Some time ago, Microsoft released Azure RemoteApp (ARA), essentially providing a full Remote Desktop Services deployment…as a Service.

Below you can see how session/desktop virtualization has existed, and transformed across many states.

The huge benefit of ARA is the fact that you can provide RDSaaS, without having to own and maintain a majority of the environment, yet get the same experience as a full RDS deployment with automated scale out.

Below are some of the highlights of ARA delivery:

You have 2 deployment options:

  • Cloud Deployment
    • Image available with Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2013 preinstalled
    • Rapid provisioning: apps quickly available
    • Automatic maintenance of platform image: OS and apps
      always up-to-date, Microsoft antimalware
    • User logon with Microsoft account or corporate credentials federated with Azure Active Directory

  • Hybrid Deployment
    • Fully customizable apps, OS, and settings
    • IT can manage template images and apply
      updates via Azure Portal
    • Full access to on-premises network
    • User logon with corporate credentials federated
      with Azure Active Directory

It should also be noted that there are 4 separate pricing/performance tiers as shown here

It should be noted that each ARA deployment has its own DEDICATED Connection Broker and that each Session Host created on the backend is an A3 VM and will scale out based on demand and load. Different tiers support different user counts per server.

Let’s go ahead and build our collection. Let’s start by logging into the Azure portal and starting a trial or enabling ARA on the subscription.

Let’s go ahead and create our ARA collection, specifically with VNET so we are connecting back to our on-premises applications, domain and other services.

Populate a name for the collection, plan size and network to connect it to

You’ll be notified immediately that Input is required, so dig into the ARA collection

Choose “Join local domain” to input your domain join information

Drop in the domain info, OU to dump the computer objects to and account that can initiate the domain join.

In most cases, you should have a designated domain join account.

Let’s then select the template we want to use

We could upload our old image in a very streamline, scripted process, so we can publish custom applications.

In this case, we’re going to use the pre-baked O365 ProPlus template, so we’ll choose to Link an existing template

Go ahead and choose Save and it will start to prepare the collection

You can go back to the ARA landing page and view the status, it may take up to an hour to build

While waiting, you can see the Session Host objects joining to the domain

Come back after an hour and your collection should be complete!

Now time to publish apps and configure user access.

By default for the Office 365 ProPlus image, you can see it automatically publishes the Office suite

Go ahead and answer user names who should have access, they have to currently exist in the Azure AD

Now time to test!

Grab the Win10 Remote Desktop Client from

Download and launch the Windows 10 app


You should see all of your published apps in the collection

Login with your enterprise account


It should also be noted that for future access you can find your apps in the local Start Menu All Apps list

Alternatively, you can use the Remote Desktop client from your mobile devices as well to connect to Azure RemoteApp.

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