Q. Is there a simple way to create a new template to be used in Azure RemoteApp?
A. Azure RemoteApp enables a simple way to publish applications to many different types of devices (see http://windowsitpro.com/azure/azure-remoteapp-supported-devices). While a default template is provided to publish the Office suite of applications it is also possible to create your own template based on Windows Server 2012 R2 that contains the applications you wish to publish. This template is configured to match the requirements of Azure RemoteApp and then uploaded to Azure. This complete process is documented at http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/articles/remoteapp-create-custom-image/. While this process is not that complicated there is now an even easier way.
Microsoft now supports actually creating a new RemoteApp template image directly in Azure and have documented the process at http://blogs.msdn.com/b/rds/archive/2015/03/17/how-to-create-a-remoteapp-template-image-in-azure.aspx and http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/articles/remoteapp-image-on-azurevm/. The key steps are as follows:
- Create a new VM in Azure IaaS using the new Windows Server Remote Desktop Session Host template
- Once the VM is created configure the OS with the various applications you wish to publish and perform any required configurations
- Execute a special script that is on the desktop, ValidateRemoteAppImage
- Run SYSPREP to generalize the image and capture it as an image using the Capture action in the portal
- Within the RemoteApp area of the Azure portal select the Template Images tab and select the Import option to make the template a RemoteApp template
This really boils down to creating a VM in Azure, installing your applications, running a script to prepare it for use with RemoteApp and then capturing. Its a very simple process and all without using any on-premises infrastructure nor requiring large file uploads to Azure.