For long, users had to download special software to access their virtual desktops. As the need for mobility increased, solutions providers made it possible for customers to access the virtual desktops on thin clients. Today, most virtual desktops can be accessed on HTML 5 browsers that are universally available on smartphones, desktops, and tablets. These do not require additional extensions or plug-ins as the capability to support virtual desktop access is built into them. All users have to do is to enter their credentials to get started. Let us learn about the nuances of accessing virtual machines through a web browser.
Why Use Web Browser to Access Virtual Machine?
A vast majority of virtual desktop solution providers allow users to access their solutions using browsers rather than a dedicated client. Here are some advantages of using this approach.
- Any HTML 5 web browser can be used to access the virtual desktop. There is no need to download, install, or configure a separate software to access the virtual desktop.
- It is easier to connect different virtual desktop environments from the same device without having to toggle between client applications.
- From an admin perspective, there is no need to design and manage multiple client-applications for different platforms.
- Users can switch between the virtual machine and other tabs without having to minimize the pages.
How to Access Virtual Machine Using a Web Browser?
Most virtual desktop solutions, including Azure Windows Virtual Desktop, can be accessed using a link given by the service provider. On clicking the link, users are typically redirected to a portal or a web page where they can enter their credentials to access the virtual desktop assigned to them. While this is common for most virtual desktop solutions that can be accessed using a browser, the difference lies in the way the provisioning is done.
Access Virtual Machine from Web Browser Using Public IP Address
All virtual machines that have to be accessed over the internet require an IP address. These IP addresses are necessary for enabling inbound connections to the virtual machine. For virtual machines, the IP address is associated with its network interface.
Generally, there is an option of selecting between static public IP addresses and dynamic public IP addresses for virtual machines. As their name suggests, the former remains constant for the specified virtual machine while the latter changes when the virtual machine is deallocated.
While public IP addresses are commonly used to provide access to virtual machines using web browsers, they have certain disadvantages.
- They are more prone to unsolicited transmissions.
- They could need a sophisticated firewall configuration to protect against malware.
- Complex translation strategies may have to be used in certain scenarios such as the need for port forwarding.
Access Windows Virtual Desktop from Web Browser Securely Using Azure Bastion
Microsoft offers an alternate solution to the use of public IP addresses to access virtual machines with Azure Bastion. Users can avoid public Internet exposure by logging into their Azure virtual machines using private IP addresses. Virtual machines can be accessed over SSL directly from the Azure portal through any HTML 5 compliant web client. As a fully managed PaaS service, Microsoft eliminates the need to configure and manage jump servers to protect virtual machines. A one-time setup is sufficient to enhance your security and compliance while accessing your Azure Virtual Desktop with clientless RDP/SSH connectivity.
Apps4Rent Can Help with Virtual Machine Provisioning
While it is always convenient to access a virtual machine from a web browser, dedicated client applications have their own advantages. Because they are designed for specific devices, they offer greater flexibility and better user experience. You can still set up Azure VPN to secure your virtual desktop connection and use Point-to-Site (P2S) for Vnet peering, App service Vnet integration, and other purposes. As a Tier 1 Microsoft CSP, Apps4Rent can provision and customize Microsoft Virtual Desktop/ Azure Virtual Desktop for your business. We can also provide other solutions such as Citrix virtual desktop at the best prices. Contact our virtualization experts available 24/7 via phone, chat, and email for assistance.