Comparing Windows Virtual Desktop(WVD) and Remote Desktop Service(RDS)

Virtualization technology emerged a couple of decades back. With many IT improvements in the tech space, it got better and better, and we reached two solutions: Windows Virtual Desktop and its predecessor Remote Desktop Service.

These virtualization technologies played their part beautifully to support the enormous growing demand for remote working. Though Microsoft started the trend, you can still opt for other ways to deploy and manage these services.

Windows Virtual Desktop Vs. Remote Desktop Service

Other than Microsoft, you can deploy Citrix or Vmware on Azure, or you can choose the right Managed Service Provider (MSP). MSPs will manage data security, maintain all the IT infrastructure and customize it according to your business requirements.

Learn More: How Managed Service Providers (MSPs) help you in your business?

Let’s understand the difference between WVD and RDS according to their general definition.

Remote Desktop Service (RDS) 

It is a terminal service, which means it connects the end client machine at any remote location and the server computer running the RDS. You need client software to build a remote desktop connection. This connection allows access to the entire computer and Windows on the end client machine.

Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD)

It is a Microsoft Azure-based cloud service released in September 2019 that helps in desktop and application virtualization. It is a technology that allows you to run a virtual desktop infrastructure on any remote device.

Comparison between Windows Virtual Desktop & Remote Desktop Service

Let’s have a look at the differences between both the services.

Operating System

RDS – RDS functions on the server-based operating system. The end-user accesses the operating system on their personal device, similar to the server OS. You get secure remote desktop access for your users where infrastructure and OS may rely on a remote server machine.

WVD – WVD functions on the desktop-based operating system. It provides a central public cloud network for hosting your desktops and apps and comes with a scalable desktop OS that is multi-session Windows 10. Multi-session Windows is only available in WVD. The feature allows connecting multiple Windows 10 users on a single VM.


Though both are secure platforms, the difference relies on the level of security they both offer.

RDS – RDS runs entirely on a server. You can run any business application, and it works well even with the older versions of apps. As it is deployed on a private cloud or from on-premise by managed service providers, it gives you more data security. All the security measures such as antivirus, firewalls, or OS patching are dedicated to a particular user only.

WVD – On the other hand, WVD runs on a public cloud network. Hence, the Internet, patching, or firewalls will be shared amongst multiple users. Moreover, you can’t run third-party applications. But, obviously, you can run desktop applications with suitable configurations.

As it is not a server, WVD has to connect to other servers in the Azure environment to become functional for users. Hence, it may become challenging to make it bank-level secure.


RDS – In Remote Desktop Services, desktops or applications directly run from the servers. Your data is stored in the servers—no information is lost if the end device gets damaged. RDS offers secure remote access without setting up a virtual private network. So, the end clients can connect to physical servers from any remote location with just a computer device, internet, and a browser.

Additionally, RDS offers good bandwidth. Therefore, multiple users can connect on a single server. No extra hardware device is needed to build the remote connection.

WVD – In Windows Virtual Desktop, your data is stored on a public cloud. Here, desktops of multiple users are hosted on Azure. The endpoint devices do not directly run the OS, apps, or software. Therefore as a user, you don’t need high configuration devices to operate the virtual desktop.

Moreover, WVD offers auto-adjustable bandwidth, which means that your connection will not break even if the Internet connection is unstable.

IT Management

RDS – In RDS, you have complete control of the environment. Additionally, you can opt for MSPs offering DaaS (Desktop as a Service) or IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service). MSPs help you in maintaining the infrastructure and servers. The service provider manages all the deployment and creates a Windows server virtual machine to connect multiple devices.

WVD – In WVD, Microsoft offers PaaS (Platform as a Service). Hence, the entire IT infra is managed by Microsoft. The company manages the installation, software updates, deployment, and monitoring. Because it is a platform-based service, it also connects you with Microsoft 365, One Drive, and other software.


RDS – In RDS, resource optimization becomes a little challenging for businesses. However, if you opt for MSPs, they can help by offering you a customizable solution. They can even scale it up or down for you according to your requirements. User profile loading may perform better in terms of speed. Operations may not be available over the web, but a secure application will build a remote connection.

WVD – In WVD, you can optimize your resources according to the requirements. As it’s a virtual desktop service, it becomes a highly scalable solution. You can scale user distribution for better performance, and only one server will be used first before using the next one. Moreover, the operations are very smooth when used over the web.


RDS – Remote desktops can be created on your office premises, public cloud, or private cloud. If you opt for MSPs, it becomes easier to migrate your data from one provider to another whenever you like.

Moreover, providers can customize the solution by creating RDS on your office premises or hybrid cloud, where you can keep your data safely on a private cloud while working on a high-end public cloud.

Recommend Reading: What is Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure?

WVD – Though WVD looks easier, migration is still a lot more complex than RDS. The reason is that WVD allows you to install Windows 10 desktop or virtual desktops on Azure only.


Both solutions can be a good choice for your business in terms of cost because they offer you pay-as-you-go pricing models. Whether you go for WVD from Microsoft or choose an MSP for setting up RDS, they both offer you monthly or yearly subscriptions that allow you to shift your fixed capital towards operational capital.

However, one minute difference in both could be in server licensing cost and whether it would be adjusted in the VM’s cost or not.

RDS – In RDS, a Windows server OS license is included with the service. Hence you may not need any additional licensing.

WVD – Here Windows OS license has to be purchased separately. It may cost some additional amount from your pocket.

Which is better, RDS or WVD?

This is a very tough one to answer because it always depends on your business requirements. However, if you consider easy IT management, easy migration, high data security or round-the-clock support from a Managed Service Provider, then RDS would be the right bet for you.

Are you still confused about the right solution for your business?

No problem.

Get in touch with our Solutions Consultant at +1-855-223-4887. We will be glad to help you out.

Also, if you are looking for RDS, then check out our Remote Desktop Services (RDS).

About Julie Watson

Julie is a dynamic professional with over 16 years of rich experience as a VDI and Application Hosting expert. At Ace Cloud Hosting, she humanizes disruptive and emerging remote working trends to help leaders discover new and better possibilities for digital transformation and innovation by using cloud solutions with an enterprise-class security approach. Beyond work, Julie is a passionate surfer.
On the weekend, you will find her hanging out with her family or surfing around the North Shore of Oahu.

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