Using Azure RemoteApp in Education


UPDATE Sept 2016 : Azure RemoteApp is no longer available after Oct 1st 2016. A new Azure service called ‘Citrix XenApp Express’ will be its replacement solution. See more information here and here.

I have been asked by several customers what we have in Azure around application virtualization for student, classroom labs, and other education scenarios. Our solution for this is called Azure RemoteApp. If you haven’t seen what it can do I put together a quick FAQ and included some new usage scenarios added recently:

 

What is Azure RemoteApp?

Azure RemoteApp provides secure, remote access to applications from many user devices. Azure RemoteApp provides non-persistent Terminal Server sessions in the cloud without the need to manage the backend servers infrastructure. It also dynamically scales on the backend so you don’t have to worry about sizing backend systems.

See here for more on RemoteApp overview.

What applications does it support?

It will support most applications that currently run in an existing on premises session hosted solution like Windows RDS, Citrix, etc.  You might have to change the type of RemoteApp license you use based on the type of application you need to publish to your end users.  You can follow the RemoteApp application hosting guidelines here to validate your application.

Does it provide desktop virtualization?

Currently, it only provides application session hosting not a full desktop session experience.

Can I integrate with on premises resources such as mapped drives, group policy, and domain join?

Yes, you can integrate with on premises resources like the ability to have domain integrated applications (e.g. LOB applications, etc.), leverage mapped drives, and incorporate group policy. See more on ARA hybrid configurations here.

Can I control access to the RemoteApp environment and use two factor authentication?

Yes, you can use Azure AD Premium’s Conditional Access feature to restrict the access to RemoteApp applications based on IP ranges, location, etc. You can also incorporate Azure Multi-Factor authentication for dual authentication to your applications. See more on conditional access and ARA here.

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What clients does RemoteApp support?

Windows 7 Sp1 and higher, various Windows thin clients, Mac OSX 10.9 and higher, iOS, Android, and coming soon HTML5 browsers.  See all the RemoteApp client supported versions here. Grab the RemoteApp supported clients here.

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Mac client

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Android

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iOS

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Windows 10 universal Remote Desktop app here

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Windows client release

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Upcoming HTML5 web client (no client install required). You can visit your RemoteApp applications from any HTML5 browser by going to this web URL:

https://www.remoteapp.windowsazure.com/web/connectioncenter

Do the RemoteApp applications appear on my start menu?

Yes, they appear on the start menu grouped in a category you can define.

You can also pin them to the start menu so they appear as if they are locally installed applications to the end users:

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Can I print, save files, have sound redirection, clipboard, and have USB redirection?

Yes, you can save files to your local 50GB persistent data location which will be available next time you access RemoteApp. You will also be able to have clipboard, sound, printer, and USB redirection locally.

See here for more on redirection.

How can I deploy custom apps to ARA?

 In order to leverage custom applications in RemoteApp, you need to build a custom image with the applications fully installed that you would like to publish to the end users. This is includes client-server applications provided appropriate access to the backend is available via hybrid configuration. It is not recommended to put databases or backend systems in RemoteApp images since the state cannot be preserved.

How do I build a custom image?

There are two options you can bring your own VHD image from on premises or use an Azure VM to build the RemoteApp image.

In my environment, I used the Azure VM to build my own image for RemoteApp where you pick the RDS host VM type:

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I installed the applications into the VM I wanted and I even enabled Office 365 ProPlus with the Shared Computer Activation switch I posted here on (I used the regkey set to 1). I tested all the applications before prep.

After installations, I ran the post app install RemoteApp script on the desktop to prep it and validate it for RemoteApp.

I uploaded the image to RemoteApp here:

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I created a collection, assigned users, and published the applications to the collection:

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I selected the appropriate plan based on the applications I was publishing:

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I then tested it out on clients and web:

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For detailed step by step setup of your RemoteApp image please see here for custom VHD from on premises and here for custom Azure VM image for RemoteApp.

Can I update my collection with application changes/removes?

Yes, you can select ‘update’ to make changes to your collections with new RemoteApp images. You can chose then force logout after 60 minutes or immediately for the RemoteApp users.

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See here for more details.

When is RemoteApp going to have ARM support?

Currently, it is slated for release in the July-Sept timeframe. Stay tuned to the Azure RemoteApp roadmap here for more details.

Can I trial/test this?

Yes, please go h

ere for quick demo or here for 30 day trial.

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