Getting Started with MSIX App Attach

What is MSIX App Attach? 

MSIX App  Attach is Microsoft’s new model to deliver MSIX applications to both physical and virtual machines. It differs from regular MSIX because it is specially designed for Azure Virtual Desktop.  

In Azure Virtual Desktop, MSIX App Attach can create separation between user data, the operating system, and applications utilising MSIX containers, removing the requirement for repackaging when delivering applications dynamically. This reduces the overall time it takes for a user to log in and reduces the overall infrastructure requirements.  

What are the benefits of MSIX App Attach? 

This new delivery model can drive a variety of benefits for organisations looking to adopt Azure Virtual Desktop.  

  • No requirement for a deployment infrastructure. Traditional application delivery mechanisms, such as SCCM or APPV, require dedicated server infrastructure to deliver applications from. This can be complexcostly to manage or maintain, and requires high-skilled individuals to deliver. 
  • You can utilise existing MSIX packages if you have already gone through an application modernization to MSIX formats. So, you can reuse these application packages without any major changes to integrate.  
  • Performance impact. Leveraging MSIX AppAttach does not require any additional performance overheads, allowing your users to continue working in the most optimal manner.  
  • Architecture agnostic. MSIX AppAttach can be utilised on-premises, in Azure, or AWS. Allowing organisations to approach application delivery without architecture constraints.
  • Flexible access methods. MSIX AppAttach can support single session, dedicated VDI, and multi-session operating systems. This allows organisations to adopt the technology without concern for their current deployment architecture. 

Key features of MSIX AppAttach? 

The following table compares key feature of MSIX AppAttach and app layering: 

How do you deploy MSIX AppAttach? 

In order to set up and utilise MSIX AppAttach in the Azure Portal, you can follow 6 simple steps:

  1. Turn off automatic updates for MSIX AppAttach applications: Before integrating MSIX AppAttach into your WVD infrastructure. All MSIX applications require automatic updates disabled due to MSIX application package requirements.
  2. Configure MSIX AppAttach management interface: To enable MSIX AppAttach within the Azure Portal you are required to enable the Azure code modules to allow the integration of MSIX AppAttach into your WVD infrastructure.
  3. Add an MSIX image to the host pool: To enable WVD to leverage MSIX AppAttach you are required to upload a pre-packages MSIX application image into an Azure storage location for user consumption and service integration. This can be uploaded to Azure Blob or file storage locations.
  4. Publish MSIX apps to an app group: To enable users to start accessing the MSIX AppAttach solution you are required to publish your previously uploaded MSIX image to application groups for user access. This will associate the MSIX image with specific users based on your input.
  5. Assign a user to an app group: Before deploying the MSIX AppAttach image it is always best practice to test the deployment before the production role out. By assigning a small number of users to the test application group will allow you to confirm the application is functioning correctly from a user perspective.
  6. Change MSIX package state: MSIX package state is either set to Active or Inactive, depending on whether the application to ready for production role out and ready for end-user consumption. By enabling the Active state users will be able to interact with the application. 

Microsoft has announced that the MSIX app attach is now officially Generally Available within with Microsoft ecosystem. This will enable full support of MSIX applications to be integrated and deployed to Azure Virtual Desktop environments. 

How can Camwood help with your deployment? 

We offer a variety of Professional Services and Managed Services to enable our customers to get the most out of their WVD investment. Whether you are migrating from legacy on-premises VDI infrastructure or modernising your existing Azure Virtual Desktop deployment, we can help you at every step in your journey. Get in touch with our team for more information. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Daniel Williams
Daniel Williams is the Head of Technology at Camwood.
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