WVD for Linux Access

WVD is magical, and provides secure access to all sorts of things that haven’t been considered – it’s a super disruptive technology that is being used by government (and non-government) in crazy new ways.

I was talking to a customer last week and he let out an audible sigh when I said that WVD didn’t manage Linux VMs, as his users really want that.

The thing is – WVD TOTALLY WORKS WITH LINUX!

Sure, the VMs that are provisioned in host pools are Windows (for now), but you can totally access Linux hosts through WVD – taking advantage of Azure Active Directory / MFA / Conditional Access via a number of ways… here’s one great way to do just that.

I can (for example) quickly publish a Linux desktop via WVD – like this:

WVD Publishing a Linux Destktop!

What happens when a user in my environment clicks on that?
They get a full Ubuntu desktop presented via RDP!:

Ubuntu Desktop – Running in Azure Government with cool stuff like FreeCAD!

So How did I do that? There was nothing unnatural needed, I simply deployed a Linux VM (Ubuntu in this case) and installed Xrdp (I’ve done the same thing with CentOS – super easy either way – you can “Bing” the instructions… or use another search engine and make me and bunny cry).

Any whooo… once your VM is provisioned in Azure with Xrdp, you should be able to publish it by creating a Remote App entry as part of an App Group in Azure.. like the one I used below (from the Azure Gov portal – publishing a RemoteApp:

What I did here was publish the RDP client (MSTSC) as an app from a Windows VM in WVD, but pointed it to the Ubuntu VM with Xrdp running!

There were a few little things I needed to tweak:

  1. I downloaded an Icon for Ubuntu and saved it locally on the Windows VM running MSTSC
  2. I created local .RDP file on that host as well (you could just specify the IP / host name as a parameter instead)
  3. There was funky error I encountered going to Xrdp and not to Windows hosts…

I’m not sure why this was the case, but granting local admin on the host to the RDPing user fixed the issue.

THIS IS SO COOL IF YOU WANT SECURE ACCESS TO LINUX VMs (or Windows VMs, or really anything) , AND HAVE AZURE ACTIVE DIRECTORY!