Selecting an Appropriate Licensing Model
Selecting an Appropriate Licensing Model

An important aspect of designing an Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) environment is ensuring you understand user identities and profiles.  To get the most out of this cloud-hosted service, it is important to ensure our user identities are fully secure and integrated with the storage solutions you use for user profiles.  This will in turn give a much better experience for your users. 

 AVD allows organizations to set up redundant, scalable, and agile environments that offer the following key capabilities:

  • Integration with both cloud and on-premises identity and access management solutions
  • Configuring Azure native and 3rd party storage solutions to facilitate user profiles
  • Complete licensing solution that covers both Azure Virtual Desktop and Microsoft 365 SaaS services

From an identity perspective, you can synchronize your Azure cloud identities with on-premises Active Directory.  This allows you to utilize hybrid join for your Azure Virtual Desktop session hosts and integrate your user profiles with Group Policy.  

This course will help you design and plan your Azure Virtual Desktop identity and user profiles and allow you to understand how it integrates with other Azure services.  It covers understanding choosing the appropriate licensing model, looking at the different storage solutions available, planning for user profiles, and planning for Azure AD Connect for identities.

Learning Objectives

  • Select an appropriate licensing model for Azure Virtual Desktop based on requirements
  • Recommend an appropriate storage solution (including Azure NetApp Files vs. Azure Files)
  • Planning for Azure Virtual Desktop client deployment
  • Planning for user profiles
  • Recommending a solution for network connectivity
  • Planning for Azure AD Connect for user identities

Intended Audience

This course is intended for anyone who wants to become an Azure Virtual Desktop Specialist and is preparing to take the AZ-140 exam.


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


Welcome to this module on selecting an appropriate licensing model for Azure Virtual Desktop based on requirements. In this module, we will cover the following topics: An Azure Virtual Desktop licensing overview. We will then look at bring your own license, or BYOL which includes: virtual desktop licensing for BYOL, remote app licensing for BYOL. Let's take a look at an overview of Azure Virtual Desktop licensing.

There are two aspects of AVD licensing. The first is license entitlement. If you have an eligible Windows, Microsoft 365, or Microsoft Remote Desktop Client Access License, better known as an RDS CAL, there is no additional cost. The second part of Azure Virtual Desktop licensing is per user pricing. A recent addition to this has been introduced which supports Azure Virtual Desktop for external users only, meaning it supports users outside of your organization. We'll explore this in more detail in the next part of this module.

There are different licensing models, the first one being virtual desktops. Virtual Desktop licensing for BYOL allows users outside of your organization to use their own license and access either Windows 10 or Windows 7 or Windows Server desktop session hosts. Additionally, they can utilize per user access licenses which will grant them access to Windows 10 and Windows 7 desktop for a fixed monthly price.

The second BYOL licensing model is for application streaming. This model follows the almost identical features and licenses as the virtual desktop model, however there is an exception. Rather than give access to a full virtual desktop, it will give the external users access to stream compatible applications.

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.