RemoteApp for Hyper-V - Microsoft's single-user app solution

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In reality, RemoteApp for Hyper-V is more than just a workaround for underpowered Windows 7 endpoints that can't run multiple OS's.

In the twixt-holiday lull last month, Microsoft threw up a blog post about a feature in Windows Server 2008 R2 called RemoteApp for Hyper-V.  The blog post positioned the feature as an alternative to XP Mode on machines that aren't powerful enough to run both Windows 7 and an instance of XP at the same time.

In reality, RemoteApp for Hyper-V is more than just a workaround for underpowered Windows 7 endpoints that can't run multiple OS's. It's a single-instance application solution that allows you to publish applications running on remote desktop operating systems (XP Pro with SP3, Vista Enterprise and up, Windows 7 and up). Quest's vWorkspace has been doing this for a few years, and late last year, Citrix included a similar feature, dubbed VM Hosted Apps, into XenApp 5 Feature Pack 2.

The interesting bits don't stop there, though. While the name might imply that this feature is specifically for Hyper-V, it looks as if it has no ties to the hypervisor in particular, and can be run on any hypervisor (or even directly on a PC), as outlined in a blog post by Aaron Parker. The post goes on to note that, while RemoteApp for Hyper-V is pitched as a Windows 7 endpoint solution, XP and Vista can also access the single-instance applications as long as they have the RDP 7 client.

Obviously, this feature is intended to be used with Hyper-V in conjunction with Remote Desktop Services, since you would then be able to take advantage of Remote Desktop Connection Broker to load balance and maintain sessions. But, what if you already have a VDI solution (or, more specifically, a connection broker) in place and still want to take advantage of RemoteApp for Hyper-V on your traditional desktops? It would seem that anyone with a hypervisor and a connection broker could put together a solution barring some sort of licensing issue.  After reading the post from Microsoft, though, it looks like you'd be allowed to do it as long as you use the SKUs listed.

So what does this mean in the big picture? Probably not a lot, considering that Quest and Citrix can do it already.  I suppose it can keep people using RDS instead of switching to XenApp or vWorkspace, but there's not really much of a reason for Microsoft to do that, since they get licensing dollars either way. I think the biggest takeaway is that the we've got one more feature that's level across the playing field. Now that all three big SBC vendors have single-instance apps, the focus can shift to something else.

What do you think? Will your organization use this to further their adoption of Windows 7 on the desktop, as the original post from Microsoft is aimed? Will it be useful to you as RDS users, or is RemoteApp for Hyper-V just an easy change to create a new feature?



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My preferred order of operations for apps that won't work on Win7 are:

1) Put the app on 2003 TS and serve it up that way.

2) If 1 doesn't work, then put in on some form of local machine virtualizations ala XP Mode, MED-V or just plain old VMware / Virtual PC.

3) Put something up on a remoted VM platform.

The primary reason for choosing item 2 before item 3 is I *think* it let's you skirt VECD, but I'd love for some MS Licensing guru to clarify that for me.  Last time I read MS's EULA for desktop OSs (yeah the chick's dig that) there were implied rights for running a VM instance on the same physical hardware as the desktop without VECD.  However, when hosting an app on a hypervisor external to the physical PC that's where the VECD comes in.  I suppose VirtualBox doesn't necessarily imply off local hardware, but I suspect typical implementations of Hyper-V, ESX, Xen doing the same thing would imply VECD.



As Shawn mentioned the only issue that I continue to see with single user hosted apps on virtual machines is that from it still means VECD licensing from the last call that we had with our plethora of Microsoft licensing specialists.  Interesting enough during our last VECD discussion Microsoft indicated for client hypervisors that perform synchronization back from central golden images, they are going to be treated as VECD just like OS streaming is (sorry for the tangent but that shocked me and I’m waiting to get that back in writing).  So back to the original question I do hope this is the end of vendors developing these types of solutions and start moving on to the next problem to solve.  Since the recession Microsoft has (at least with us) seemed to be trying to position themselves as the 80/20 rule compared to their partners so they can help justify renewing EAs, Enterprise CAL suite, and other CAL bundles by going solely Microsoft (if you cut contracts with Citrix, McAfee, Symantec, Vmware, etc we can provide you all the functionality you’d need to survive).  I personally for a large scale environment would not want to support a massive environment of XP VMs for just hosting single apps.  I’d be much more inclined to go down the exact path that Shawn mentioned as far as order of preference.


Here's a re-enactment of the thought process that MS goes through in determining use cases for VECD:

Customer:  Hey MS, do I need VECD for this new fangled way of deploying desktop / app technology?

MS: Would it enable your business to cut your TCO and improve your ROI?

Customer:  Why yes, it would.

MS: Well with all that left over money, surely you can purchase VECD for them, so yes you need it.




Can anyone get the application publishing to work with XP/Vista/7 as per RDS blog article/comments?

I seem to get the "The remote computer does not support RemoteApp" like everyone else.


I wasn't actually aware about all the update information that I read on this article above, and it's fresh new that the RemoteApp for Hyper-V is a single-instance application solution that allows you to publish applications running on remote desktop operating systems. In short, it was definitely worth it to read it, good job.


I am unsure how to allow the Remote Desktop Connect Manager to broken the connections to the RemoteApps. If the guest VM is specified in the RDP file then won’t this be like a standalone scenario?


This information give us a solution for our application. And I think we have to make changes in it.