Wednesday, July 13, 2016

How to implement Azure RemoteApp (ARA) for business (part 1)

For a customer environment it was needed to offer applications to local devices, without using a local infrastructure. Because Microsoft Cloud is the way to go, I was thinking about Azure RemoteApp (ARA). Let's have a look at the solution and how to implement it for offering applications. It is not that hard to setup.

ARA helps employees stay productive anywhere, and on a variety of devices (Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, or Android). Your company’s applications run on Windows Server in the Azure cloud, where they’re easier to scale and update. Employees simply install Remote Desktop clients on their (Internet-connected) PC, Mac, tablet, or phone and then access applications as if they were running locally. Sounds easy isn't it?

Pro's and cons:
-ARA is available in the old Azure portal only (for now). It will be available in the new Azure portal later this year.
-Applications within a single collection can be offered to specific users or groups only. Not possible to divide them to different users or groups. This will be available in the new Azure portal later.
-Deploying virtual (App-V) applications within ARA isn't supported by Microsoft. It is working, but not a recommended option. This will be supported in future in the new Azure portal.
-Deploying virtual (App-V) applications within ARA is supported in hybrid collections only. When using cloud collections this isn't the case. It is working, but not a recommended option.

Steps to take:
-Open the Azure portal, go to virtual machines and create a new "Windows Server Remote Desktop Session Host" from template. Choose the configuration wanted and wait for it to complete.
-The applications needed can be installed native or may be virtual (App-V) as well. Make sure the App-V Client for Remote Desktop Services is installed too, when App-V packages are used.
-To register App-V packages for later usage, use the following command(s): Microsoft TechNet. Don't start them yet, otherwise delete data in the local VFS Folder (%LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\AppV\Client\VFS) for sure.

When ready start ValidateRemoteAppImage.ps1 on the desktop. This script will check for errors and start Sysprep afterwards. The virtual machine will be stopped afterwards.

Choose to capture the virtual machine afterwards (Capture button).

Go to RemoteApp now and "Add a new template image". The virtual machine captured before must be available now. This will take some time, so be patience ;)

That's it for now. In a next blogpost I will continue creating a new ARA collection, and publish some applications.

Check weblinks:
-Using App-V apps in Azure RemoteApp
-Create a Azure RemoteApp image based on an Azure virtual machine
-Capture an image of an Azure Windows virtual machine created with the classic deployment model
-App-V: On App-V Applications Hosted in Azure RemoteApp

Update 14-7: Change on virtual (App-V) applications. Thanks to @ArjanVroege and @fberson for comments.

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