Azure Apps – How to Run Your Biz Apps in the Cloud Using Azure RemoteApp

UPDATE 12/08/2016: Microsoft have now deprecated Azure RemoteApp and are recommending the upcoming XenApp Express product. You can learn more about this announcement here.

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Microsoft’s cloud computing platform Azure, which provides both Platform as a Service (PAAS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS), was first released nearly six years ago. As with any cloud platform, it is continually gaining capability with many new features and services being released every year. A new service recently released on Azure is the RemoteApp application streaming service.

By making use of the RemoteApp service, it is possible for businesses to access a wide variety of applications that run in the cloud such as the Microsoft Office from any device anywhere. Performance is always fast as the apps can be accessed from any of Azure’s global network of state-of-the-art data centres.

Once your RemoteApp environment is configured, to access your applications, all you need to do is to install the Azure RemoteApp client from Microsoft. It’s pretty foolproof as the installation process automatically detects the sort of device you are using, and navigates to the correct client for it – simply hit on the relevant link to install the correct client. Once the RemoteApp client is installed, users just need to sign into their Microsoft account through in order to gain instant access to any installed applications.

For organisations already subscribed to Azure, RemoteApp can be installed on a 30-day free trial basis. This is a great way of being able to try the service out without having to commit to it. To begin a free trial, simply sign in using the Azure Management Portal. Putting together a collection of apps is an easy way of experimenting with the full administrative experience of RemoteApp before deciding whether a paid subscription is for you. Do bear in mind that, during this free trial period, the number of collections you can create is limited to two though, and that only ten users per collection are allowed. However, other than this, there are no other limitations on the trial. of course, if you choose not to convert your trial to a paid subscription, the collections which you create will be disabled after the trial period ends.

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Whether you’re using it on a trial or full time basis, you’ll find that many business apps will function perfectly within the RemoteApp service. For example, the service supports the streaming of Windows-based applications, (whether they are 32- or 64-bit) from a Windows Server 2012 R2 image. Any app that is certified for Windows desktop will work too, as long as it complies with the Remote Desktop Services guidelines. To test a particular app’s functionality during the free trial period, install Windows Server 2012 R2 and run the application in question. You then need to enable Remote Desktop and, using two user accounts, add both to the Remote Desktop security group. You should then be able to test the multi-session compatibility of any business app, having created two simultaneous sessions which run when the app is launched.

Adding users to apps through Azure RemoteApp is a pretty simple process, especially if they are Office 365 users listed in the Azure Active Directory. When adding users, all you essentially need to do is to grant them access to your collection. You can do this by locating the User Access tab and entering user account information, before clicking on the check box. The service saves user these new identities for you, and will even remember their app customisations – no matter which device they use to sign into the system. User data is saved according to the particular collection of apps being accessed. Stored on what is called a user profile disk, this data follows the user and ensures that their experience remains consistent every time.

If you have any questions about any aspects of Azure or RemoteApp, drop a line to the experts here at Damson Cloud IT – we are more than happy to answer them, and to help you find a solution that works for your business.