Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) vs Amazon WorkSpaces

The wait is over, dear readers. We are here with our third and final post about Windows Virtual Desktop in which we will go through its pricing and see how it fares against Amazon WorkSpaces

Please click on this link for part 2 in case you missed it. You will get all the information you need about the technical capabilities of WVD, tips to optimize its deployment process, and how you benefit as a cloud desktop customer. 


Business case

Assume you are thinking along the lines of a Windows 10 multi-session set up for 100 users in Azure’s East US datacenter while considering Office apps usage a medium scenario. Microsoft suggests 4 x D8s v3 VMs which they price at $0.1474 on an hourly basis for each virtual machine.

If you use the Azure calculator, the price comes to $0.752/hour. Let’s discuss Windows Virtual Desktop Software Assurance to better understand this. Microsoft’s pricing structure on the Windows Virtual Desktop website assumes that to pay for the VMs, you utilize Azure Hybrid Benefit rights and a 3-year Reserved Instance. You can leverage this to keep costs at a minimum. So, how does it work? The Azure Hybrid Benefit enables you to make the most of your current on-prem Windows and/or SQL Server license investment while your enterprise migrates to Azure. It is best known as a Software Assurance benefit for Windows Server licenses which you can use to buy an Azure Windows virtual machine without having to pay for the Windows OS element. Choosing not to do so raises your cost per VM to $0.5154. 

Not purchasing a three-year Reserved Instance and opting for Pay As You Go pricing brings the VM expense to $0.752. 

Considering that these prices are per virtual machine and you need 4 in your environment, your hourly cost will look like this:

Discount TypeHourly Cost (4 VMs)Cost Per Annum
3 Year RI & Hybrid Rights$0.5896$6,634.93
Hybrid Rights$1.536$17,286.10
3 Year RI$2.0616$23,204.08
Without a discount$3.008£33,859.85

Note: Microsoft recommends monthly storage costs amounting to $144.71 based on 15GB per user. 

Disclaimer: Prices and information are accurate as of November 2019. ClearCube is not responsible for the accuracy and completeness of the above prices and product availability. Both may be subject to change anytime.

Comparison With Amazon WorkSpaces

Businesses often ask about how Windows Virtual Desktop stacks up against Amazon WorkSpaces. The latter is a fully-featured, equally extensive, and mature service that facilitates virtual, cloud-based Microsoft Windows or Amazon Linux desktops. It enables employees to access their workspaces anywhere, anytime, and from any device. The solution streamlines IT administration by giving companies greater control of their programs, applications, and operating systems. 

Here is the minimum breakdown of monthly and hourly costs for the US East and West regions, as featured on the Amazon website.


Memory Allocation
Root  VolumeUser VolumeHourly PricingMonthly Pricing
Value1 vCPU, 2 GiB Memory80GB10GB$7.25/month + $0.22/hour$25
Standard2 vCPU, 4 GiB Memory80GB10GB$7.25/month + $0.30/hour$33
Performance2 vCPU, 7.5 GiB Memory80GB10GB$7.25/month + $0.57/hour$55
Graphics8 vCPU, 15 GiB Memory, 1 GPU, 4 GiB Video Memory100GB100GB$22/month + $1.75/hour$735


Memory Allocation
Root VolumeUser VolumeHourly PricingMonthly Pricing
Value1 vCPU, 2 GiB Memory80GB10GB$7.25/month + $0.17/hour$21
Standard2 vCPU, 4 GiB Memory80GB10GB$7.25/month + $0.26/hour$29
Performance2 vCPU, 7.5 GiB Memory80GB10GB$7.25/month + $0.53/hour$51


Our verdict: cost depends on the scale of usage, so whether you choose between WVD or WorkSpaces is entirely an individual preference. Put the spotlight on your unique use cases to determine what best suits your enterprise. 

For help in the decision-making process, look up case studies by Microsoft that support its claims of Azure costing less than Amazon WorkSpaces. The company relies on platforms like Microsoft licenses to highlight the cost differences between Azure and Amazon WorkSpaces solutions.  

Closing Remarks

Choosing a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solution demands end-to-end planning, proactive IT infrastructure assessment, and smart budgeting. Not sure where to start? This is where we come in. Our team caters to the needs of both tech startups and enterprises, regardless of business size, industry, and use cases. For further assistance, please get in touch with us. We are online 24/7 and ready to assist you with anything that you may need. 

Contact Us
Contact Us