Repping RDS at Techmentor 2017

Check out our CEO Andy Milford speaking at last week’s prestigious Techmentor event, at Microsoft’s renowned Redmond Campus.

RDPSoftTechmentor2017

This was Andy’s second straight appearance as an expert speaker at Techmentor – this year giving back-to-back talks on the topics of Remote Desktop Services in Window’s Server 2016, as well as alternatives to Azure Remote App.

RDS and Citrix enthusiasts also had the opportunity to break bread with Andy at the “Bird’s Of A Feather” luncheon.

RDPSoftBirdsOfAFeatherLunch

Watch our blog or follow our twitter @RDPSoft for upcoming posts with highlights from these talks!

Love Pouring In For Remote Desktop Commander!

Greetings, loyal friends and RDPSoft customers. Today, we wanted to thank you all for the warm feedback we’ve been receiving lately from users of our free Remote Desktop Commander Lite Citrix/RDS Session Manager, as well as the full Remote Desktop Commander Suite. We’re hard at work on Version 4 of Remote Desktop Commander, which will be released in Q2 of 2017, which we’ll let you know about more shortly.

In the meantime, we wanted to share some of the great customer feedback we’re getting – your input and kudos continues to motivate us to make the best and affordable monitoring and management tools for Microsoft Remote Desktop Services and Citrix XenApp/XenDesktop. Enjoy!

Just wanted to drop you a note and thank you again for everything. The full version of this software is really, really good. So many metrics that we didn’t have before, and the console is much better to monitor sessions from than Citrix Studio (or Director) in my opinion.

Love this software. Brilliant!!! Exposure is all that is needed. Great Stuff, life savior in the world of offshore software development.

Great news!!! RDPSoft is operating well with an excess of 110 users on all servers.

Great software and stats, was a huge help.

If you’d like to see what the buzz is about firsthand, feel free to download and use our completely free Remote Desktop Commander Lite tool for all of your RDS/Citrix active session management needs. Or, start a monthly subscription of the Remote Desktop Commander Suite software for only $9 per server per month, and start gaining insight to your entire farm with dashboards and over 80 pre-built reports.

Remote Desktop Services Logon Failures

Have you ever found yourself trying to hunt down the source of logon failures in your Remote Desktop Services farm? It’s trickier than you may have realized.

Our very own Andy Milford, Microsoft MVP in Enterprise Mobility / Remote Desktop Services, just wrote a lengthy article on the topic you can read at his RDS MVP outreach site – http://www.purerds.org.

In the article, he talks about how Group Policy authentication settings like Network Level Authentication and the RDP security layer directly affect how Remote Desktop Services logon failures are recorded in the Security log (Event ID 4625). He also shares tips regarding additional events you can use in a little known event log to correlate where logon failures are actually coming from if the Remote Desktop Session Host is running Windows Server 2012 or Windows Server 2016.

We look forward to building some of this hard won knowledge into our Remote Desktop Commander product line soon. In the meantime, please enjoy some of Andy’s detailed research on the subject.

Remote Desktop Commander 3.9 Now Available

Greetings friends and current Remote Desktop Commander customers! We’ve just released Version 3.9 of Remote Desktop Commander, both the Lite and Suite editions, so we want to tell you what’s new under the hood in terms of features.

In this RDPSoft E-Newsletter:

 

New Remote Desktop Commander 3.9 Features

End of Year Discount for New Subscriptions!

Need RDS Consulting? Contact Our Friends at RDSGurus.com

RDC 3.9 Download and Upgrade Links

 

MSP? Have a Complex Network? Remote Desktop Commander Now Lets you Monitor and Manage Remote Desktop Session Hosts and Citrix XenApp Deployments in Untrusted Domains and Workgroups

This Feature Is Present In the Following Editions: Suite

Remote Desktop Commander encrypts and stores alternate credentials in order to monitor Remote Desktop Session Hosts in untrusted domains.
Remote Desktop Commander encrypts and stores alternate credentials in order to monitor Remote Desktop Session Hosts in untrusted domains.
Assign alternate credentials to monitor Remote Desktop Session Hosts in untrusting domains.
Assign alternate credentials to monitor Remote Desktop Session Hosts in untrusting domains.
Need to manage sessions on RDSH systems in a different domain or workgroup?  Simple enter in alternate credentials and away you go!
Need to manage sessions on RDSH systems in a different domain or workgroup? Simple enter in alternate credentials and away you go!

Managed Service Providers know all too well the difficulty of managing systems in multi-tenant environments. Most MSPs isolate each of their clients in a separate domain, and if the client runs Remote Desktop Services or Citrix, the collection/farm is also bound to that domain. Previous versions of Remote Desktop Commander have required a separate deployment per AD forest. Now, in Version 3.9, we’ve made our software friendlier for MSPs. Version 3.9 supports the secure caching of user account credentials that can be used to authenticate against foreign domains.

Remote Desktop Commander administrators, after entering the appropriate credentials, can assign these credentials to RDS session hosts or Citrix servers they need to monitor or actively manage. This allows them to stand up considerably fewer deployments of our Remote Desktop Commander solution, reducing licensing costs associated with Microsoft SQL Server, as well as lowering administrative overhead. Provided that the different client domains are located on the same physical network (or common virtual network/VLAN), and provided there are rules that permit normal Windows network traffic in the datacenter (e.g. Kerberos, Dynamic RPC, etc), our software can authenticate across domains to bring the information from multiple clients into a single database. Similarly, the Farms/Collections of all clients can be managed in one area using the Remote Desktop Commander Client.

Improved Discovery of RDS Collections / Remote Desktop Session Hosts

This Feature Is Present In the Following Editions: Suite

Remote Desktop Commander 3.9 has improved Connection Broker support.
Remote Desktop Commander 3.9 has improved Connection Broker support.

Formerly, the Remote Desktop Commander Configuration Tool required you to add the names of Remote Desktop Session Hosts by hand. Now, if your RDS deployment has a server running the connection broker role, you can enter in the name of the connection broker server, and quickly import your RDSH systems for monitoring.

As described above, Remote Desktop Commander 3.9 allows you to provide alternate credentials for authenticating against foreign, non-trusting domains. You can also use alternate credentials to authenticate against connection brokers in other domains, in order to both monitor and manage those session hosts throughout the programs in the Remote Desktop Commander Suite.

Collect SPLA Usage Data From Untrusting Domains, Plus Filter Reports By Domain In Version 3.9 of the SPL Tracker Module

This Feature Is Present In the Following Editions: Suite

Now MSPs can authenticate against non-trusting domains, as well as filter SPLA usage data by domain, to rapidly produce consolidated SPLA reports.
Now MSPs can authenticate against non-trusting domains, as well as filter SPLA usage data by domain, to rapidly produce consolidated SPLA reports.

Previously, in order to obtain SPLA usage data for SPLA reporting, we required our MSP customers to stand up an instance of Remote Desktop Commander with the SPL Tracker in each of their client domains. Now, if alternate credentials are defined in the Remote Desktop Commander Configuration Tool, our SPL Tracker tool will also use them automatically to authenticate against foreign domains. And, you can now easily create multiple SPLA license usage classes per domain, by setting up domain filters and using the new Clone feature to duplicate existing license usage classes.

Improved Agent Service Performance and Dashboard

This Feature Is Present In the Following Editions: Suite

In Remote Desktop Commander 3.9, we’ve optimized our Agent service to where it operates faster and can handle a higher volume of monitored objects, such as on Remote Desktop Session Hosts that have tens of thousands of open UDP/TCP connections. We’ve also expanded our Performance Across the Farm Dashboard, so that even if you have not deployed the Agent service to your session hosts, you can still at least see current CPU and memory consumption on each session host.

Retention of Shadowing Preferences

This Feature Is Present In the Following Editions: Suite and Lite (Free)

Remote Desktop Commander 3.9 now automatically remembers your shadowing preferences
Remote Desktop Commander 3.9 now automatically remembers your shadowing preferences

Several of our customers requested that we add a feature to make Remote Desktop Commander “remember” the shadowing options preferences for the help desk user or administrator. That feature is now present in Version 3.9 and is a great time saver.

Import/Export of Remote Desktop Commander Client Preferences

This Feature Is Present In the Following Editions: Suite and Lite (Free)

Have lots of help desk personnel and administrators who need to manage sessions with Remote Desktop Commander?  Use the import/export feature to quickly replicate settings across all users.
Have lots of help desk personnel and administrators who need to manage sessions with Remote Desktop Commander? Use the import/export feature to quickly replicate settings across all users.

Do you have lots of help desk personnel and admins in your organization who need to manage RDS sessions, or access the detailed reporting found in the Remote Desktop Commander Suite? If so, now replicating configuration settings across multiple users is easy. Simply configure one instance of the client as needed, and then export those settings to a dat file. Other users can then import that Preferences file into their instance of Remote Desktop Commander to obtain the same master settings.

Now Through the End of December 2016 – $2 Off Your $9 Per Month Subscription for 3 Months!

Use coupon code RDCDEC16 when you start a new Remote Desktop Commander Suite Monthly Server subscription. Doing so will reduce the monthly per server licensing cost to only $7 per server for the next 3 months. To start your monthly subscription, click here.

Is Your Remote Desktop Services Deployment Giving You Tons Of Challenges? Look No Further Than the Experts at RDSGurus.com

RDS Gurus Consultancy

As you know, running a stable and fast Remote Desktop Services deployment takes quite a bit of tweaking. Whether it’s authentication issues, group policy settings, logon times, user profile disks, or application changes, sometimes you need to bring in the big guns. Look no further than the RDS Gurus Consultancy. Led by three Microsoft RDS MVPs, they can get your RDS collection in tip top shape in short order. For the biggest impact, consider leveraging both the RDS Gurus team AND a subscription to our Remote Desktop Commander Suite. Combining the insightful data we collect with the decades of hard won expertise they offer, your RDS infrastructure will soon be running smoother than ever!

Click here to contact the experts at RDSGurus.com

Remote Desktop Commander 3.9 Download and Upgrade Links

If you are an existing Remote Desktop Commander SUITE subscription licensee and/or active maintenance agreement holder, click here to request upgrade instructions.

If you are an existing Remote Desktop Commander LITE user, click here to download the latest version, which you can install directly over previous Remote Desktop Commander Lite versions.

If you’d like to learn more about the Remote Desktop Commander Suite, including its feature set and how to start a subscription for only $9 per server per month, click here.

Azure RemoteApp – Sayonara!

Microsoft Announces Today That They’re Phasing Out Azure RemoteApp, and Transitioning Customers Over to a Citrix Solution Instead

Gabe Knuth first blogged on this possibility August 3rd, and now it has been confirmed.

From the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Blog:

Today we are announcing the next step in our broad partnership with Citrix in the remote desktop and applications space, which we recently expanded to address new scenarios for our joint customers on the Azure cloud.

Customers have provided us consistent feedback that they want a comprehensive, end-to-end, cloud-based solution for delivering Windows apps. The best way for us to deliver this is with Citrix through XenApp “express”, currently under development. XenApp “express” combines the simplicity of application remoting and the scalability of Azure with the security, management, and performance benefits of XenApp, to deliver Windows applications to any employee on any device. We will have much more to share on this offering through the coming months.

Key takeaways:

  • New purchases of Azure RemoteApp will end October 1st, 2016.
  • End of life date for existing Azure RemoteApp deployments will be August 31st, 2017. Migration of some sort will be required before then.

My thoughts – this is a smart move. As Gabe mentioned, Azure RemoteApp had issues with rapid scaling during logon storms and other load balancing issues. Also, there’s the practical aspect that most organizations, if they move their apps to the Cloud, also need to move the supporting infrastructure (e.g. database servers, CRM/ERP servers, Active Directory, etc). In that sense, it makes better sense to either leverage this new Citrix solution OR simply stand up a full Remote Desktop Services IaaS deployment in Azure. This will only be easier to do with the upcoming release of Microsoft Windows Server 2016.