Microsoft kills classic Azure DaaS, because it isn't really Azure

Users get three-year deprecation and migration warning

Microsoft will deprecate the classic edition of its Azure Virtual Desktop desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) and has given customers three years to keep using the service before they'll need to find an alternative.

The software giant seems to have spent years trying to confuse cloudy DaaS users, as it has offered two products called Azure Virtual Desktop, with varying degrees of integration with Azure.

The "classic" service has a management GUI that's not part of the Azure Portal and isn't addressable with the Azure Resource Manager (ARM), Microsoft's main deployment and management service for its cloud. The classic service hasn't, according to some of our readers, received much in the way of updates for some years.

Meanwhile, the successor to Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) classic is called – wait for it – Azure Virtual Desktop.

This from the innovative minds that suddenly and inexplicably renamed Azure Active Directory as Entra and kept the name Active Directory for on-prem directories.

But we digress.

The key difference between AVD classic and AVD is that the latter uses ARM – the Azure Resource Manager, not the processor architecture, in case you were confused seeing as Microsoft offers Windows for Arm.

In case you fancy further confusion, the current version of AVD was once called Windows Virtual Desktop.

Both AVDs are different to Windows 365 Cloud PCs – another Microsoft DaaS offering. The latter mostly runs on AVD but abstracts away the gnarly bits and is sold at a fixed price rather than based on consumption. Windows 365 Cloud PCs are intended to be managed by users, whereas AVD is a more locked-down experience akin to enterprise DaaS.

Now that you (hopefully) know what Microsoft is killing, there's some good news: a move from AVD classic to AVD can be automated. Microsoft has explained how, here. The software giant has also detailed the procedure for a manual migration.

But the Windows titan has not explained why it has deprecated AVD classic, other than pointing out that the service isn't integrated with Azure. The Register understands AVD classic may run on an isolated pod of infrastructure. Killing the classic service will therefore simplify Microsoft's own infrastructure. And maybe, once there's just one AVD, yours too – once you migrate.

Microsoft is giving you good reasons to do so. Last Friday it became impossible to create new Azure Virtual Desktop (classic) tenants – although Microsoft will give large customers an extension.

But come September 30, 2026, only AVD will be supported. Assuming Microsoft hasn't tired of running it and Cloud PCs by then. ®

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