Building a Windows 365 Custom Image

Building and Deploying Horizon Apps with App Volumes on Horizon Cloud Next-Gen

Building and Deploying Horizon Apps with App Volumes on Horizon Cloud Next-Gen

Microsoft Azure, VMware Horizon, WS1 Access

At VMware Explore last year, VMware announced their Horizon Cloud Next-Gen platform. With Horizon Cloud Next-Gen finally arriving, many of us are starting to look at it with the huge reductions in costs and need to deliver more progressive and exciting experiences. This is part one of a three part series covering Next-Gen, where we focus on App Volumes. This is the sequel of my old Horizon Cloud series when it was in its early days around 2020. We chose to start here because the documentation is really lacking and people need to grasp how to. make it work. We’ll start with some crucial pre-reqs, the two ways you can import Apps in, and demos of the classic and the new Apps on Demand. (One small update is that this doesn’t appear to be in Horizon Cloud Next-Gen so we will revisit later and update accordingly.)

The Building Blocks for Horizon Cloud Next-Gen App Volumes

We’re going to hit on some of the basics you need to master to build your applications on App Volumes. Obviously, you’ve already built your Horizon Edge, but beyond that let’s cover the items you’ll need to do and cover some of them a bit deeper:

  • A published single-session image
  • Properly setup identity and domain services
  • Software, configurations, scripts, etc. that you will be installing

Let’s take a few minutes to cover a short demo on how you can create a basic single session image. Obviously, you will want to build your gold image and base your App Capture machine off of it, but we will leverage the Azure Gallery. Check out the demo next!

Creating and Publishing the Single-Session Image in VMware Horizon Cloud Next-Gen

Obviously, most people will be using their gold image here, but for the sake for time we used a gallery image. The nice thing is with Horizon Cloud Next-Gen it is really easy to create your gold image as referenced here.

How Users and Groups are Surfaced in Horizon Cloud Next-Gen

The confusing thing inside of Horizon Cloud Next-Gen is how exactly do we sync/access these items. I mean honestly it’s not obvious.

Is it the app registration? Maybe its the domain setup/configuration? Is it something else? Could it just be magic?

Miraculously, its this area that is the lifeblood of users and groups:

Can we really blame you for being confused? What in this area would make you think this is what lets you grant entitlements? The answer is absolutely nothing. Here’s a few fun facts:

Once you do that, your users and groups will be surfaced inside of Horizon Cloud. This happens whether its from the global search or entitlements as you can see:

Software Staging for App Volumes

In general, I think putting your software in your storage account is a good idea. You can go into your Edge settings and see the staging path (if you decide to import existing packages:

I suggest creating your own storage accounts and file shares to put your software. You will need to grab it during the app capture process. If it helps, you can do some easy PowerShell to do this:

##Create Storage Account##
New-AzureRmStorageAccount -Name "synterex-apps" -ResourceGroupName "synterex" -Location "eastus2euap" -SkuName "Standard_LRS" -Kind StorageV2  -EnableAzureActiveDirectoryDomainServicesForFile $true -EnableLargeFileShare

##Create File Share##
New-AzRmStorageShare -ResourceGroupName "synterex" -StorageAccountName "synterex-apps" -Name "appvolumes" -QuotaGiB 100 -Metadata @{"VDI" = "HorizonCloud"}

##Grant Access to File Share##
Add-AzStorageAccountNetworkRule -ResourceGroupName "synterex" -Name "synterex-apps" -IPAddressOrRange "",""

Now, we will be ready to make the magic happen!

Multiple Paths to Importing Apps to Horizon Cloud Next-Gen

We have two ways that we can bring applications in. We will cover the two ways forward.

The migration path via AppVolumes imports is really easy. You will see in the Add > Import feature:

From here, we just pick the Site and the Edge and it will pickup your apps. Don’t forget to copy the VHDs and JSONs up to the share that I showed earlier!

Now, we will move onto our demo that shows how App Capture works in Horizon Cloud!

App Volumes App Capture in Horizon Cloud Next-Gen

Overall, I was a huge fan of the experience in building my apps. A small glitch as seen in my demo is it apparently spun up a second VM, but it did end up deleting that afterwards, but no big deal. As with all things in Azure, you need to keep a close eye on your real estate so you don’t spin out of control.

App Volumes User Experience Demo

I know this video was really short, but I WAS hoping to showcase Published Apps on Demand, but it doesn’t appear to be available on the cloud yet, but it fairness it only came out a few months ago. I am really excited about this and I’m sure my friends at Microsoft will be too as they should be using something very similar to this in the near future.

Final Thoughts

As we covered today, the App Volumes App Captures have come a long way especially in Horizon Cloud. Additionally, the new “Apps on Demand” is a nice advancement on the platform. You can definitely see why Microsoft wants App Volumes in Windows 365, which will be game-changing in Windows 365 along with some of their other new features coming soon. I hope people will get more excited about Horizon Cloud Next-Gen with documentation like I’ve shared today. Horizon Cloud makes VDI inclusive and opens up the potential to so many. VDI isn’t just for rocket scientists anymore!



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