Author: Peter Brown
Based in Palo Alto, Peter Brown is a director of R&D for VMware EUC and leads development for VMware Horizon Cloud Service.
In part 5 of this blog series, I walked through the steps to create RDS Farms and Application and Desktop assignments. In part 6 of the Horizon Cloud Service on Microsoft Azure blog series, I will walk you through the end user experience of making use of those assignments.
Let’s dive right in!
Horizon Cloud Service on Microsoft Azure supports all of the clients that are supported with Horizon 7, specifically: Windows, Windows 10 Universal Windows Platform, Linux and Mac desktop clients, and iOS and Android mobile clients. You can download the client software here (make sure to download the latest 4.x clients for all the latest great features) or from the App Store (iOS) / Play Store (Android). In addition to the download software, Zero Clients (utilizing PCoIP) are also supported, and finally, for users on the move, browser-based access is also available requiring no download or browser plugins.
The client software can be simply installed on your device of choice. I won’t go through those steps here, as they are straightforward. Browser access is covered later in this blog.
Software is installed, but where to connect?
Now that the client software is installed, you will be asked to specify a server to connect to. Let’s take a look to see what information we need:
Click Settings -> Capacity, then click on the node to which you want end users to connect.
This will display the node details page. Near the top right is a section called Tenant Appliance IP Address.
If your users are connecting to Desktops in Azure using a private corporate network rather than connecting across the public internet, (typically achieved by using Express Route or VPN to connect your local on-premises network to the desktop network in Azure), then this local IP address shown in the picture above is the IP address of the Azure node that they should connect to. Typically, an organization would create a DNS record for this so that the users could enter that friendly DNS name and connect from there.
Most often, however, customers will want their end users to connect via the optional Unified Access Gateway (see blog part 3). This allows end user access from anywhere with internet connectivity and enables the use of browser-based web access too. To identify how to connect to this, scroll down this node details page, until you find the section Internet Enabled Desktops.
In the example above, you can see that the FQDN I configured is myApps.myCompany.com, and the Load Balancer FQDN is: vmw-hcs-34405635-uag.eastus.cloudapp.azure.com.
myApps.myCompany.com is a domain name that you own, and you need to configure it such that accessing it will automatically resolve to the load balancer. To do this, edit the DNS CName or add an A record that maps the load balancer to the FQDN. If you need to identify the IP Address of the load balancer then you can ping it to find that out.
Once DNS is configured, end users can use the myApps.myCompany.com value in the Horizon Client.
In this example, I am using the Mac OSx client.
Click to add a new server, enter myApps.myCompany.com and click Connect.
(Note that in my test below, I don’t own myApps.myCompany.com, so I don’t have a trusted certificate available for this domain, hence it shows up as untrusted.)
Next, authenticate as the end user. This will use your AD credentials, and optionally, 2Factor Authentication codes if previously configured.
Once you successfully authenticate you will see the applications and desktops to which you are entitled:
Click on any one (or more) of these to launch the session. Any applications launched will appear as ‘seamless windows’ and their tray icon will show up in the taskbar as if the application was running locally. For example, here are the Calculator and Paint applications launched on my Macbook. You can see the Windows native apps running, along with their icons shown in the dock.
Once you have a connected desktop or application session, then all of the usual RDS or VDI features you have come to expect from the end user experience are supported: Audio, USB, Webcams, Skype for Business, Scanners, Client Drive Redirection to name but a few.
By default, Horizon Cloud Service on Azure supports Blast, which supports the BEAT technology allowing usage in variable bandwidth scenarios and also in lossy environments. Alternatively, PCoIP can be used.
For those of you on the move, browser-based access is perfect when you need to access an app or desktop from a browser (e.g. at an internet café at the airport). This does not require any software installation or special browser plugin support and is supported on all major browsers. It does, however, require the use of Internet-Enabled Desktops, as the Unified Access Gateway provides the desktop certificate endpoints.
To access this, point your browser at the FQDN value as identified above, and log in.
Select the desktop or apps that you want to connect to.
Launching the apps or desktops will present the apps inside the browser window. Note however that you can still have multiple apps open concurrently.
And that’s it! Simple!
In this blog, I have walked you through how to get your end users accessing the system in Microsoft Azure to use their Applications and Desktops with native, mobile or browser-based clients.
If you have any questions and comments, do please visit our community site, as we’d love to hear from you.