Teams for Virtualized Desktop Infrastructure

This article describes the requirements and limitations for using Microsoft Teams in a virtualized environment.

What is VDI?

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is virtualization technology that hosts a desktop operating system and applications on a centralized server in a data center. This enables a fully personalized desktop experience to users with a fully secured and compliant centralized source.

Microsoft Teams in a virtualized environment supports chat and collaboration. And with the Citrix platform, calling and meeting functionality also are supported.

Teams in a virtualized environment supports multiple configurations. These include VDI, dedicated, shared, persistent, and non-persistent modes. Features are in continuous development and are added on a regular basis, and functionality will expand in the coming months and years.

Using Teams in a virtualized environment might be somewhat different from using Teams in a non-virtualized environment. For example, some advanced features might not be available in a virtualized environment, and video resolution might differ.

To ensure an optimal user experience, follow the guidance in this article.

Teams on VDI components

Using Teams in a virtualized environment requires the following components.

  • Virtualization broker: The resource and connection manager to the virtualization provider, such as Azure
  • Virtual desktop: The Virtual Machine (VM) stack that runs Microsoft Teams
  • Thin client: The endpoint that the user physically interfaces with
  • Teams desktop app: The Teams desktop client app

Teams on VDI requirements

Virtualization provider requirements

The Teams desktop app was validated with leading virtualization solution providers. With multiple market providers, we recommend that you consult your virtualization solution provider to ensure that you meet the minimum requirements.

Currently, Teams on VDI with audio/video (AV) optimization is certified with Citrix. Review the information in this section to ensure that you meet both Citrix and Teams requirements for proper functionality.

Partners certified for Teams

The following partners have virtual desktop infrastructure solutions for Teams.

Partner Partner solution
The logo representing Citrix Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops

Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops requirements

Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (formerly known as XenApp and XenDesktop) provides AV optimization for Teams on VDI. With Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops, Teams on VDI supports calling and meeting functionality in addition to chat and collaboration.

You can download the latest version of Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops at the Citrix downloads site. (You'll need to sign in first.) The necessary components are bundled into the Citrix Workspace app (CWA) and Virtual Delivery Agent (VDA) by default. You don't need to install any additional components or plugins on CWA or the VDA.

For the latest server and client requirements, see this Citrix website.

Install or update the Teams desktop app on VDI

You can deploy the Teams desktop app for VDI using a per-machine installation or per-user installation using the MSI package. Deciding on which approach to use depends on whether you use a persistent or non-persistent setup and the associated functionality needs of your organization.

For a dedicated persistent setup, either approach would work. However, for a non-persistent setup, Teams requires a per-machine installation in order to work efficiently. See the Non-persistent setup section.

With per-machine installation, automatic updates is disabled. This means that to update the Teams app, you must uninstall the current version to update to a newer version. With per-user installation, automatic updates is enabled. For most VDI deployments, we recommend you deploy Teams using per-machine installation.

To update to the latest Teams version, start with the uninstall procedure followed by latest Teams version deployment.

For Teams AV optimization in VDI environments to work properly, the thin client endpoint must have access to the internet. If internet access isn't available at the thin client endpoint, optimization startup won't be successful. This means that the user is in a non-optimized media state.

Dedicated persistent setup

In a dedicated persistent setup, users' local operating system changes are retained after users log off. For persistent setup, Teams supports both per-user and per-machine installation.

The following is the recommended minimum VM configuration.

Parameter Workstation operating system Server operating system
vCPU 2 cores 4,6, or 8
It's important to understand the underlying non-uniform memory access (NUMA) configuration and configure your VMs accordingly.
RAM 4 GB 512 to 1024 MB per user
Storage 8 GB 40 to 60 GB

Non-persistent setup

In a non-persistent setup, users' local operating system changes are not retained after users log off. Such setups are commonly shared multi-user sessions. VM configuration varies based on the number of users and available physical box resources.

For a non-persistent setup, the Teams desktop app must be installed per-machine to the golden image. (To learn more, see the Install or update the Teams desktop app on VDI section.) This ensures an efficient launch of the Teams app during a user session.

Using Teams with a non-persistent setup also requires a profile caching manager for efficient Teams runtime data sync. This ensures that the appropriate user-specific information (for example, user data, profile, and settings) is cached during the user session. Make sure data in these two folders are synced.

  • C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\IdentityCache (%localAppdata%\Microsoft\IdentityCache)
  • C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Teams (%appdata%\Microsoft\Teams)

There are a variety of caching manager solutions available. For example, FSLogix. Consult your caching manager provider for specific configuration instructions.

Teams cached content exclusion list for non-persistent setup

Exclude the following from the Teams caching folder, %appdata%/Microsoft/Teams. Excluding these items helps reduce the user caching size to further optimize your non-persistent setup.

  • .txt files
  • Media-stack folder
  • meeting-addin\Cache (%appdata%\Microsoft\Teams\meeting-addin\Cache)

Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise considerations

Consider the following when you deploy Teams with Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise on VDI.

New deployments of Teams through Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise

Before you deploy Teams through Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise, you must first uninstall any pre-existing Teams apps if they were deployed using per-machine installation.

Teams through Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise is installed per-user. To learn more, see the Install or update the Teams desktop app on VDI section.

Teams deployments through Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise updates

Teams is also being added to existing installations of Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise. Since Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise installs Teams per-user only, see the Install or update the Teams desktop app on VDI section.

Using Teams with per-machine installation and Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise

Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise doesn't support per-machine installations of Teams. To use per-machine installation, you must exclude Teams from Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise. See the Deploy the Teams desktop app to the VM and How to exclude Teams deployment through Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise sections.

How to exclude Teams deployment through Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise

To learn more about Teams and Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise, see How to exclude Teams from new installations of Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise and Use Group Policy to control the installation of Teams.

Deploy the Teams desktop app to the VM

  1. Download the Teams MSI package that matches your VDI VM operating system using one of the following links:

    The minimum version of the Teams desktop app that's required is version 1.3.00.4461. (PSTN hold isn't supported in earlier versions.)

  2. Install the MSI to the VDI VM by running one of the following commands:

    • Per-user installation (default)

      msiexec /i <path_to_msi> /l*v <install_logfile_name> ALLUSERS=1
      

      This process is the default installation, which installs Teams to the %AppData% user folder. At this point, the golden image setup is complete. Teams won't work properly with per-user installation on a non-persistent setup.

    • Per-machine installation

      msiexec /i <path_to_msi> /l*v <install_logfile_name> ALLUSER=1 ALLUSERS=1
      

      This process installs Teams to the Program Files (x86) folder on a 64-bit operating system and to the Program Files folder on a 32-bit operating system. At this point, the golden image setup is complete. Installing Teams per-machine is required for non-persistent setups.

      The next interactive logon session starts Teams and asks for credentials.

    Note

    These examples also use the ALLUSERS=1 parameter. When you set this parameter, Teams Machine-Wide Installer appears in Programs and Features in Control Panel and in Apps & features in Windows Settings for all users of the computer. All users can then uninstall Teams if they have admin credentials. It's important to understand the difference between ALLUSERS=1 and ALLUSER=1. The ALLUSERS=1 parameter can be used in non-VDI and VDI environments, while the ALLUSER=1 parameter is used only in VDI environments to specify a per-machine installation.

  3. Uninstall the MSI from the VDI VM.

    msiexec /passive /x <path_to_msi> /l*v <uninstall_logfile_name>
    

    This process uninstalls Teams from the Program Files (x86) folder or Program Files folder, depending on the operating system environment.

Teams on VDI performance considerations

There are a variety of virtualized setup configurations, each with a different focus for optimization. For example, a configuration might focus on user density. When planning, consider the following to help optimize your setup based on your organization's workload needs.

  • Minimum requirement: Some workloads might require a setup using resources that are above the minimum requirements. For example, workloads for developers who use applications that demand more computing resources.
  • Dependencies: These include dependencies on infrastructure, workload, and other environmental considerations outside the Teams desktop app.
  • Disabled features on VDI: Teams disables GPU-intensive features for VDI, which can help improve transient CPU utilization. The following features are disabled:
    • Teams CSS animation
    • Giphy auto-start

Teams on VDI with calling and meetings

In addition to chat and collaboration, Teams on VDI with calling and meeting support is available with Citrix-based platforms. Supported features are based on the WebRTC media stack and Citrix-specific implementation. The following diagram provides an overview of the architecture.

Diagram showing Teams on VDI architecture

These calling and meeting features are not supported:

  • Enhanced emergency services
  • HID buttons and LED controls between the Teams app and devices
  • Background blur and effects
  • Broadcast/live events
  • Location-Based Routing (LBR)
  • Call park
  • Call queue

Important

If you currently run Teams without AV optimization in VDI and you use features that are not supported yet for optimization (such as Give and take control when app sharing), you have to set Citrix policies to turn off Teams redirection. This means that Teams media sessions won't be optimized. For steps on how to set policies to turn off Teams redirection, see this Citrix website.

We're working on adding calling and meeting features that are currently only available in non-VDI environments. These might include more admin control over quality, additional screen sharing scenarios, and advanced features recently added to Teams. Contact your Teams representative to learn more about upcoming features.

Network requirements

We recommend that you evaluate your environment to identify any risks and requirements that can influence your overall cloud voice and video deployment. Use the Skype for Business Network Assessment Tool to test whether your network is ready for Teams.

To learn more about how to prepare your network for Teams, see Prepare your organization's network for Teams.

Migrate from Skype for Business on VDI to Teams on VDI

If you're migrating from Skype for Business on VDI to Teams on VDI, besides the differences between the two applications, there are some differences when VDI is also implemented. Some capabilities that aren't currently supported in Teams VDI that are in Skype for Business VDI are as follows:

  • Control of VDI calling experiences with policies for limiting media bitrate
  • Per-platform policy to disable some AV features in VDI
  • Give and take control when app sharing
  • Screen share from chat without audio
  • Simultaneous video and screen sharing send and receive

Teams on Chrome browser versus Teams desktop app for VDI

Teams on Chrome browser doesn't provide a replacement for the Teams desktop app for VDI with AV optimization. The chat and collaboration experience works as expected. When media is needed, there are some experiences that might not meet user expectations on the Chrome browser:

  • The audio and video streaming experience might not be optimal. Users might experiences delays or reduced quality.
  • Device settings aren't available in browser settings.
  • Device management is handled through the browser and requires multiple settings in browser site settings.
  • Device settings might also need to be set in Windows device management.

Teams on VDI with chat and collaboration

If your organization wants to only use chat and collaboration features in Teams, you can set user-level policies to turn off calling and meeting functionality in Teams. This feature level doesn't require Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops.

Set policies to turn off calling and meeting functionality

You can set policies by using the Microsoft Teams admin center or PowerShell. It might take some time (a few hours) for the policy changes to propagate. If you don't see changes for a given account immediately, try again in a few hours.

Calling polices: Teams includes the built-in DisallowCalling calling policy, in which all calling features are turned off. Assign the DisallowCalling policy to all users in your organization who use Teams in a virtualized environment.

Meeting policies: Teams includes the built-in AllOff meeting policy, in which all meeting features are turned off. Assign the AllOff policy to all users in your organization who use Teams in a virtualized environment.

Assign policies using the Microsoft Teams admin center

To assign the DisallowCalling calling policy and the AllOff meeting policy to a user:

  1. In the left navigation of the Microsoft Teams admin center, go to Users.
  2. Select the user by clicking to the left of the user name, and then click Edit settings.
  3. Do the following:
    1. Under Calling policy, click DisallowCalling.
    2. Under Meeting policy, click AllOff.
  4. Click Apply.

To assign a policy to multiple users at a time:

  1. In the left navigation of the Microsoft Teams admin center, go to Users, and then search for the users or filter the view to show the users you want.
  2. In the (check mark) column, select the users. To select all users, click the ✓ (check mark) at the top of the table.
  3. Click Edit settings, make the changes that you want, and then click Apply.

Or, you can also do the following:

  1. In the left navigation of the Microsoft Teams admin center, go to the policy you want to assign. For example:
    • Go to Voice > Calling policies, and then click DisallowCalling.
    • Go to Meetings > Meeting policies, and then click AllOff.
  2. Select Manage users.
  3. In the Manage users pane, search for the user by display name or by user name, select the name, and then click Add. Repeat this step for each user that you want to add.
  4. When you're finished adding users, click Save.

Assign policies using PowerShell

The following example shows how to use the Grant-CsTeamsCallingPolicy to assign the DisallowCalling calling policy to a user.

Grant-CsTeamsCallingPolicy -PolicyName DisallowCalling -Identity "user email id"

To learn more about using PowerShell to manage calling policies, see Set-CsTeamsCallingPolicy.

The following example shows how to use the Grant-CsTeamsMeetingPolicy to assign the AllOff meeting policy to a user.

Grant-CsTeamsMeetingPolicy -PolicyName AllOff -Identity "user email id"

To learn more about using PowerShell to manage meeting policies, see Set-CsTeamsMeetingPolicy.

Migrate Teams on VDI with chat and collaboration to Citrix with calling and meetings

If you have an existing implementation of Teams on VDI with chat and collaboration in which you had set user-level policies to turn off calling and meeting functionality, and you're migrating to Citrix with AV optimization, you must set policies to turn on calling and meeting functionality for those Teams on VDI users.

Set policies to turn on calling and meeting functionality

You can use the Microsoft Teams admin center or PowerShell to set and assign calling and meeting policies to your users. It can take some time (a few hours) for policy changes to propagate. If you don't see changes for a given account immediately, try again after a few hours.

Calling polices: Calling policies in Teams control which calling features are available to users. Teams includes the built-in AllowCalling calling policy, in which all calling features are turned on. To turn on all calling features, assign the AllowCalling policy. Or, create a custom calling policy to turn on the calling features that you want and assign it to users.

Meeting policies: Meeting policies in Teams control the types of meetings that users can create and the features that are available to meeting participants that are scheduled by users in your organization. Teams includes the built-in AllOn meeting policy, in which all meeting features are turned on. To turn on all meeting features, assign the AllOn policy. Or, create a custom meeting policy to turn on the meeting features that you want and assign it users.

Assign policies using the Microsoft Teams admin center

To assign the AllowCalling calling policy and the AllOn meeting policy to a user:

  1. In the left navigation of the Microsoft Teams admin center, go to Users.
  2. Select the user by clicking to the left of the user name, and then click Edit settings.
  3. Do the following:
    1. Under Calling policy, click AllowCalling.
    2. Under Meeting policy, click AllOn.
  4. Click Apply.

To assign a policy to multiple users at a time:

  1. In the left navigation of the Microsoft Teams admin center, go to Users, and then search for the users or filter the view to show the users you want.
  2. In the (check mark) column, select the users. To select all users, click the (check mark) at the top of the table.
  3. Click Edit settings, make the changes that you want, and then click Apply.

Or, you can also do the following:

  1. In the left navigation of the Microsoft Teams admin center, go to the policy you want to assign. For example:
    • Go to Voice > Calling policies, and then click AllowCalling.
    • Go to Meetings > Meeting policies, and then click AllOn.
  2. Select Manage users.
  3. In the Manage users pane, search for the user by display name or by user name, select the name, and then click Add. Repeat this step for each user that you want to add.
  4. When you're finished adding users, click Save.

Assign policies using PowerShell

The following example shows how to use the Grant-CsTeamsCallingPolicy to assign the AllowCalling calling policy to a user.

Grant-CsTeamsCallingPolicy -PolicyName AllowCalling -Identity "user email id"

To learn more about using PowerShell to manage calling policies, see Set-CsTeamsCallingPolicy.

The following example shows how to use the Grant-CsTeamsMeetingPolicy to assign the AllOn meeting policy to a user.

Grant-CsTeamsMeetingPolicy -PolicyName AllOn -Identity "user email id"

To learn more about using PowerShell to manage meeting policies, see Set-CsTeamsMeetingPolicy.

Known issues and limitations

Client deployment, installation, and setup

  • With per-machine installation, Teams on VDI isn't automatically updated in the way that non-VDI Teams clients are. You have to update the VM image by installing a new MSI as described in the Install or update the Teams desktop app on VDI section. You must uninstall the current version to update to a newer version.
  • Teams should be deployed either per user or per machine. Deployment of Teams for concurrent per user and per machine is not supported. To migrate from either per machine or per user to one of these modes, follow the uninstall procedure and redeploy to either mode.
  • Citrix doesn't support MacOs and Linux-based clients at this time.
  • Citrix doesn't support the use of explicit HTTP proxies defined on an endpoint.

Calling and meetings

  • Interoperability with Skype for Business is limited to audio calls; there is no video modality.
  • Dual Tone Multi Frequency (DTMF) interaction with telephony systems is currently not supported.
  • Joining Teams meetings as an anonymous user isn't AV-optimized. The user can join the meeting and have a non-optimized experience.
  • Only a single incoming video stream is supported in meetings or group calls. When multiple people send video, only the dominant speaker's video is shown at any given time.
  • Incoming and outgoing video stream resolution is limited to 720p resolution. This is a WebRTC limitation.
  • Only one video stream from an incoming camera or screen share stream is supported. When there's an incoming screen share, that screen share is shown, instead of the video of the dominant speaker.
  • Outgoing screen sharing:
    • Screen sharing from chat is not supported.
    • Application sharing is not supported.
  • Give control and take control:
    • Not supported during a screen sharing or application sharing session.
    • Supported during a PowerPoint sharing session.
  • When screen sharing in a multi-monitor setup, only the main monitor is shared.
  • High DPI scaling on CWA is not supported.

For Teams known issues that aren't related to VDI, see Support Teams in your organization.

Troubleshooting

Troubleshoot Citrix components

For information on how to troubleshoot VDA and CWA issues, see this Citrix website.