023, Broadcom, a computer chip and software maker, acquired VMware, the cloud technology company behind AVD.

This acquisition will likely bring about changes in subscription models, bundles, and licensing models. Broadcom also plans to re-examine the hybrid cloud portfolio mix, which could lead to many positive changes in the service.

You can stay informed and get more information about how to prepare for this acquisition by reaching out to us today.

Potential Changes to AVD Pricing Post-Acquisition

Experts predict that Broadcom’s acquisition will likely affect the current AVD pricing structures in place. Since the company plans to improve much of the software and infrastructure that supports AVD, the cost change should correspond with the improved performance of the service overall.

Optimizing AVD Usage for Cost Savings

The best way to optimize AVD usage for cost savings is to ensure you’re enrolled in the right service options and that you only register virtual desktops that you’ll use. With some subscription options, you can even use a single virtual desktop to service multiple users on a staggered schedule, which can help cut costs.

Implementing virtual desktops within your organization is an important job. You’ll need to make sure you select the right licensing options to remain in compliance with AVD’s rules. It’s also a good idea to have a dedicated team who are trained to manage the virtual desktops to ensure processes are streamlined and costly mistakes are avoided.

With AVD, you can easily and efficiently create a network of virtual desktops that meets the needs of your organization or customer base. The best part is, as you grow, AVD has scaling capabilities that grow with you.


Implementing Microsoft AVD into your workflow is a great way to offer convenience to your users while streamlining processes and cutting costs. A variety of pricing models means that you can choose a subscription that works best for you.

Though Broadcom’s acquisition could mean there are changes on the horizon for the virtualization service, Microsoft AVD will still remain one of the best virtualization service options on the market today.

Ready to get started? Start your journey to desktop virtualization with 3Cloud today.