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Details & Benefits of Remote Application Pools in Microsoft Azure

Given the multitude of features available in Nerdio, one of the features that often goes underutilized is Remote Application Pools. They serve as an excellent tool to bridge the gap for customers who are hesitant to adopt full cloud-based desktop solutions but want the security and redundancy which the cloud provides. This article is designed for partners who are looking for creative ways to expand their cloud practice, while providing a low cost and highly secure solution.

Most people understand the general concept of publishing a Remote Application via application pools, but don’t know how easy and straightforward it is through Nerdio’s automation. In this article we’ll discuss the details of RemoteApp pools and their best use case to expand the scope of prospects who can utilize the benefits of having a cloud solution in Microsoft Azure.

Application pools are designed to grant users access to individual applications, rather than the full desktop experience which is common in most AVD configurations. Considering best practice in Azure environments, application pools have two practical use cases:

1. Cost Management

Due to the nature of application pools, individual users are limited to a specified number of programs defined by their administrator. This can create a cap on resource consumption depending on the programs installed. As a result, less resources per user are necessary than would typically be expected with a full published desktop. This translates into real cost savings for customers who are a little more price sensitive. It can also provide a good foot-in-the-door with customers who are hesitant to embrace this new cloud technology and don’t want to commit to full cloud desktops for each user. A good example of this would be a hospital with doctors who can’t fully appreciate the benefits of AVD desktops for each user but can understand the security benefits of having their data and applications guarded by the billion dollar security backbone built into Azure. Positioning the cloud solution from an app pool standpoint makes for a far more attractive prospect as it would significantly boost security and HIPPA compliance compared to the typical on-premises servers which might normally host their applications.

2. Cloud Gateway

As a perfect segue from the last point, application pools can be a great gateway or first step to move clients toward full cloud adoption. Due to their simplicity and ease of use, application pools are great for clients who may not be ready to fully embrace this new age of cloud-based workspaces. Remote app pools allow users to keep their behavior and habits the same, enjoying the look and feel of a local application while having the security and stability of a cloud-based solution.

Application Pool Configuration Process

With that understanding let’s look at the steps involved to configure an application pool through Nerdio.

Application pools are configured just like a standard desktop pool. First login to the Nerdio Admin Portal (NAP), select the “Servers” tab, and then “Add AVD Pool”.

Once the form opens, simply fill in the information for the name of the pool, the storage type, and the VM series. This is also where you specify a RemoteApp pool rather than a Session Desktop pool and choose the Clone Template. As you can see from the screenshot below, you do have the option to select a current pool in the environment to use as the template. This can be another session desktop pool, and if selected you’ll get the list of applications installed on that desktop pool, without the full desktop experience. 

Once you’ve confirmed the settings for the new pool, the NAP will walk through the provisioning process. After that’s complete the next step is to install the desired applications on the pool template and publish the apps that will be available for each user.

This is done easily through the Nerdio Admin Portal by navigating to the Servers tab, selecting the dropdown on the desired Pool and pushing Published Apps.

Once the apps have been published the last step is to assign users to the new pool. This is accomplished by logging into the Nerdio Admin Portal, navigating to the Users tab and then selecting the user in question. From there go to the Azure resources section and specify the Application Pool. Once you push Confirm you’re good to go. Users should receive an email with instructions to access their applications. It’s also possible to get the login info directly in the Nerdio Admin Portal by selecting the dropdown next to Reset Password for the desired user and choosing Log in to Desktop.

Final Thoughts

From a configuration standpoint, applications are installed on app pools in the same manner as they’re installed on session desktop pools. As long as the applications show up in the start menu of the template, they should be listed as available apps that can be published for users. One thing to keep in mind, Nerdio natively allows for user assignment of either an application pool or a session desktop pool. You can’t have an individual user assigned to both at the same time.

As you can see, Remote Application Pools are easy to utilize and straight forward to provision. With the familiarity that appears for the user and the ease with which a RemoteApp pool can be deployed, these pools can serve as a great tool to help encourage otherwise resistant clients to begin migrating towards a complete cloud solution.


Multi-Cloud and On-Premises Deployment with Azure Stack HCI (Coming Soon)

Deploy Azure Virtual Desktop in Azure and extend the session host VM placement to on-premises and other cloud using Azure Stack HCI. Nerdio Manager automates deployment of session hosts, AVD agent installation, and full integration into the AVD deployment in Azure.

Create a brand new Azure Virtual Desktop environment or allow Nerdio Manager to discover an existing deployment, connecting to existing resources, and manage them.

Deploy Nerdio Manager from Azure Marketplace and configure a new AVD environment with an easy to follow, step-by-step configuration wizard. First group of users can access their AVD desktop in less than 2 hours.

Service providers, system integrators, and consultants can leverage Nerdio Manager’s scripted AVD deployment template. Create complete environments with desktop images, host pools, and auto-scaling in minutes.

Create and manage AVD environments that span Azure regions and subscriptions. Quickly link Vnets and resource groups and manage AVD deployments world-wide from unified portal.

Link multiple Azure tenants under the same Nerdio Manager instance and manage AVD deployments that span Azure AD tenants. User identities and session host VMs can run in separate tenants for maximum flexibilty and security.

Deploy and manage AVD environments that span across sovereign Azure Clouds. Cross-sovereign cloud support allows identity (e.g. users and groups) to be in one Azure Cloud, while session host VMs are in another Azure Cloud.

Management of workspaces, host pools, app groups, RemoteApps & custom RDP settings

Administer every aspect of AVD with Nerdio Manager including workspaces, host pools, application groups, RemoteApp publishing, RDP properties, session time limits, FSLogix, and much, much more. Every Azure service that AVD relies on can be managed with Nerdio Manager.

Deploy and manage AVD session host VMs. Hosts can be created manually or with auto-scaling, deleted on-demand or on a schedule, re-imaged to apply updates, run a scripted action, resized, put into or taken out of drain mode, and more.

Manage user sessions across the entire AVD environment, within a workspace, host pool or on a single host. Monitor session status, disconnect or log off the user, shadow or remote control to provide support, or send user an on-screen message.

End users have the ability to log into Nerdio Manager with their Azure AD credentials and manage their own session, restart their desktop VM, or start a session host if none are started in a host pool. (Ability to resize and re-image own desktop is coming soon.)

Create, link, and manage Azure Files shares including AD domain join. Synchronize Azure Files permissions with host pools, configure quotas, and enable SMB multi-channel. Manage file lock handles and configure Azure Files auto-scaling to increase quota as needed.

Create, link, and manage Azure NetApp Files accounts, capacity pools and volumes. Configure provisioned volume size, monitor usage, and use auto-scaling to automatically adjust volume and capacity pool size to accommodate the needed capacity and latency requirements.

FSLogix configuration can be complex and overwheling, but not with Nerdio Manager. Create one or more FSLogix profiles with all the needed options, point at one or more Azure Files, Azure NetApp Files, or server locations and select from VHDLocations, CloudCache and Azure Blob storage modes.

Multiple identity source profiles can be set up and used automatically on different host pools. Active Directory, Azure AD DS, and Native Azure AD are all supported. Choose the appropriate directory profile when adding a host pool and all VMs will automatically join this directory when being created.

Create a copy of a host pool with all of its settings: auto-scale config, app groups and RemoteApps, MSIX AppAttach, user/group assignments, VM deployment settings, etc. Save time by creating host pool “templates” that can be cloned to any Workspace, Azure region or subscription instead of starting from scratch.

Apply user session time limits at host pool level. Automatically log off disconnected sessions, limit the duration of idle sessions, control empty RemoteApp session behavior and more.

Assign Azure AD users to personal desktops to ensure the user will log into a pre-configured VM. Un-assign personal desktops from users who leave the organization and re-use these VMs for new users.

Pre-configure custom Azure tags for all Azure resources associated with each host pool. Tags can be used for charge-back and cost allocation by host pool.

When creating session hosts using NV-series VMs NVIDIA and AMD GPU drivers are automatically installed.

Move existing host pools from Fall 2019 (Classic) object model to Spring 2020 (ARM) object model. Choose to whether to move or copy user assignments. Existing session hosts are automatically migrated or new ones can be created in the ARM host pool.

Automatically enable and configure AVD integration with Azure monitor. Zero configuration required. Azure Monitor Insights for AVD can be used instead of or in conjunction with Sepago Monitor.

AVD personal desktops to Windows 365 Cloud PC migration (Coming Soon)

Migrate users from AVD personal desktops to Windows 365 Enterprise Cloud PCs using an existing image and user assignment. (Coming soon)


Cloud PC License Usage Optimization (Coming Soon)

Cloud PC device lifecycle management

Cloud PC user group assignment

Intune primary user management on Cloud PCs

Migrate AVD personal desktops to Cloud PCs (Coming Soon)

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