Windows Virtual Desktop as trusted location for Conditional Access

When using Windows Virtual Desktop the public IP of which you are NATed to the internet changes consistently. In some cases you would want to have the traffic origination the WVD hosts to use the same public IP adress. So that it can be whitelisted to use some external service, or so that it can be used as a trusted location for Conditional Access. This way users can connect to Windows Virtual Desktop and be prompted for MFA, but once they are signed in, in a managed environment they aren’t prompted for MFA again.

Traditionally you could accomplish this setup by using an Azure Load Balancer. I didn’t find this very easy to implement, luckily Microsoft introduced a new service called Virtual NAT Gateway which make this a lot easier to implement. By using a Virtual NAT Gateway you can NAT your outbound connections through one, or more Public IP addresses. This way all the VM’s within a certain subnet of your virtual network will use a dedicated public IP to make outbound connections.

Please note that the Virtual NAT Gateway is still in preview, so I wouldn’t recommend using this in production environments.

To get started you will need a Virtual Network with some subnets, with a Virtual Machine deployed in that Virtual Network.

To create a NAT gateway, you select create resource and look for NAT Gateway.

Select your subscription, resource group and give the NAT Gateway a name and continue to the next step.

Here you can create or select a public IP address, if you need more one PIP you can also choose to create a whole range of PIPs. Notice that the SKU and assignment are Standard and Static, this means that the PIP you select won’t change over time.

Select a virtual network with the subnet(s) you want to associate the NAT Gateway, add tags and Create the NAT Gateway.

After the deployment is ready you can verify your settings by logging into the VM and checking your public IP on a website like https://www.myip.com/

You could then add this IP as a trusted location to use with Conditional Access so users wont have to two-factor authenticate within a WVD session.

Deploy MSIX with Intune

I think we can all agree that application deployment is probably the most challenging part of an Intune implementation. The wide variety of Line of Business applications and different installation types can give you sleepless nights. It’s true that Microsoft has made some real improvements in application deployment with the support for most applications extensions. But there are always some applications that simply can’t be deployed with Intune or are very hard to deploy and manage.

With the introduction of MSIX I dare to say that you can now practically deploy any application successfully with Intune. In this blog I describe how you can create and deploy an MSIX package with Microsoft Intune.  In this blog I will cover:

  • Create a Self-Signed Certificate (testing purposes)
  • Deploy a certificate with Intune
  • Create a MSIX package
  • Deploy the MSIX package

Please note that in order to install MSIX packages you must enable Application Sideloading.

Create a self-signed certificate

Before you can deploy a MSIX package you need a certificate to sign your package. The signing of a package is a required step in the creation of the package. This is necessary because this is the only way you can assure that package is valid and came from a trusted provider. Preferably you should use a Code Signing certificate from a 3rd party provider. For now I use a self-signed certificate so that the deployment can be tested, but for you production environment I wouldn’t recommend this.

To create a self-signed certificate, you can start PowerShell as an administrator from any VM. Enter the following cmd, where you replace <Your Organisation> with a name of your choosing:

New-SelfSignedCertificate -CertStoreLocation Cert:\CurrentUser\My -Subject “CN=<Your Organisation>” -KeyAlgorithm RSA -KeyLength 2048 -Provider “Microsoft Enhanced RSA and AES Cryptographic Provider” -KeyExportPolicy Exportable -KeyUsage DigitalSignature -Type CodeSigningCert
Self_Signed-Certificate

To Export the certificate open certmgr, your certificate is located in the Personal Certificates folder. Select the certificate –> all Tasks –> Export. Choose Next –> Yes, Export the private Key –> Choose Next –> For Encryption choose AES265 and enter a Password –> Enter a save location –> and choose Finish. You now have the certificate with a pfx extension.

Export Certificate

We also need a certificate with the cer extension, so run the export Wizard again. Select the certificate –> all Tasks –> Export. Choose Next –> No, do not export the private key –> Choose Next –>   Enter a save location –> and choose Finish.

You now have the certificate to sign your MSIX package and you have a certificate to distribute it via Intune.

Deploy Certificate Using Intune

Before you can install the MSIX package on any machine the certificate to sign the application must be trusted by the machine. Otherwise the application wont start. To install the certificate on the machine we can use Intune to distribute the certificate.

From the Intune Management Portal go to –> Device Configuration –> Profiles and choose Create Profile. Here you enter the name and description of the Profile. For the platform you choose Windows 10 and later, for Profile type select Trusted certificate. In the new blade you select the .cer certificate that you exported. After you created the Profile you than assign the profile to a group with has a test device in it.

Certificate_Intune

Create a MSIX Package

For this blog I wanted to package an application that I had some trouble with in the past, the Citrix Receiver.

I have copied the Citrix Receiver installation file and the pfx certificate to the packaging VM and have launched the MSIX Packaging Tool. Here I want to create a new package, so I select ‘Application Package’.

MSIX_New_Package

Select Create package on this computer and choose Next.  The packaging tool will now check some prerequisites and make sure that the drivers are installed.

MSIX_Prereqs

In the next screen select the installation file. For now, I leave the installer arguments empty. For Signing preference, I select Sign with a certificate. This step is important. If you don’t select a certificate the application won’t be able to install.

MSIX_certificate

Now provide some information for you package. Give your package a Name and a Display name. The Publisher name is provided from the certificate. The display name must be the same as the certificate, if these values don’t match the application won’t install. The installation location is not a mandatory field but is recommended.

MSIX_Information

By clicking next you will now enter the installation stage. The installation of your application will now start.  You can just run through the installation as you normally would. When the installation is completed you can continue by clicking Next.

MSIX_Citrix_Installation

If the application requires any first launch tasks, they can now be performed otherwise press Next and continue Yes, move on. The package will now be created.

MSIX_Capturing

Finally provide a save location for the package and choose Create.

MSIX_Save_Package

Deploy MSIX with Intune

Now that the MSIX package is ready we can start deploying it with Intune. Simply go to the Intune management portal –> Client apps –> Add App. Here you select Line-of-business app. Here you can upload the MSIX package you created.

MSIX_Intune

When you click the app information blade you can see that most of the information is already filled out with the information from the MSIX package. After adding the app, just wait till the application is uploaded. The final step is to assign the application to a group.

After some time check your test machine to confirm that the application is deployed.

MSIX_Installation_Conformation

Recap

As you can see the packaging and distribution of an application with MSIX and Intune is really easy. But it doesn’t stop here, after you deployed one version of the application you might want to provide the application with an update. With MSIX this process is even easier. So in my next blog I will show you can can upgrade the Citrix Receiver application to the new Citrix Workspace application!

Windows Virtual Desktop Management Tools

Windows Virtual Desktop is probably one of the most anticipated new products of Microsoft. If you haven’t heard from it, I would suggest that you start catching up ;). With the announcement of Scott Manchester GA (General Availability) just became a little bit closer.

There are plenty of blogs about how to set up a WVD tenant and sessions hosts, so I don’ want to go into detail on how to set it up. But if you have set up a WVD tenant you must have noted the lack of management tools. Or actually the absents of management tools, you can’t even find WVD in the Azure portal. Everything is managed with PowerShell, which can be a bit challenging. Microsoft did provide some management options for you but you will have to deploy them manually. They also require you to have an App service plan, which of course will cost you money, but you won’t have to use PowerShell for you management. Nevertheless I hope Microsoft will include these managements functionalities in the Azure Portal, but for now this is your best option.

WVD Management UX

The first management tool I would like to share is the WVD Management UX. The Managment UX helps you to preform basic management tasks. In here you can:

  • Create a New Host Pool
  • Add New Hosts to a Host Pool
  • Allow or block new connections to a host.(If you would like to drain the server for maintenance)
  • Create App groups. You can create App groups for Desktops or you can create App groups for RemoteApp
  • Assign permissions to App groups

Even though this may seem somewhat limited there are some extra functions you can use. However, these basic management tasks will help you a lot in doing day to day management for WVD.

WVD Management UX

If you want to use the WVD Management UX you can deploy it via the Github repository from Microsoft. The deployment will create an App service plan S1-Standard which will cost you around 70 euro/dollar each month.

WVD Diagnostics Tool

The second tool Microsoft has provided is the Diagnostics tool and it has just been released. With the introduction of WVD Microsoft also introduced some new RDS roles. We all know the Connections broker, Gateway, Session Hosts and we all know it was very hard to troubleshoot failing connections. Therefore Microsoft introduced the new Diagnotics role, which is also fully managed by Microsoft.

New Diagnostics role in WVD

Starting with the preview it was only possible to view the diagnostics using PowerShell, luckily Microsoft has made an App so you can troubleshoot using your browser. With the new Diagnostics app you can do the following:

  • Look up diagnostic activities (management, connection, or feed) for a single user over a period of one week.
  • Gather session host information for connection activities from your Log Analytics workspace.
  • Review virtual machine (VM) performance details for a particular host.
  • See which users are signed in to the session host.
  • Send message to active users on a specific session host.
  • Sign users out of a session host.

Unfortunately these functions aren’t available in the Management UX, you’ll have to deploy another application with an new app service plan. Which will cost you 70 euro/dollar extra each month, plus the additional storage for the log files. The deployment is pretty straightforward, Microsoft will guide you through the steps.

Example of diagnostics logging
Example of VM diagnostics
Here you can log off users and send them messages.