RemoteApp Azure – Quick Look

azure-remoteapp-menu-logo

I always found RemoteApp an interesting technology. It have been around since the release of 2008 R2. However, I believe that it’s not being used by many organizations. Well, I haven’t seen it in action that much.

If you’re new to RemoteApp, this technology enables you to make programs that are accessed remotely through Remote Desktop Services appear as if they are running on the end user’s local computer. The Remote Application runs in its own re-sizable window, can be dragged between multiple monitors, and has its own entry in the taskbar.

I believe that RemoteApp has not been used much due to licensing complexity and costs. You probably need A CAL, Windows licenses, RDSL and a license for the shared application for every user. Azure Remote Applications changes all of this with a simplified licensing model as you will not need to purchase Windows licenses and or Remote Desktop CALs, these are all included in the cost of the subscription. And of course, having the benefits of the Azure Elastic runtime, Azure Active Directory and a client which runs on various platforms.

RemoteApp Azure Cloud Deployment Overview
Azure Cloud Deployment Overview.

Azure RemoteApp user experience

At this point I was interested to see what the user experience would be like given that Microsoft introduced a new client. When hosted locally, its possible to add an icon on the user’s desktop/start menu. Basically behaving and looking like any other local application. Unfortunately, this isn’t an option anymore as far as I can see.

After installing the client (available here https://www.remoteapp.windowsazure.com/ClientDownload) the following icon will appear on the desktop and introduces a new interface.

RemoteApp Azure Desktop Icon

Remote App Azure Startup Screen

The “Get started” initiate the Azure Sign in dialog allowing the user to authenticate with Azure using a Microsoft account or Azure Active Directory.

RemoteApp Azure Sign In

At this point it’s required to setup RemoteApp within the azure portal and add the user to the application collection. Setting up a new Application collection is fairly simple when using one of the default images as provided by Microsoft. However won’t allow you to publish a custom application.

RemoteApp Azure Collection

RemoteApp Azure Collection Users

RemoteApp Azure Apps

After adding users to your application collection within the Azure portal, the user will be able to accept the invitation and access the published applications.

RemoteApp Azure Invitation

RemoteApp Azure Work Resources

RemoteApp Azure Start App

I believe that there are numerous scenarios where Azure Remote Applications will shine. Moving Desktop based non-Line of Business applications with high availability requirements sounds interesting or perhaps a distribution model for ISV’s.

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