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Recommending an OS for Azure Virtual Desktop

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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 Recommending an OS for Azure Virtual Desktop. In this module, we'll cover the following topics: We'll look at the virtual machine OS images that are supported in Azure Virtual Desktop that you need to consider when making recommendations. Lastly, we will discuss the various deployment options which support the different operating systems and why this is important to think about when making recommendations. Let's start by looking at supported virtual machine OS images.

Azure Virtual Desktop only supports Windows operating systems for its session host virtual machines. The following Windows OS are supported: Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session. This OS is only support in Azure and enables multiple concurrent user sessions. Windows 10 Enterprise, which has the same features as Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session but without allowing concurrent user sessions. Windows 7 Enterprise. This OS is still available for businesses and in Azure Virtual Desktop for more legacy workloads.

Windows Server 2022 has recently become available for Azure Virtual desktop. Windows Server 2019, 2016, and 2012 R2 are additionally supported with Azure Virtual Desktop session host VMs. Now you understand the supported operating system for Azure Virtual Desktop, you also need to look at the different deployment options for these operating systems support. The first deployment option we have is from the Azure Image Gallery. All operating systems we have discussed support this method of deployment. We then have Manual virtual machine deployment which is again supported by all the operating system types we have discussed so far.

Azure Resource Manager, better know as ARM template deployment is only supported with Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session, version 1909 and later, Windows 10 Enterprise version 1909 and later and Windows Server 2016. ARM templates allow us to automate virtual machine deployment. The final deployment method available for Azure Virtual Desktop is provisioning host pools on the Azure Marketplace. This has the same OS support as ARM templates, Windows 10 Enterprise multi-session, version 1909 and later, Windows 10 Enterprise, version 1909 and later, and Windows Server 2016.

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.