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Planning Host Pool Architecture

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An important aspect of any Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) environment is ensuring it is designed to not only meet best practices standards but also meet your organization’s requirements. To get the most out of this cloud-hosted service, it is important to use the correct features and components that make up the AVD environment which will, in turn, give a much better experience for your users. 

This course will help you design and plan your Azure Virtual Desktop environment and allow you to understand how it integrates with other Azure services. It covers understanding network and sizing requirements, recommending the correct identity and access management (IAM) solution to integrate with AVD, the operating system (OS) options that support AVD, and a closer look at the different host pool types with use cases they fit into.

Learning Objectives

  • Assessing existing physical and virtual desktop environments
  • Assessing network capacity and speed requirements for Azure Virtual Desktop
  • Recommending an operating system for an Azure Virtual Desktop implementation
  • Planning and configuring name resolution for Active Directory (AD) and Azure Active Directory Domain Services (Azure AD DS)
  • Planning host pools architecture
  • Recommending resource groups, subscriptions, and management groups
  • Configuring a location for the Azure Virtual Desktop metadata
  • Calculating and recommending a configuration for performance requirements

Intended Audience

This course is intended for people who want to become an Azure Virtual Desktop Specialist and/or are preparing to take the AZ-140 exam.


If you wish to get the most out of this course, it is recommended that you should have a good understanding of Azure Administration, however, this is not essential.


Welcome to this module on Planning Host Pool Architecture. In this module, we'll cover the following topics. I will explain what a pooled host pool is and its benefits. I'll explain how breadth-first load balancing works. I'll explain how depth-first load balancing works. We'll finish this module off by talking about personal host pools and their benefits. A pooled host pool is also known as a non-persistent desktop and shares the session host resources or multiple users at any given time. Non-persistent state means about the settings are not saved unless you use FSLogix for user profile containerization. 

There are two types of load balancing algorithms, which we'll discuss in more detail now. The first load balancing algorithm we have is breadth-first load balancing, which enables you to evenly spread login sessions over all the session host virtual machines in your host pool. As you can see in this graphic, the session logins are spread even across a session host, and the next user it is connected to the session host on the right, indicated by the red circle.

Next, we have depth-first load balancing, which enables you to put all login sessions onto a single host. And only when usage of that session host hits a specific threshold, does it send login connections to another session host, as shown in the graphic. If we look at personal host pools, these are also known as persistent desktops, where settings are saved. You can either directly assign users to session hosts or allow Azure Virtual Desktop to automatically assign users. Whereas pooled host pools are shared resources, personal host pools are one-to-one ratio, so one user to one session host virtual machine.

About the Author

Shabaz Darr is a Senior Infrastructure Specialist at Netcompany based in the UK. He has 15 years plus experience working in the IT industry, 7 of those he has spent working with Microsoft Cloud Technologies in general, with a focus on MEM and IaaS. Shabaz is a Microsoft MVP in Enterprise Mobility with certifications in Azure Administration and Azure Virtual Desktop. During his time working with Microsoft Cloud, Shabaz has helped multiple public and private sector clients in the UK with designing and implementing secure Azure Virtual Desktop environments.