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Managing your Azure RemoteApp application landscape using FSLogix Apps.

Microsoft Azure RemoteApp is all about delivering your Win32 ‘legacy applications’ from the cloud to any device, any location at any time. While RemoteApp technology itself is not new and has been shipping since Windows Server 2008, Azure, however, makes it a truly turnkey, and as a Service, solution. Basically you bring your applications and your identities, and Azure RemoteApp provides you with a GUI inside the Azure Portal to configure the delivery of those applications, including PowerShell support

Currently you provide your custom application landscape by installing all your applications in a RD Session Host Template image. There are 2 ways to provide that Custom Template to Azure. First, you can create the image on premises and upload it entirely to Azure. Depending on you upload bandwidth and the size of your image, this can be a very time consuming task. My advice would be to use the latest option, which is creating the RD Session Host Template image in Azure IaaS. Azure Provides an IaaS template that is already prepared and optimized for Azure RemoteApp, and this saves you from having to upload an entire image for every application update you do. Microsoft providing a more containerized solution to provide custom applications to Azure RemoteApp, seems like the next future step.

Since we provide a single RD Session Host image for each Application Collection in Azure, every user will be presented with a session on a RD Session Host server based on the same image, including the same application landscape. Some of the challenges with this approach;
- Ensuring application license compliance, for example you may not have purchased a Visio License for every user
- A more granular control to for example Office add-ins, browser plugins, fonts et cetera
- Simply fully hiding an application based on authorization, rather than just preventing access

Although you can go ahead and create lockdown policies to prevent access to certain applications leveraging for example AppLocker, this can be time consuming task. And also, out of the box Microsoft technologies like AppLocker deny access, resulting in error messages when a user tries to access them.

It should be no surprise that there are many 3rd party solutions out there that do application layering, application containerization, application virtualization etc.

In this blog post I’m describing my experience in adding FSLogix Apps to control the application landscape of Azure RemoteApp. If you’re not familiar with FSLogix Apps;

FSLogix…FSLogix Apps is a software agent that enables virtual desktop administrators to massively reduce the number of Windows Gold images, easily manage per-user applications, optimize license costs while assuring compliance, and eliminate some of their biggest problems in VDI and RDSH…”

I’m describing three common scenarios which I tested where FSLogix adds real value to (Azure) RemoteApp.




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