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If you’re like most organizations, you probably have a long inventory of Windows apps you’ve written over many years that your employees use every day.  What is the easiest way for you to deliver these Windows apps to your users for use on all their devices?

In the past, organizations have built out RDS or Citrix server farms to deliver Windows applications – and many will continue to do this.  However, one thing we have heard many times is that organizations want application remoting solutions – without the up-front CAPEX spend and without having to build for the “peak” usage capacity.

This is exactly what we have been working on delivering:  The capabilities of RDS – but as an Azure service.

To do this we have completely re-written RDS to run as a pure cloud service on the global platform of Microsoft Azure.  Now you can take advantage of the global availability of Azure to deliver all your Windows apps to all your users devices – Windows, iOS, Mac, and Android.  With this set up you only pay for the time/capacity that your users actually use, and you don’t have the up-front CAPEX expenditures (as explained in this video).

Today we are announcing that Azure RemoteApp is exiting preview status and is now Generally Available – fully supported and available globally.  If you want to learn more about Azure RemoteApp I would encourage you to check out the deep dive session on this from TechEd Europe.

New features in Azure RemoteApp from the initial trial include:

  • Global availability
  • Full-featured 30-day free trial
  • Support for Office 365 ProPlus
  • New performance and scale options
  • Usage metrics and pricing
  • Supported Clients include Windows Phone 8.1

To learn about each of these in great detail, check out this post from the Remote Desktop Services team.

Let me provide a little additional context on what we have delivered and how it is different from other hosted remoting solutions on the market:

As we have worked with the 1,000’s of organizations that took advantage of preview, we learned that the primary use case of how Azure RemoteApp will be used is in delivering Windows apps to the entire collection of devices users are now relying upon to accomplish work.  Notice that the focus is on delivering apps and not delivering the desktop.  VMware and AWS recently released solutions that focus on delivering the desktop (at a very, very high price).  We learned during the preview that the user of cloud-hosted solutions is focused on the apps and is going to closely mirror the use of remoting solutions on-premises (where more than 80% of the use is delivering apps).  Think about it for a minute:  On an iPad or Android device, what users want to see is the apps they want to use. Delivering a Windows start screen and the entire desktop is not going to be a primary use case.

And this decision has a pretty significant impact on the pricing.

Azure RemoteApp has two different packaging options.  One option at $10/user/month and another at $15/user/month.  By the time you get the discounts you usually get from Microsoft, many of you will be paying ~$7/user/month for this amazing solution.

Think about that: You can upload your Windows apps and make them globally available to all your users on all of their devices at a very low price.  In comparison, VMWare and AWS have pricing options that start at $25 and go well above $50/user/month.

This kind of functionality is not only backed by Azure’s SLA (and supported by Microsoft Support, offering the full scalability and security of the Azure cloud), but it will also be a focus of continuous improvement as we listen to your feedback and continue innovating based on your needs.  These are really important points to call out.  We back all our service offerings with a financially backed SLA.  If we do not meet our SLA we do not expect you to pay us.  VMware and AWS are not willing to offer this level of guaranteed SLA.  This fact really begs the question of whether or not they understand the needs of the Enterprise and the level of service you require.

And because we have implemented this as a modern cloud service we will be continually updating the capabilities.

The post on the Remote Desktop Services blog noted above has a perspective on the value of Azure RemoteApp that I think is pretty insightful for the IT Pros that will be using it, and the CIO’s who need to see the concrete results:

Using Azure RemoteApp, you can deploy your critical business applications in the cloud; manage them through Azure’s convenient interface; and provide your users an intuitive, high-fidelity, WAN-ready user experience. We are ready to host your Windows applications in production: Deploy them in 13 Azure regions globally and turn them into a finished, turn-key, cloud service accessible to users on any device, anywhere in the world.

Getting started with Azure RemoteApp is just about as easy as it gets:  To begin, sign in to your Azure management portal and in a matter of minutes (literally!) you can deploy your first RemoteApp collection to users.  For those of you without an Azure subscription, click here for a free one.

To learn more about Azure RemoteApp before getting started, take a look at our 5-minute hands-on demo. To see how the Internet Explorer team has used Azure RemoteApp, see RemoteIE app.

One final thing:  I also want to announce that, as of this morning, we have now crossed the 10M download milestone for our Mac, iOS and Android RDS Clients/Apps.  This is an amazing milestone!  Thank you for all the feedback and the incredible positive feedback and ratings in the various app stores.  This massive amount of usage has enabled us to continually improve these clients and you can use them in your enterprise confident in the quality and reliability.

This is great technology, built by great people, for great businesses.

 

You can hear even more the topics in this post in today’s new episode of The Endpoint Zone: