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Legacy Apps in the Cloud : Part 3 – Small Business IT Solutions Series

In the following article I’m going to talk to you about the solution that we use for legacy apps in the cloud, this isn’t an in-depth technical how to.

When you talk to people about moving businesses to the cloud, one thing keeps coming up. Legacy applications / Line of Business applications. Too many businesses are being held back from the benefits the cloud can offer as they feel they need to keep on-premise servers available to run legacy applications, this train of thought then leads them to thinking well if we need to keep servers on-premise then we might as well keep everything on-premise. This argument can be a massive sticking point when it comes to modernising IT infrastructure.

I find it helps to think as though we are acting on a live customer problem

Scenario
Existing Setup:
– Small / Medium Business (50 – 100 users)
– Currently use Office 365
– Still have on premise servers for AD, Legacy App & SQL Server for that app.
– Multiple Office and Remote Workers.

Goal:
– Not be reliant on on-premise kit for any key aspects of business operations
– Remote working to be exactly the same as in the office.

 

A typical plan we would use to tackle this kind of setup would involve using Azure AD / Intune to replace on premise AD and then SharePoint / OneDrive to replace any file server needs, however this Legacy App and SQL Server potentially presents a problem. So what do we do with it? RemoteApp.

The core technology we are going to use to solve our legacy app problem is RemoteApp, if you don’t already know about RemoteApp or haven’t used  it before here’s a quick summary

RemoteApp from Microsoft is a helpful tool that makes the programs running on the remote client devices appear as though they are running locally. RemoteApp programs are integrated with the end user’s desktop or mobile device instead of being a part of the RD Session Host server.

It’s basically part of Remote Desktop Services, you install the legacy app on a Remote Desktop Session Host server,  users then use a kind of remote desktop connection to connect directly to the app and then use it as if it’s part of their local system rather through an RDP window. Now of course RemoteApp doesn’t solve our problem directly but it gives us a tool to solve it, we need a platform to install our tool on and as on-premise  servers are not an option we look to the cloud, specifically Azure.

So what do we need to get this all working.

Azure Shopping List
– Remote Desktop Session Host Virtual Machine
– Remote Desktop user cals for each user
– Azure SQL Database
– Public SSL Certificate for our Session Host.

The rough setup plan then goes as follows

  1. Setup VM in Azure
  2. Join VM to Azure AD
  3. Install all Remote Desktop roles in this server (feel free to split them up if supporting lots of users)
  4. Setup Azure SQL Database
  5. Install Legacy App
  6. Connect to Azure SQL DB
  7. Public RemoteApp though Remote Desktop Services
  8. Distribute RemoteApp shortcut through Intune
  9. Users then open Legacy App as usual.

 

I hope this article as helped you see how you could run legacy apps from the cloud, if you need any help with the technical implementation of this or have any questions drop me an email – [email protected]

 

 

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