Azure RemoteApp: App-V Support Part 3

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This is the last part in the blog series about App-V support in Azure RemoteApp. In the first part I discussed the use of a standalone App-V deployment with Azure RemoteApp. The second part discussed the use of the full App-V infrastructure in combination with Azure RemoteApp. This last part will focus on deploying App-V applications through System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr). This blogpost will describe the steps needed to add your RemoteApp instances to ConfigMgr and the steps needed to deploy the App-V applications.

But let’s first look into the advantages and disadvantages of using ConfigMgr for deploying App-V applications to Azure RemoteApp. The most common way to implement ConfigMgr in combination with Azure RemoteApp will be a Hybrid domain joined deployment. When domain joined you can easily add your Azure RemoteApp instances to ConfigMgr. When added you can use ConfigMgr to deploy applications, software updates and settings to Azure RemoteApp instances. ConfigMgr can deploy applications to users and/or to devices. My advice is to only deploy applications to Azure RemoteApp devices. As described in part 2 Azure RemoteApp does not support user targeting of applications. Looking to the delivery methods ConfigMgr supports delivering App-V applications locally and streamed. When delivered locally the application will be locally cached and when streamed the application will be streamed from the ConfigMgr distribution point(s). The following table summarizes the advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages Disadvantages
Add/Remove/Update of App-V applications can be done without updating the Custom Image Extra infrastructure is needed for the ConfigMgr environment
Choice of locally caching or streaming applications Additional Management is needed to manage ConfigMgr
Can publish applications to devices and users (when supported by Azure RemoteApp)
Can use other ConfigMgr functionality on the Azure RemoteApp instances
Total Management solution for your Azure RemoteApp environment

The following steps are needed to create a custom image with the ConfigMgr and App-V client configured to a ConfigMgr environment:

  1. Execute step 1 till 7 of the first blogpost of this series which you can find here.
  2. Join the server to the domain and restart the server.
  3. Now go to your ConfigMgr environment and push the agent to the template:
  4. When installed execute step 10 till 14  of the first blogpost of this series which you can find here.
  5. The next step is to prepare the ConfigMgr client for imaging. The following actions need to be executed:
    1. Stop the ‘SMS Agen Host’ Service.
    2. Delete the ConfigMgr certificates from the Local Machine Certificate store.
    3. Remove the %SYSTEMROOT%\SMSCFG.ini file.
  6. The last step is to execute SysPrep by running the following command:
    C:\Windows\System32\sysprep\sysprep.exe /generalize /oobe /shutdown

The next step is to upload the image to Azure RemoteApp. This can be done through the Azure Management Portal. It’s important to upload the image to the same region as where the RemoteApp environment will be deployed.

Another option is to create a Virtual Machine on Azure and use this for creating a template image. In the Gallery you can select the ‘Windows Server Remote Desktop Session Host’ Image and use this as your starting point. When this image is used you can ignore step 1 till 5 in the above plan.

When you have uploaded or created the image the next step is to deploy the image in Hybrid Azure RemoteApp collection. After the deployement of that Hybrid collection the instances should appear in your ConfigMgr environment as systems (Note: After some time the sytems should become active):

remoteapp-configmgr_1

The next step is to create a application deployment for the Azure Remote App instances from ConfigMgr. There are several ways of doing this but I executed the following steps:

  1. Create 2 collections per application. 1 collection for the installation of the application and 1 for removing the application.
    remoteapp-configmgr_2
  2. When you have those 2 collections add the Azure RemoteApp instances to the ‘Uninstall’ collection.
  3. Create 2 Application deployments to those 2 collections. The install deployment should be targeted against the Install collection and the Uninstall deployment should be targeted against the uninstall collection
    remoteapp-configmgr_3
  4. The next step is to add an RemoteApp instance to the install collection. When the instance is added the application should install on the next Machine Policy refresh of the ConfigMgr agent.
  5. You can monitor the application installation by opening the AppEnforce.log from the ConfigMgr client log folder. You should see the following entries:
    remoteapp-configmgr_4
  6. The next step is to publish the icon through the Azure Management Portal. When published the users can start the application.

Azure RemoteApp Client (with published applications):

060115_2109_AzureRemote1.png

VLC Mediaplayer:

remoteapp-configmgr_5

With this 3rd part I will end my blogseries about App-V support in Azure RemoteApp. My conclusion is that App-V works great on Azure RemoteApp and can be implemented in various ways. The choice of Management Solution is just up to you!

If you have any questions about this or earlier blogposts can you contact me through the contact form of my blog or just leave a comment!

 

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