Azure RemoteApp – Overview

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I received the approval from Microsoft to join Azure RemoteApp preview program on Thursday (11 Dec 2014). And in this article I would like to share a bit after 2 days of learning and playing with it.

What’s Azure RemoteApp?

Azure RemoteApp brings the functionality of the on-premises Microsoft RemoteApp program, backed by Remote Desktop Services, to Azure. Azure RemoteApp helps you provide secure, remote access to applications from many different user devices.

Microsoft Azure

The applications run in Windows Servers in Azure Cloud. While the application is running remotely, it appears to the user as if it is running locally on client device.

Azure RemoteApp is part of the Microsoft Virtual Desktop Infrastruture. It uses RDP, a WAN ready protocol that is resilient to network latency and loss.

Advantages of Azure RemoteApp

  • Don’t need to worry about a complex on-premises infrastructure configuration. So you are reducing infrastructure cost (move CAPEX to OPEX).
  • Freeing you up to business issues, like creating the best apps for your business to use.
  • End-users can access RemoteApp program from any devices (Windows, iOS, Mac OS X and Android devices) and anywhere.
  • Protect corporate resources and ensure compliance.

remote-app-features

Figure 1 – RemoteApp’s features

Azure RemoteApp deployment Options

There are two kinds of RemoteApp collections

Cloud Collection Hybrid Collection
Is hosted and stores all data for programs in Azure cloud. Is hosted and stores data in Azure cloud and allows users access data and resources stored in local network.
Can use Microsoft account or corporate credentials synchronized or federated with Azure Active Directory account. Can use corporate credentials synchronized or federated with Azure Active Directory account.
The applications and operating system are always kept up to date, the administrator need to worry about figuring out who should have access to which applications only. You are in charge of maintaining the image and applications.

remote-app-quick-create

Figure 2 – Creating the first RemoteApp instance

RemoteApp template images

At this time Microsoft provides us three template images:

Description Roles and Features
Windows Server 2012 Based on Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter operating system
  • .NET Framework 4.5, 3.5.1, 3.5
  • Desktop Experience
  • Ink and Handwriting Services
  • Media Foundation
  • Remote Desktop Session Host
  • Windows PowerShell 4.0
  • Windows PowerShell ISE
  • WoW64 Support
  • Adobe Flash Player
  • Microsoft Silverlight
  • Microsoft System Center 2012 Endpoint Protection
  • Microsoft Windows Media Player
Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus Is an extension of the Windows Server 2012 image
  • Access
  • Excel
  • Lync
  • OneNote
  • OneDrive for Business
  • Outlook
  • PowerPoint
  • Project
  • Visio
  • Word
  • Microsoft Office Proofing Tools
Microsoft Office 2013 Professional Plus Is an extension of the Windows Server 2012 image
  • Access
  • Excel
  • Lync
  • OneNote
  • OneDrive for Business
  • Outlook
  • PowerPoint
  • Project
  • Visio
  • Word
  • Microsoft Office Proofing Tools

Microsoft Azure also offers the availability to create custom template image for RemoteApp.

remote-app-office-image

Figure 3 – Office 2013 Professional Plus image features

Pricing and Licensing

You can offer any application or program to which you hold the license. But you will not need to purchase Windows licenses and Remote Desktop CALs, these are included in the cost of subscription.

Azure RemoteApp is priced per user and is billed on a monthly basics. The service is offered in two tiers: Basic and Standard.

  • Basic is designed for lighter weight application with the price from $10 to $17 per user/ month.
  • Standard is designed for information workers to run productivity applications (e.g. Office) with the price from $15 to $23 per user/ month.

You can select the scale configuration for your RemoteApp collection while creating it. If you want to change it later, you can do so using the SCALE tab. Your applications and settings and your user data remain intact through this change.

remote-app-scaling

Figure 4 – RemoteApp Scaling options

Son Nguyen

Son Nguyen

Son Nguyen is a Cloud Consultant working for FPT Software’s Cloud Innovation team. With deep knowledge in AWS and MS Azure, Son acts as a cloud consultant in various areas, ranging from assessment to architecture design, supporting customers from Japan, EU to US.

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