Tuesday, November 25, 2014

RDS User Session Control GUI tool

Free tool by Ramon Bruin to allow helpdesk users to shadow a user session running on RDS 2012 R2 without the need for them to connect to Server Manager or user PowerShell commands!


More info and download: http://easyinit.nl/rds-user-session-control-2/

Monday, November 24, 2014

Microsoft Azure RemoteApp (ARA) on Curah!

What is Curah!
Curah! is a new curation service specifically designed for and maintained by the technical community. With curations we aim to get users where they need to go faster and more reliably with aggregated-answer data, helpful advice, and prescriptive guidance.

Why a curation on Azure RemoteApp (ARA)?
Since ARA is part of Microsoft Azure platform, it's also part of Azure’s fast and continuous update cycles. The “Everything about Microsoft Azure RemoteApp (ARA)” Curation will provide you with a consolidated view of the latest news, combined with direct links to downloads related to ARA, in an easy to navigate format. To accommodate an easy entry I created azureremoteapp.net to point to this new curation!

Happy reading!


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Support for groups in Azure RemoteApp (ARA) will end in 10 days

If you are using the Azure RemoteApp (ARA) Preview you previously had the option to grant users access to ARA using Active Directory Groups (for Hybrid Scenario’s).

Note that this support will end soon: on November 30, 2014. To ensure continuity, any user group assignment you have before today will continue to work until November 30, 2014. All users in current groups will still have access , even though the groups are not shown on the User Access page.

If you have signed up for the ARA Preview, you should have been notified via e-mail on November 6th.

After this date, you will need to assign permissions per user. The reason behind this is making billing and usage simple and predictable. Microsoft has not disclosed pricing and SLA to the public yet.

imageTo make life a little easier, you can use a CSV based import. Click the Bulk Add Users option to upload a .CSV containing a list of e-mail addresses.


Using a bulk import is of course a step back in regards to easy of management, but it apparently had to be done to be fully prepared for the upcoming billing model. Will it return as part of Azure’s fast release model?  let’s hope so! :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Brad Anderson: Success with Enterprise Mobility: Remote Desktop Services (Azure RemoteApp)


Great blog post by Brad Anderson on Azure RemoteApp

“Effectively using Remote Desktop Services (RDS) can be one of those incredible accelerators for a growing company – and its massive adoption worldwide is a testament to just how valuable application and desktop virtualization has become.

The key value that RDS provides is the ability to centralize, control, and deliver the applications and data that employees need across the variety of devices that they use, including bring-your-own-device (BYOD).  This provides the “work anywhere from any device” functionality while ensuring that a company’s control and compliance needs are met at a reasonable cost. We are seeing an ongoing acceleration in the use of RDS as organizations look to deliver their inventory of Windows apps to their users on their mobile devices.

During the last two releases, one thing that we have heard loud and clear is that organizations want to get the value of RDS without the large up-front CAPEX (hardware) investments usually associated with Remote Applications and VDI deployment infrastructure. When you are hosting these solutions in your datacenter you have to plan for peak capacity, and, all too often, when you are not at peak that capacity isn’t being used for other workloads. Hmmm… sounds like a perfect scenario for a solution built on a global, elastic public cloud! Addressing these requests was what led us to build a pure cloud solution that is today known (and loved) as Azure RemoteApp. With Azure RemoteApp we have focused on application virtualization because, when using mobile devices, the UX is much better when focused on the app rather than the entire desktop. This is the top use case we also hear about from our customers.”

Read the full post here: http://blogs.technet.com/b/in_the_cloud/archive/2014/11/17/success-with-enterprise-mobility-remote-desktop-services.aspx

New documentation around Azure RemoteApp (preview)


Today, some new Microsoft documentation around Azure RemoteApp (ARA) has been released.

There is a Best practices for configuring and using Azure RemoteApp and a Azure RemoteApp FAQ available.

Currently Azure RemoteApp is still into preview, but you can sign up to do a free trial. If you want to be up to date with the latest news around ARA join then open LinkedIn group here: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/Microsoft-Azure-RemoteApp-7401732

RD Gateway Farm deployment guide is updated with Client IP Affinity within Azure Load balancer

imageClark Nicholson from the Remote Desktop team announced an update to the existing guidance around running a load balanced RD Gateway setup in Azure.

There was an incompatibility between the Azure Load Balancer and RD Gateway. Previous documentation recommended that deploying RD Gateway virtual machines in 2 separate cloud services and then use Traffic Manager to load balance those.

“Now, this work-around is no longer necessary and we have just published updated versions of the Windows Azure Desktop Hosting Reference Architecture Guide and Remote Desktop Web Access and Gateway Farm Deployment guide. These documents are part of a larger set of guidance on Azure Desktop Hosting using Remote Desktop Services.”

Source: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/rds/archive/2014/11/18/microsoft-azure-desktop-hosting-rd-gateway-farm-deployment-guidance-updated-to-support-azure-load-balancer-client-ip-affinity.aspx

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Azure RemoteApp now available in Microsoft Remote Desktop Preview V8.1.6 update for Windows Phone 8.1

Microsoft just announced new features for the Remote Desktop client for Windows Phone! The featureset for this client is growing, making it a more enterprise ready client with every step.

In this update: Adding an Azure RemoteApp account! You can now add your Azure RemoteApp subscription to start running Azure RemoteApps on your Windows Phone.

For all detail, check out David BĂ©langer's blog post from the Remote Desktop team here: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/rds/archive/2014/11/12/azure-remoteapp-now-available-in-microsoft-remote-desktop-preview-v8-1-6-update-for-windows-phone-8-1.aspx

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Additional guidance published on: RemoteApp and Remote Desktop Session Host Farm Deployment Guides

Clark Nicholson from the Remote Desktop team has published additional guidance on previously released deployment guides on Microsoft Azure Desktop Hosting: RemoteApp and Remote Desktop Session Host Farm Deployment Guides. This also includes scripts to automatically scale down RD Session Host servers to save costs in an Azure Scenario.

Hello everyone, this is Clark Nicholson from the Remote Desktop team. We have just published additional guidance to extend a basic Remote Desktop Services (RDS) deployment in Azure virtual machines. The RemoteApp Programs Deployment document provides steps to create a RemoteApp collection. This allows users to access Windows applications that are running in Azure virtual machines from their favorite internet connected devices.

The Remote Desktop Session Host Farm Deployment document provides steps to add RDSH servers to RemoteApp or desktop collections to create RDSH server farms for higher availability and scale out. Once an RDSH farm has been created in Azure, the RDSH scaling script can be deployed to automatically stop and start RDSH server VMs to reduce VM costs.

These documents assume that a basic RDS deployment has been created based on the Windows Azure Desktop Hosting Reference Architecture Guide and the Windows Azure Desktop Hosting Deployment Guide. For additional information, please see Remote Desktop Services and Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines.

Note: Questions and comments are welcome. However, please DO NOT post a request for troubleshooting by using the comment tool at the end of this post. Instead, post a new thread in the RDS & TS forum. Thank you.

Source: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/rds/archive/2014/11/10/microsoft-azure-desktop-hosting-remoteapp-and-remote-desktop-session-host-farm-deployment-guides.aspx

Saturday, November 8, 2014

As of 11/12/2014 ‘Active Directory group’ support for Azure RemoteApp will be deprecated.

Microsoft has announced that as of 11/12/2014 ‘Active Directory group’ support for Azure RemoteApp will be depricated to align with the new upcoming UI!

 Dear Customer,

Thank you for your continued interest in Azure RemoteApp.
We are continuously working to improve the Azure RemoteApp service, as part of this we are refreshing the user experience for the service and adding a number of great new features to the service soon.

This is to inform you that in order to align with the new upcoming UI, we are deprecating ‘Active Directory group’ support for Azure RemoteApp. You will be able to assign individual users to RemoteApp, but not AD groups.

As of 11/12/2014, any groups assigned to Azure RemoteApp instances will be automatically removed.
Please add individual users back in order to ensure your users have access to Azure RemoteApp.

Remember, you can always talk directly to the engineering team with your issues and questions at our weekly ‘Ask the Experts’ webinar.

-Azure RemoteApp team

Friday, November 7, 2014

MVP Summit 2014

This week I’ve been in Redmond attending the Microsoft Global MVP Summit. It’s an invitation-only event where Microsoft MVP’s are being invited to come over to the Microsoft Campus to join to various Product Teams to discuss the current state and future of their technology expertise. Obviously there are various technical breakout sessions from overview sessions to deep dives, but the best part about MVP Summit is meeting the Product Team and fellow MVP’s in person to discuss current challenges, future releases and provide feedback to the product members in person. Since I’m under NDA I cannot disclose any of the content presented and discussed there, but the Microsoft Desktop Virtualization space has an interesting future ahead! You can expect more details as soon as we’re allowed to share them!
Thanks to everyone at Microsoft for arranging this event, and special thanks to Benjamin Meister, our RDS MVP Community lead!


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Preview availability of RemoteIE: Powered by Azure RemoteApp

Microsoft has released the preview availability of a new service called RemoteIE. It allows you to run the latest version of Internet Explorer on the Windows 10 Technical Preview operating system. Since this service is powered by Azure RemoteApp it can run on various devices like Windows, Mac OS X, iOS or Android! Microsoft states that going forward, this will be the recommended way for developers who are not running Windows 10 to test the latest IE preview versions.

How to set it up?

Browse to https://remote.modern.ie and sign in with a Microsoft account


Accept the App Access


And select the location in which you want the service to run


Next, you should have received en e-mail with that allows you to confirm the signup.


And that’s it!

If you haven't already, download and install the Azure RemoteApp client from here

After logging on with the account you provided earlier, you will now be presented with a Remote App called IE Technical Preview.


Upon launching we’re presented with the IE Technical Preview running seamless on the local desktop, based on Azure RemoteApp, leveraging Remote Desktop Services 2012 R2!

And, since this is all based on Azure RemoteApp, we’re also bale to use non-Windows based clients. For example, here’s how to set it up on an iphone.

You open the Remote Desktop App and accept the Internet Explorer invite:IMG_4777

You are precented with a separate tab “Internet Explorer” with a single RemoteApp called “IE Technical Preview”

And upon launch we’re now running Windows 10 Technical Preview IE as a RemoteApp on iPhone.

To conserve resources, sessions are limited to 10 minutes. After that sessions will bed disconnected with the following error.

Some considerations (taken from this source)

  • IE will be the only application available, though that includes the F12 Developer tools!
  • Remote App requires Windows Server 2012 or newer so no older versions will be available (although you can use the F12 Developer tools to change the compatibility modes).
  • Sessions are limited to conserve server resources. Sessions idle for 10 minutes will be logged out and no session can last more than 60 minutes – you’ll need to start a new session.
  • Performance will not be the same as running IE natively (e.g. no GPU acceleration). If you want to run it natively join the Windows Insiders program to get the Windows 10 Technical Preview or download a VM from modern.IE.
  • RemoteIE will not be able to navigate to local sites or domains behind a firewall. Be sure to have a publicly accessible IP address or URL to test with.
  • Because RemoteIE and Azure RemoteApp are in preview, there may be service interruptions.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

TechEd Europe 2014, staffing the Desktop Virtualization Booth

Last week I attended Microsoft TechEd 2014 Europe in Barcelona. Together with people from the RDS Product team I have been staffing the Desktop Virtualization booth in the MSE area of the Expo Hall. Just like the previous editions this has been a great way to demo the various Desktop Virtualization deployments Microsoft offers and hear about what challenges people are facing or new features the would like to see.
This year the Desktop Virtualization booth was fully dedicated to Microsoft Azure Remote App! Attendees who saw this Azure Service (which is currently into preview) for the first time were very excited about the technology and it’s potential! And the ones who had heard about it, provided some great feedback and features to consider.

Want to try Azure Remote App? https://www.remoteapp.windowsazure.com/

TechEd is only just finished, and I’m already heading to the next conference, the annual Global MVP Summit in Redmond! In fact, I’m flying to Seattle while posting this blog post using the on flight Wifi :)
I had a great time staffing the booth, thanks to everyone who dropped by!