Microsoft RemoteApp + Unidesk: Scalable Session-Based Desktops in Your Datacenter

Microsoft RemoteApp + Unidesk: Scalable Session-Based Desktops in Your Datacenter

comparisonchart Best value in remote desktop sessions (RDSH / Windows terminal servers)

comparisonchart1 Enterprise-ready hypervisor, connection broker, protocol, and management

comparisonchart3 Microsoft-approved to leverage Windows Server and certified Azure-ready

comparisonchart4 Unidesk application layering innovation for simplicity, flexibility, and scalability

Microsoft REmoteApp + Unidesk diagram

Microsoft has chosen Unidesk as its application delivery and image management partner for Microsoft VDI and RemoteApp on-premises and Azure RemoteApp in the cloud. Unidesk layering innovation extends the Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V platforms to overcome the management challenges that face every shared session project:

Sessions That Cost 50% Less Than the Alternatives.

Session-Based Desktop Software License Cost per User

Why would you want to pay twice as much to publish Windows desktops and apps, when you could be leveraging in-the-box Windows Server technology you may already own? Microsoft RemoteApp and Unidesk cut software licensing costs in half, making session-based desktops and applications more affordable.

Microsoft RemoteApp + Unidesk vs. Citrix and vs. Vmware

Technically On Par with the Competition?
Actually, Better.

With new features like data deduplication and dynamic memory, Hyper-V and RDP with RemoteFX have matured, and are now enterprise-ready. Add in Unidesk, and Microsoft RemoteApp has moved ahead of the competition.

  Microsoft RemoteApp + Unidesk on Hyper-V VMware Horizon Citrix XenApp
High-performance protocol Microsoft RDP with RemoteFX PCoIP HDX
BYOD & support for any client Microsoft RD clients VMware Horizon View clients Citrix Receiver clients
Enterprise-class hypervisor Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V VMware vSphere Citrix XenServer
Session Host provisioning Unidesk VMware View Composer Citrix Provisioning Services (PVS)
Application virtualization Microsoft App-V VMware ThinApp Citrix XenApp
Application layering Unidesk VMware App Volumes -
Windows OS layering Unidesk - -
Profile management Microsoft UE-V VMware View Persona, VMware UEM Citrix User Profile Management
Scalable collection management Unidesk VMware Horizon RDSH Manager Citrix XenApp
Azure RemoteApp layering Unidesk - -
Personalization layering Unidesk - Citrix Personal vDisk
Ebook: 7 Reasons why Microsoft VDI is ready for takeoff

Many think that RDS and Hyper-V are behind Citrix and VMware when it comes to VDI. Here are 7 technical reasons why Microsoft VDI has caught up to or surpassed the competition, with help from ISV partners like Unidesk. Get the Ebook.

Microsite 2015 Shared - Microsoft Approved (RDSH/VDI)

Microsoft Approved.

Unidesk is Microsoft’s partner for bringing application mobility to Windows customers. By extending the native capabilities of Windows Server 2012 R2 and Azure, we make Microsoft VDI more scalable, easier to manage, and suitable for all use cases.

Microsoft Partnerships

Learn more about the Microsoft and Unidesk partnership in our blog Unidesk 3.0 Brings Simplicity and Scalability to Microsoft VDI, Microsoft Ignite announcement, and our technology partner and solution partner feedback.


"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

On-Demand Webinar: VDI is cheaper than PCs?

Join Microsoft Technical Product Manager for Desktop Virtualization Thomas Willingham and Unidesk VP Marketing Tom Rose for the webinar "Scalable VDI for Less Than PCs with Hyper-V, RDS, and Unidesk" presented by Redmond Magazine. Watch Webinar Now On-Demand.

Designed for Windows Server.

Need the technical details? Here’s how Unidesk leverages the full Windows Server feature set to maximize your ROI and reduce costs:

  • RD Connection Broker
    The Remote Desktop (RD) Connection Broker (RDCB) enables users to connect to Unidesk-provisioned session hosts from any device, and provides load balancing to divide loads between multiple servers in your on-premises RemoteApp farm.
  • RDS Collections
    Remote Desktop Services (RDS) Collections enable groups of session hosts to be managed together. Unidesk scales RDS to thousands of users by enabling the same Windows OS and app layers to be used by all collections for patch-once efficiency, and by replacing PowerShell scripting and manual collection operations with simple, GUI-based management.
  • RDP with RemoteFX
    Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) with RemoteFX provides secure, high performance access to Unidesk-provisioned desktop sessions. Starting with Windows 8.1, RDP includes WAN optimizations and adaptive encoding features that greatly enhance the performance of graphics-intensive apps and high-definition video.
  • Hyper-V
    Hyper-V hosts the Unidesk Management Console and Unidesk CachePoint virtual appliances, as well as session hosts provisioned by Unidesk.
  • Hyper-V VHD
    Hyper-V’s Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) format is used to store Unidesk Windows OS, application, and personalization layers as their own virtual disks. Using this standard format makes layers easier to replicate, move, and recover.
  • Hyper-V Data Deduplication
    Hyper-V now offers built-in data deduplication that radically reduces space requirements for Microsoft VDI desktops and Microsoft RemoteApp session hosts created by Unidesk.
  • Hyper-V Dynamic Memory
    The Dynamic Memory feature helps attain higher VM consolidation numbers and improved reliability for restart operations. This can lead to lower costs, especially in pooled VDI environments that have idle or low-load virtual machines.

Unidesk Capabilities for Microsoft RemoteApp

OS Layering

Patch Windows once for your entire RemoteApp environment.

  • Capture Windows Server 2012 R2 as a read-only virtual disk (VHDX) “layer” that can be mounted and shared by many VMs.
  • Audit patches with version management.
  • Rollback layers to earlier versions to "undo" patching mistakes.
  • Reduce space needs up to 80% by storing OS layers once per datastore instead of once per VM.
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 all session hosts without installing.

  • Capture any app as a read-only virtual disk (VHDX) layer that can be mounted and shared by many VMs.
  • Achieve full interoperability - layered apps appear locally installed, not isolated like traditional app virtualization.
  • Reduce space needs up to 80% by storing apps once per datastore instead of once per VM.
  • Apply and audit layer updates with version management.
  • Rollback layers to earlier versions to “undo” patches.

Scalable Collection Management

Replace PowerShell scripting with one powerful, easy-to-use GUI

  • Create and modify RDS collections through point and click.
  • Search for desktops and session hosts by collection, user, applications, or Active Directory attributes.
  • Manage thousands of personal and pooled desktops and session hosts from the same interface.
  • Patch Windows and update applications once to update entire collections.
  • Train anyone to use one simple, intuitive GUI instead of writing PowerShell.

Session Host Provisioning

Create custom session hosts from shared OS and App layers.

  • Assign a "golden" Windows OS layer that will be used by all session hosts.
  • Assign application layers in any order or combination – apps will appear locally installed.
  • Configure physical VM settings (memory, CPU, VLAN, etc.).
  • Assign preset combinations of OS and Application layers and VM settings.

Lifecycle Management

Simplify day-to-day RemoteApp operations.

  • Filter session hosts by RDS collection, user, or Active Directory attribute.
  • Patch Windows or update apps for all session hosts in a collection with one operation.
  • Repair broken applications to original IT specifications.
  • Audit application assignments for license control.

Storage Optimization

Increase VM density to maximize your storage investment.

  • Provision personal/private (persistent) desktops, pooled/shared (non-persistent) desktops, and session hosts on a tiny storage footprint. OS and application layers are stored once per datastore and shared by many VMs to reduce space needs up to 80%.
  • Use any storage supported by Hyper-V, including traditional SAN arrays, hybrid arrays, and all-flash storage.
  • Thin provision virtual disk layers to further reduce actual space usage.