Azure + Unidesk: Fast, Flexible Deployment and Management of Apps in the Cloud

Azure + Unidesk: Fast, Flexible Deployment and Management of Apps in the Cloud

Simple Windows app deployment, upgrade, patching, and retirement.

Microsoft-approved and Azure-certified application management.

Use same app layers in hybrid VDI or Citrix XenApp environments.

Best-in-class application layering and image management capabilities.

Unidesk is Microsoft's application packaging and image management partner for virtual desktops (VDI) and shared desktops (RDSH) hosted on Hyper-V, as well as RDSH desktops hosted in Azure. Package any Windows desktop application as a virtual disk "layer"in minutes with an ordinary install. Then combine app layers with a Windows Server OS layer to create Layered Images that are automatically published to Azure. IT can manage the entire lifecycle of apps from deployment to patching to retirement just by managing app layers once. End users access the layered apps running in Azure through any computing device the same as if they were locally installed.

Ebook: 3 customers using Microsoft VDI and Azure

On-premises desktop virtualization and cloud-hosted applications can reduce costs, simplify IT management, and improve the end-user computing experience. This Ebook shares 3 examples of how Microsoft VDI, Azure, and Unidesk are providing low-cost remote desktop and app delivery through flexible hybrid cloud architectures.

Azure Application Lifecycle Management

Unidesk makes it easy to deliver different applications from Azure without the cost and complexity of managing multiple images or repetitive software installations. Package each of your apps as virtual disk "layers" with one normal installation. Create Layered Images by selecting the OS layer and any set of app layers. Upload and assign Layered Images to different Azure collections to entitle apps or full desktops to users. Update all collections by patching the OS and app layers only once.

Package Windows Server as an OS layer (virtual disk container).
Package all Windows applications as modular app layers
Create Layered Images for upload to Azure using the OS layer and any set of App layers
Patch Windows Server OS layer once to update all Azure collections and templates
Patch applications once to update all Azure collections and templates
Add new apps to Azure collections without installation simply by assigning app layers
Undo problematic OS and application patches quickly with built-in versioning
Revoke apps by un-assigning app layers and automatically re-creating Layered Images
Automate Windows Server role and service configuration and Sysprep steps
Host Unidesk virtual appliances in Azure Marketplace to eliminate need for internal infrastructure

Microsoft Approved.

Microsoft is partnering with Unidesk to bring application mobility to Windows customers. Microsoft recommends Unidesk as the best way to manage Windows applications for on-premises VDI and RDSH deployments on Hyper-V and for remote apps hosted in the Azure cloud.

Microsoft Partnerships

"Unidesk’s innovative layering technology for Microsoft VDI and Azure takes the delivery and management of remote desktops and apps to a new level. We are excited to welcome Unidesk to our partner ecosystem as they bring great new capabilities to businesses of all sizes."

Andrew Conway
Senior Director, Microsoft Enterprise Mobility

Certified Azure Ready

Unidesk is the only application management solution certified as Azure-Ready and available in the Azure Marketplace. Unidesk integrates with or leverages the following Azure components:

  • Azure RDSH
    Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH) server virtual machines can be provisioned using Unidesk Layered Images. Different RDSH collections can be configured with the same Windows Server OS layer and different combinations of App layers to meet users’ unique application needs.
  • RD Clients
    Microsoft Remote Desktop clients enable users to connect to Azure remote applications that have been layered by Unidesk from any device.
  • RDP
    Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) provides secure, high performance access to Azure remote applications.
  • Azure Hosting
    Unidesk virtual appliances are themselves hosted in Azure, eliminating the need for any infrastructure on-premises.
  • VHD
    Microsoft Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) format is used to store Unidesk Windows OS and application layers as their own virtual disks. Using this industry-standard format makes layers easier to replicate, move, and recover.
  • Active Directory
    Azure AD can be integrated with an existing Windows Server AD, enabling administrators to leverage on-premises user and group membership for Azure application entitlements.
  • Azure Marketplace
    Azure Marketplace is the online store for thousands of certified, open source, and community software applications, developer services, and data, all pre-configured for Microsoft Azure. Unidesk is the only app management solution available for download from the Azure Marketplace.

Unidesk Capabilities for Microsoft Azure

OS Layering

Patch Windows once for all of your Azure session hosts.

  • Capture Windows Server 2012 R2 as a read-only virtual disk “layer” that can be mounted and shared by all Azure session hosts.
  • Patch the OS layer once to update all Azure collections.
  • Audit patches with version management.
  • Rollback layers to earlier versions to “undo” patching mistakes.
Infographic: How much does Patch Tuesday Image Sprawl cost your IT team?
This infographic shows how much it costs to keep your Windows environment up to date - and how much you can save by being more efficient. Get the infographic.

Application Layering

Deliver apps to Azure session hosts without installing.

  • Capture any app as a read-only virtual disk layer.
  • Ensure interoperability - layered apps appear locally installed, not isolated like traditional app virtualization.
  • Apply and audit layer updates with version management.
  • Rollback layers to earlier versions to “undo” patching mistakes.
Whitepaper: The Definitive Guide to Desktop Layering

Layered Images

Create custom Azure session hosts from the same OS and App layers.

  • Assign a "golden" Windows OS layer that will be used for all session hosts.
  • Assign any combination of application layers with the OS layer to create Layered Images.
  • Upload the Layered Images and assign to Azure collections for custom app delivery.
  • Patch layers once to update all Azure collections.

Patch, Repair, and Audit

Simplify day-to-day management of Azure-hosted desktops and apps.

  • Patch Windows or update apps for all session hosts in a collection with one operation.
  • Repair damaged applications to original IT specifications.
  • Audit application assignments for license control.

See Unidesk in Action

Watch our 10-minute on-demand demo with Unidesk Solution Architect Matt Allen

Watch a Demo