Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Azure RemoteApp service limits and default values


In our session on Azure RemoteApp last week at BriForum London last week, Benny Tritsch and I also covered the service plans for Azure RemoteApp and the corresponding (soft) limits.



Check out this page for instructions on how to request a limit increase for your Azure RemoteApp collection: RemoteApp service limits and default values

Friday, May 22, 2015

Recap: Session on Azure RemoteApp at BriForum 2015, London

IMG_8013This week I presented a session on Microsoft Azure RemoteApp at BriForum 2015 in London together with fellow RDS MVP Benny Tritsch. (drtritsch.com).

This was the 11th year of BriForum! For more info on the event visit http://briforum.com and for a description on our session see http://briforum.com/Europe/speakers.html

 

 

The title of our session: Unfolding the Azure RemoteApp magic!

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We started our session with a quick introduction into Azure RemoteApp and RemoteApp (or RAIL) technology in general. We then covered the 2 deployment types, Cloud and Hybrid in which we discussed the options, the differences and performed a live demo of the admin experience using the Azure Portal. After that we drilled down into the client experience on the various platforms.

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Next was Licensing & Costs in which we covered the various licensing models, service plans and corresponding SLA. After that we shared some results of the Azure RemoteApp Benchmarking whitepaper. The final topic was Tips, Tricks & Caveats in which we shared many of our experiences, best practices & caveats with Azure RemoteApp.

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We closed the session with a demo of the new Azure RemoteApp Client that Microsoft is working on. This client is not available yet, however as RDS MVP’s we’ve received an early beta of the client to start testing and we RDS product team allowed us to demo the new client on stage! This new clients allows you to pin Azure RemoteApps to you local StartScreen or Start menu!

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The session was very well received and we received great feedback and interesting questions. Thanks to everyone who attended the session and thanks to TechTarget & BriForum for having us, we had a great time!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Azure RemoteApp: First look at pinning Azure RemoteApp shortcuts to the Start Screen!

Feels like Déjà vu saying this, but again another big improvement in the continuous development cycle of Azure RemoteApp has been announced!

As RDS MVP we were notified earlier that this was on the roadmap, but we were able to see it live in action yesterday. The Microsoft RDS team has demonstrated an updated Azure RemoteApp client that allows pinning a RemoteApp to your local Start Screen! To me, this is a huge improvement in regards to the adoption Azure RemoteApp. This means that you no longer need to constantly switch to the Azure RemoteApp client to a launch a RemoteApp. In fact, after the initial sign in, you can even close the client and still launch a RemoteApp directly from the Start Screen.

I’ve been asking the RDS Product team for this feature since day1, and I was not the only one. The feature is the number one voted request on the Azure RemoteApp User Voice Page :)

The new client is currently still in development and not available for public preview yet. But I am able to share some screenshots. Below is a screenshot of the updated client. It looks very similar to the previous client, but notice where is says “Find all your apps in the Start Menu All apps list.”

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This means that as soon as you have logged in on the Azure RemoteApp client, the RemoteApps that have been assigned to you are now also available in the All Apps section of the Start Screen as shown below. And from here you’re able to pin these items to your Start Screen as desired.

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In the new update of the Client, the Connection Center (shown in the first screenshot) will be decoupled from Azure RemoteApp Client itself. This means that after you sign in on the Azure RemoteApp Client and have retrieved the Remote Apps, you could close the Connection Center and continue to use already running Remote Apps and even launch new  RemoteApps from the Start Screen or All Apps section without having to re-open the Connection Center.

Since the RemoteApps are published to the AllApps Section of the Start Screen, you also have the option of simply typing the name of the application and launch the RemoteApp directly from there, similar to any local installed application and also similar to running RemoteApp in a on premises or hosted scenario.

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The new client capabilities were demonstrated on Windows 8.1, but should also work on for example Windows 7 SP1, and basically any version of Windows that is currently supported for Azure RemoteApp.

UPDATE:
Watch the full video here: https://event.on24.com/eventRegistration/EventLobbyServlet?target=launchConsole.jsp&eventid=981683&sessionid=1&key=E6CC10F6C89FB61DDD42C27608871B7A

Friday, April 24, 2015

Online Course: Azure RemoteApp, from introduction to advanced now available!

I have authored a new course for opsgility.com about Azure RemoteApp. It’s called “Azure RemoteApp, from introduction to advanced” and it’s available today!

The course contains 7 modules exploring everything you need to know about Azure RemoteApp including various hands on labs.

Course overview
The Azure RemoteApp, from introduction to advanced course will help students to get acquainted with the Azure RemoteApp. The course will start with explaining Remote Desktop Services to lay a foundation for the rest of the course. After that we will dive into Azure RemoteApp by explaining the basic concept and perform an actual cloud based deployment. Next, we will cover the more advanced Hybrid Deployment including setting up connectivity to on-premises and creating custom templates. We will end the course with an discussing pricing, licensing and SLA and discuss some Tips, Tricks & Caveats.

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”…Opsgility is an innovative training company founded by Michael Washam that focuses on teaching technology through hands-on practice. Our instructors are some of the brightest and most knowledgeable in the industry, and are made up of Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) and Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCTs) in over 10 countries. ..”

Deploy Azure RemoteApp collection to your Azure Virtual Network (with support for ExpressRoute) now publically available!

Another big milestone in the continuous development of Azure RemoteApp (ARA)! It is now supported to deploy a Azure RemoteApp collection to an (existing) Azure Virtual Network (VNET) including support for Express Route!

As RDS MVP’s we have been able to test drive this new feature in beta. With the ability to use (existing) Azure Virtual Networks the setup of a Azure RemoteApp Hybrid Collection makes so much more sense. No more need to create a separate Azure RemoteApp VNET, you can now just use leverage the generic Azure VNET which also allows you to start using Express route.

After you have created the Azure RemoteApp Hybrid Collection, you now have the option to Link a virtual network

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And simply point a Azure VNET

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And since this is now a generic Azure VNET you can also manage it the same way.

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Check out the RDS Team blog for more details: Deploy Azure RemoteApp collection to your Azure Virtual Network (with support for ExpressRoute)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Azure RemoteApp issues on iOS 8.3

Microsoft has reported errors when using Azure RemoteApp in iOS version 8.3

TIME
4/17/2015 9:53:50 PM

TITLE
Important Information Regarding Azure RemoteApp on iOS8.3 [West US]

DESCRIPTION
“…Azure RemoteApp users who attempt to sign-in on an iOS 8.3 device will experience an error message. If users desire to use Azure RemoteApp, they should not upgrade to iOS 8.3, an update to the Remote Desktop client will soon be published to the AppStore…”

Monday, April 13, 2015

Manage users in Azure RemoteApp based on Active Directory groups, with PowerShell!

Prior to December 11/12/2014 Azure RemoteApp supported functionality to authorize users to an Azure RemoteApp Collection based on Azure Active Directory group membership.

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However, this feature was deprecated starting from 11/12/2014. Also see: As of 11/12/2014 ‘Active Directory group’ support for Azure RemoteApp will be deprecated.

The statement that Microsoft made related to this change:

“…Continuous changes to user groups' membership, especially when that group owner is different from RDS admin, make billing and usage less predictable. Because of this, we are deprecating user group support in Azure RemoteApp…”

As a result, the only way to add users in bulk is using the .CSV bulk import option. You can find more info on that here: Introducing CSV based user import

To allow for easier management I wrote a PowerShell Script that synchronizes users to a Azure RemoteApp Collection based on Active Directory Group Membership.

The script will do the following, based on a specified Active Directory group & Azure RemoteApp Collection;

- Add users to an Azure RemoteApp collection who are a member of the AD group
- Remove users from an Azure RemoteApp collection who are not a member of the AD group anymore

This will result in only allowing access to, and being billed for, users that are added to an Active Directory group.

Below is a sample output in a scenario where 4 new users were added to the group and 4 other users were removed. When finished the scripts outputs the users currently allowed access to the Collection.

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If needed you could create a Scheduled Task, or maybe even better in Azure Automation and have this run periodically and include the action to add users to the AD group in your current Identify Management solution.

The Azure Portal below reflects the changes instantly.

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I uploaded the PowerShell script to TechNet Gallery, get the link here:

https://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/Manage-users-in-Azure-f793aea7

The PowerShell script obviously requires the modules of both Active Directory and Azure and a Azure Publish Settings file to be able to connect to Azure for Remote Management.

2 notes of caution:

- Any user that is not a member of group specific in the script will be removed from the Azure RemoteApp Collection, without a warning. So make sure the group contains all users that need access to the collection

- You will be billed by Azure based on the number of users that have been allowed access. So make sure that the group specific in the script only contains members that actually need access.