Windows Virtual Desktop Pooled vs Personal

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What is the difference between a Pooled and Personal host pool in Windows Virtual Desktop?

Both options are visible when connecting to the Azure Portal, clicking Windows Virtual Desktop and clicking the option to create a new Host Pool. See screenshot below:

Personal desktops also known as persistent desktops are where each user is allocated a desktop. Users can modify their desktop to meet personal preferences and can save files in their own desktop environment.

When configuring personal desktops within the Azure Portal, there are two further options as shown below:

Automatic: The service will select an available host and assign to the user
Direct: This allows admins to select a specific host to assign to users

Pooled desktops, also known as non persistent desktops, assign users to whichever session host is available at the time. This depends on the configured load balancing algorithm which I have documented below. Because the users don’t always return to the same session host each time they connect to the Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) solution, the users have limited ability to customise the desktop environment.

When selecting a pooled configuration within WVD located in the Microsoft Azure Portal, further options become visible as shown below:

  • Breath First load balancing will distribute new user sessions across all available session hosts in the host pool
  • Depth first load balancing distributes new user sessions to an available session host with the highest number of connections but has not reached its maximum session limit threshold.

What is Windows 10 Enterprise multi session?

I know this is off topic to what the post title describes, but I thought it would be a good idea to document some information about Windows 10 multi session.

Windows 10 Enterprise multi session, previously known as Windows 10 Enterprise for virtual desktops, allows multiple concurrent interactive sessions. This was previously only an option with Windows Server.

Windows 10 Enterprise multi session provides multi session functionality exclusively for Windows Virtual Desktop which is a Microsoft Azure Service. Windows 10 Enterprise multi session has been tested, optimised, and supported exclusively on Microsoft Azure only. Microsoft does not support Windows 10 Enterprise multi session on non Azure deployments.

When planning your deployment, it’s important to check your application compatibility and contact application vendors if required. You may find that some applications don’t support certain configurations such as multi session.

You may also be interested in the posts below:

Deploying Windows Virtual Desktop
Windows Virtual Desktop Application Group Creation