Boom! During his keynote at Microsoft TechEd North America, Corporate Vice President Brad Anderson announced the availability of Azure RemoteApp preview. Like many other virtualization experts, I was waiting for this moment as we’ve all heard rumors about the project code named “Mohoro” since a couple of months. Despite the fact that Brad only covered it briefly, it instantly created a substantial buzz in the virtualization community. Fortunately, there was an entire TechEd session about the details of Azure RemoteApp within less than two hours. And only 24 hours after attending the keynote, Ruben Spruijt and I were on stage in a packed TechEd breakout room, delivering a session titled “An Insider’s Guide to Desktop Virtualization” which allowed us to refer to Azure RemoteApp. In the following I want to give you a brief overview of how Microsoft’s “new” way of delivering Windows applications from the cloud works.
In a nutshell, Azure RemoteApp is what Microsoft describes as “Windows Server session-based applications hosted in Azure”. This means that Windows applications are delivered in a seamless mode from Azure to the client which makes them appear as if they were running locally on the client side – find more details about RemoteApp in my post Seamless Remote Apps Reloaded. Now there are two different options of how to use Azure RemoteApp: The Cloud Deployment variant is built on top of pre-configured Remote Desktop Session Host server VMs with Office 2013 Pro installed. It is fully managed by Microsoft and its goal is rapid application provisioning and automatic system maintenance by not allowing any configuration changes of the server image. RDP 8.1 (RemoteFX) is the remoting protocol and client platforms range from Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1 to iOS and Android, with Windows RT, Windows Phone and Mac OSX coming soon. Up to 20 users can logon in the preview phase after their existing Microsoft accounts or corporate credentials are connected to Azure AD through federation. All personal application settings are preserved in a User Profile Disk stored on a personal 50GB OneDrive folder that is assigned to each Azure RemoteApp user account.