Microsoft RemoteApp: Your Apps in the Cloud

By Aaron Saposnik| December 10, 2014

On December 11th, an interesting new feature in Microsoft Azure called RemoteApp will be available for general use. Azure RemoteApp is Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Services in the cloud and offers a number of features to make your applications and services globally available. Read my blog to learn more about RemoteApp and how this new feature will benefit your organization.

How Can RemoteApp Help Me?

Microsoft has worked with a number of customers and realized that many organizations are looking for ways to more easily centralize and publish applications. With the ever increasing number of people teleworking and companies implementing Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) policies it is more important than ever for organizations to be able to track application installation while still making sure that end users have the tools they need. RemoteApp solves these problems by allowing organizations to publish applications to almost any device with an Internet connection including Windows and Mac workstations, Android phones and tablets and iOS devices. These published applications are also streamed from the server so that they no longer need to be installed on individual machines, reducing the load on the IT department and simplifying licensing management.

How Does RemoteApp Work?

RemoteApp relies on the same Remote Desktop Services technology that on-premises terminal servers use. However, RemoteApp takes it a step further and publishes the applications from these servers to an easy to use application. IT staff no longer needs to monitor and maintain a large RDS environment – Azure does all of the heavy lifting.

In addition, hosting your applications in Azure allows your organization to take advantage of the high availability of Azure’s infrastructure. Your RemoteApp infrastructure is extremely redundant and will be active even if your on-premises environment is down. This can benefit the end users not just for day to day use, but also in disaster scenarios where many users are without a workstation. If they are running their applications from the cloud, users can install the RemoteApp client on any machine and will have their applications ready in a matter of minutes.

Microsoft RemoteApp

What Applications Can I Publish in RemoteApp?

RemoteApp has two different models – a “Quick Create” option and a “Create with VPN” option. Using “Quick Create,” a number of templates are available from Microsoft including one that includes Office 2013 pre-installed. Using these templates allows an organization to deploy RemoteApp within minutes and start publishing Office right away. RemoteApp does not include Office licensing so you will need to provide your own, however if you are running a version of Office 365 that includes Office ProPlus you can use that license for RemoteApp.

For more advanced deployments, the “Create with VPN” option allows for RemoteApp to be connected back to your on-premises environment. The server used for this deployment can also be customized to include any of your custom applications such as Adobe products, Quickbooks or any other third party business applications. These applications can use the VPN tunnel to connect back to your on-premises domain, file servers and application servers so that you can continue to have the full RDS experience while in Azure.

How Is RemoteApp Licensed?

RemoteApp is licensed on a per user basis and users can receive two types of license – Basic or Standard. Basic licenses are for lighter weight applications such as Adobe Acrobat Reader, remote desktop services and text based third party applications. Standard licenses are designed for applications that may require more resources such as Office, Quickbooks and Adobe design products. RemoteApp also allows three different environments to be created so that some users can have basic licenses, some can have standard licenses and the published applications and type of RemoteApp deployment (Quick Create or Create with VPN) can be customized to fit each user’s needs. Keep in mind, with RemoteApp recently becoming generally available, some of the pricing and details are still in transition and this information might change.

If you are looking for a way to publish applications to your users or setup an easy way to keep your applications centralized and updated, let BDO Digital work with you to investigate whether RemoteApp is a good fit for your organization.

Leveraging opportunities in the cloud