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.

Why I Created the PureRDS.org Resource Site

Let’s Face It, Small Shops Running SBC Solutions Are Not Well Supported

In the Server-Based Computing (SBC) community (e.g. Citrix, Microsoft RDS, VMware Horizon, etc), it’s fairly well-known that the vast majority of SBC implementations consist of 500 users or less. In contrast, the majority of marketing resources from vendors in the space go after chasing companies with 500 users or more. There’s a perception in our industry, rightly or wrongly, that the little shops are simply too expensive when it comes to acquiring their business and supporting them.

My area of expertise in the SBC community is Microsoft Remote Desktop Services, as I design monitoring software for that platform, and am currently a Microsoft MVP in this space. For many smaller shops who need to run SBC environments for teleworking, Microsoft RDS has been the platform of choice, as it only requires a single client access license (the RDS CAL), as opposed to Citrix, which requires not only the Microsoft RDS CAL, but the Citrix Concurrent License that runs on top.

Microsoft Has Recently Made Remote Desktop Services on Windows Server 2012 Harder To Deploy and Manage

Recently, I think that the partitioning of the SBC market that I talked about above (in terms of vendors only wanting to acquire and support medium to larger sized customers) has started to affect product architectural decision making as well. Citrix has continued to move up market, so much so that implementing their products almost always requires outside consulting expertise. In contrast, for the longest time, Microsoft RDS was relatively easier to deploy for even the smallest of shops – you’d turn some of your Windows Servers into Remote Desktop Session Hosts, and if you were a larger farm, you’d consider adding a Connection Broker Server, Remote Desktop Web Server, and Remote Desktop Gateway Server into that mix. Management was done through a handful of tools (TSAdmin, TSConfig, etc) that were fairly straightforward to use.

Enter Microsoft Windows Server 2012. Remote Desktop Services got a radical overhaul in Server 2012, and that overhaul has caused a considerable amount of pain for shops trying to migrate their RDS implementations from Server 2008 to Server 2012. One of the biggest painpoints in the Server 2012 ecosystem has been the restructuring of management tools for RDS. In order to manage user sessions and other configuration aspects, Microsoft moved these features out of those simple tools I mentioned earlier (TSAdmin, TSConfig, etc) into the Remote Desktop Services Manager overlay in the Windows Server Manager utility. Moreover, to even get the RDSM to work at all, the RDS implementation now must have a connection broker installed. And don’t even think about trying to stand up a full Windows Server 2012 RDS implementation in a workgroup – a domain environment is required.

If your implementation of RDS does not have enough roles to activate the RDSM in Server Manager, to date you’ve been forced to manage your session host servers predominantly with PowerShell scripts and command line tools.

PureRDS.org – a Resource Site For the Neglected Small Shops Running Microsoft Remote Desktop Services

purerds.org

All the above said, there are tons of organizations, with 500 users or less, who need quality resources for both their conventional (e.g. all RDS roles deployed) and unconventional (e.g. some RDS roles deployed, workgroup environments) RDS deployments. Thus, I decided to create PureRDS.org. Over time, it will become a rich repository of PowerShell management scripts, free tools, and other tips/tricks for smaller RDS deployments. The RDS community, while small compared to Citrix, continues to grow and deserves more resources. I hope PureRDS.org will help further fill that niche. Please check it out now and take advantage of all it can offer you!

Remote Desktop Commander 3.7 Now Available

Greetings friends and current Remote Desktop Commander customers! We’ve just released Version 3.7 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 3.7 Features

Remote Desktop Commander Lite Is Now Free For All Users!

PureRDS.org – Andy Milford’s New Free Resource Site For RDS Admins

Containers for Office 365? Yessir! – FSLogix Has a Solution For You

RDC 3.7 Download and Upgrade Links

 

Parameterized Integration of PowerShell Scripts and Commands is Now Supported in the Remote Desktop Session Navigator

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

Defining Your Own Parameterized PowerShell Scripts to Run Against Session Hosts, Users, Processes, and More.
Defining Your Own Parameterized PowerShell Scripts to Run Against Session Hosts, Users, Processes, and More.
Invoking Parameterized PowerShell Scripts to Run Against Session Hosts, Users, Processes, and More.
Invoking Parameterized PowerShell Scripts to Run Against Session Hosts, Users, Processes, and More.

Now you can pass the names of RDS/Citrix servers, users, processes, and more to your favorite command-line utilities and PowerShell scripts. Remote Desktop Commander 3.7 allows you to define parameter placeholders for the objects in the Remote Desktop Session Navigator. When you invoke your scripts/programs from a menu, Remote Desktop Commander automatically substitutes the object names that are focused or checked for the parameters. Plus, we’ve already added some new built-in PowerShell scripts, for things like enabling/disabling drain mode on Remote Desktop Session Hosts, AND delegating shadowing permissions to non-administrators. More built-in scripts are coming soon!

Automated Discovery Of RDS Collections and Remote Desktop Session Hosts

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

Remote Desktop Commander can now auto-maintain groups of session hosts by collection name.  Just add your RDS connection brokers, and it will discover everything else.
Remote Desktop Commander can now auto-maintain groups of session hosts by collection name. Just add your RDS connection brokers, and it will discover everything else.

Formerly, the Remote Desktop Commander Client required you to add in the names of session hosts by hand. Now, if your RDS deployment has a server running the connection broker role, simply enter in the name of that server. Remote Desktop Commander will then auto discover all of the collections and remote desktop session hosts in each collection, and maintain and update those groupings for you automatically.

Greatly Improved Refresh Speed in the “Performance Across the Farm” Dashboards

This Feature Is Present In the Following Editions: Suite

Due to several new optimizations, the Performance and Load Across the Farm dashboards reload much more quickly.
Due to several new optimizations, the Performance and Load Across the Farm dashboards reload much more quickly.

To increase scalability of our session host performance dashboards (e.g. those that track CPU/Memory consumption by session) for larger customers, we’ve made new optimizations in Version 3.7 of Remote Desktop Commander that have decreased loading/reloading times by over 60%! Due to new WMI and SQL query techniques, these dashboards are much quicker when reloading, providing a significant performance boost for organizations with more than 10 or 20 session hosts they monitor with our agent service.

Remote Desktop Commander Lite is Now Free! Missing TSAdmin Woes on Windows Server 2012 are No More!

Yep, we did it! By making Remote Desktop Commander Lite free, we hope that all Remote Desktop Services admins who have been struggling with the removal of TSAdmin (aka the Remote Desktop Services Manager) in Windows Server 2012 will struggle no more. Plus, with the new features related to session host discovery for RDS collections and PowerShell integration, you’ll now be able to manage your farm like a pro! It works great with Citrix XenApp deployments too – give it a whirl!

Click here for more information on this new free release, plus links to download it or to purchase support.

Andy Milford, RDPSoft CEO and Microsoft MVP in Remote Desktop Services, Has Launched His New RDS Resource Site – PureRDS.org

purerds.org

As part of his technical community outreach associated with the Microsoft MVP award, RDPSoft CEO Andy Milford has created a new resource site solely for Remote Desktop Services administrators. Packed with tips, tricks, scripts, and free tools, he hopes it will make life in the trenches easier for those responsible for setting up and maintaining remote desktop services implementations.

Click here to check out PureRDS.org

Trying To Use Office 365 in Your Virtual Desktop or Published Desktop Environment? You Need the Office 365 Container From Our Alliance Partner FSLogix

FSlogix

A few months ago we discussed how FSLogix, an RDPSoft alliance partner, was greatly improving user profile performance with its Profile Containers product. If any of our readers have tried to use built in User Profile Disks (UPDs) in Windows Server 2012, you have most likely experienced the limitations and bugs with Microsoft’s implementation. FSLogix solved those limitations with its Profile Containers solution, and now has created a new container product, this time for Office 365.

As some of you may know, Office 365 can run very poorly in virtual desktop or published desktop environments, as things like Cached Exchange Mode cannot be fully enabled. Now, thanks to Office 365 Container from FSLogix, that problem is solved. Take a quick peak at the these Office 365 Container features, and then read more at the FSLogix website:

  • Roam all of Office 365 on RDS, XenApp, and XenDesktop including Skype for Business and OneDrive
  • Enjoy super fast, enterprise class email on all your virtual desktops
  • Enable Cached Exchange Mode with large file support for OST, PST, PAB
  • Eliminate the constant deleting of corrupt OSTs
  • Easy drop-in deployment with simple configuration and GPO based management
  • Recover server and network capacity – and get rid of workarounds!

Learn more about FSLogix Office 365 Container at the FSLogix Website

Remote Desktop Commander 3.7 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.

Remote Desktop Commander Lite Is Now Free!

Greetings fellow Remote Desktop Services and Citrix admins – we hope you’re doing well.

Remote-Desktop-Commander-Lite-Web

Here at RDPSoft, we’re proud to announce that we’re making Remote Desktop Commander Lite COMPLETELY FREE for everyone in the server based computing community.

Previously priced at $99 per admin, you can now download and use it freely in perpetuity. It’s our gift to you all, and we hope you enjoy it.

It is also our hope that, with the free version of Remote Desktop Commander Lite, Windows Server 2012 RDS admins will no longer have to struggle with Server Manager to perform fundamental, basic tasks like shadowing, viewing connected users, resetting user sessions, terminating hung processes, and sending messages. Now workgroup deployments of Remote Desktop Services or “connection-broker less” deployments can be managed as well!

Moreover, we think that you will enjoy the superset of features found in the latest version of Remote Desktop Commander Lite that are not found in Server Manager or the legacy TSAdmin tool, such as…

  • The ability to view and monitor RDP latency and connection quality on RDP 8 connections.
  • The ability to automatically group and sort sessions intelligently by user, computer, activity level, bandwidth consumption, and client OS level.
  • The ability to add in user-defined, parameterized PowerShell scripts to extend the functionality of Remote Desktop Commander Lite.
  • The ability to manage RDS connections on any Windows OS level or role, be it Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2012, or Windows Server 2016.

Move past Server Manager for RDS management, and start using Remote Desktop Commander Lite today.

Review Remote Desktop Commander Lite features, screenshots, and video(s)

Learn more about how Remote Desktop Commander Lite replaces TSAdmin for both legacy Server 2008 and newer Server 2012 RDS deployments.

Download the Remote Desktop Commander Lite free tool

Need personalized support for Remote Desktop Commander Lite? Purchase support incidents here.

Learn more about the full Remote Desktop Commander Suite solution, for session recording, historical reporting on RDS/Citrix farm metrics, license tracking, performance monitoring, and much more. All for only $9 per server monitored per month.