Greetings friends and current Remote Desktop Commander customers! We’ve just released Version 4.7 of the Remote Desktop Commander Suite. This new version offers:
- a much improved shadowing and remote assistance experience;
- a wizard for delegating RDS management tasks to your help desk staff;
- numerous product optimizations;
- and, the introduction of a special version designed for MSPs.
Also, this is the first version of our software that has been completely tested in Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop and is Microsoft WVD Ready!
In this RDPSoft E-Newsletter:
New Premium Management Features in the Version 4.7 Remote Desktop Commander Client – And a Special Offer
Remote Desktop Commander Core Edition – a Special Version for Multi-tenant MSP Deployments of RDS and WVD
Premium Management Features Now Available in Version 4.7 –
Take Advantage Of This Special Offer To Add Them To Your Remote Desktop Commander Suite Deployment.
One of the continuous laments that we’ve heard from our customer base, for years now, is about user session shadowing in Remote Desktop Services. This is a shame, because the internal architecture for shadowing from Windows Server 2012 R2 onwards is pretty amazing! Using MSTSC to shadow has however been less than smooth. The litany of complaints includes problems like:
- lack of proper shadowing support (zoom out) for multiple monitor sessions;
- dreaded permissions errors;
- the unfortunate requirement for help desk users to be administrators (!) on the terminal servers they want to shadow;
- the inability for Windows 7 systems to initiate shadowing on Server 2012/2016/2019 systems and Windows 8 and 10 workstations.
There was also the small issue that there were no tools for shadowing/remote assistance inside Windows Virtual Desktop in Azure…until now!
As a result, admins and IT staff have been paying an arm and a leg for remote assistance tools to bridge this gap – tools that require heavy install footprints, hundreds or even thousands of dollars per technician per year, and tedious invitation URLs, etc. are required to start helping users.
Which Reminds Us: Delegation of Administration Options for Remote Desktop Services Has Been Nonexistent For W a y T o o L o n g
The other need that we hear frequently from our customers, is to have the ability to precisely delegate Remote Desktop Services management permissions to their help desk and front line support staff. To date, the only real option has been to give help desk staff admin rights on session hosts and connection brokers. Not an ideal situation from a security, or a “whoops I just rebooted a terminal server with 30 user sessions running line of business apps” perspective.
We tried to resolve some of these issues with our RDSConfig utility, that allowed permissions reassignment for users and groups on session hosts. However, in larger RDS collections, you need a way to apply those permissions to a huge swath of session hosts all at once – especially as new session hosts are brought online. Also, to do their jobs, help desk staff need rights to query the Connection Broker to dynamically list RDS collections and the servers that are members of each, plus they should have the ability to read RDS-related performance counters on those session hosts, so they can troubleshoot things like network latency from the client to the server.
So, We Figured Out How To Make Shadowing Much Better AND Created a Wizard To Let You Delegate RDS Management Tasks To Your Help Desk StaffWe’re calling these new tools in the Remote Desktop Commander Client Premium Management Features. Want to shadow Server 2012+ systems from Windows 7? No problem. Want to monitor multiple user sessions at once in live view in one window? We do that. Do you have RDS users with multiple monitors that you haven’t been able to shadow before? Again, we’ve got you covered.
Take Advantage of this Special Offer to Add These Premium Management Features To Your Existing Remote Desktop Commander Suite Deployment
Normally, our Premium Management Features enhancement for the Remote Desktop Commander Client costs $99.99, per named admin or help desk user per year. However, we are offering our existing Remote Desktop Commander Suite customers the ability to add this offering for only $69.99 per admin/help desk user, per year. Simply fill out the form here and let us know that you’d like this special code. Alternatively, if you’d like to start a monthly subscription of the Premium Management Features, you can do so here, at $9.99 per admin/help desk user per month.
Watch this quick video on YouTube to see these new features in action.
Other Improvements in Remote Desktop Commander Suite Version 4.7
Remote Desktop Commander Is Now Time Zone Independent
In larger deployments, multiple RDS collections may exist across multiple time zones. This is especially true in hosted or MSP deployments. The latest version of Remote Desktop Commander normalizes dashboards to the time zone of the collector system that is sending data into a particular SQL database. This allows our dashboards to work properly even in time zone heterogeneous environments.
New Table Index Optimizations Reduce Database Storage Consumption
In Version 4.7, we optimized indexes on database tables that store agent performance data, which typically are the largest tables in our database. As a result, the total space consumed by these tables is now less – resulting in reduced storage requirements over time.
Lookup the Service Names Contained in Service Processes When Troubleshooting Performance
One of Remote Desktop Commander’s nicest features is the ability to zero in on a user session that impacted performance on a terminal server for a given period of time; to diagnose the root cause of a performance problem (e.g. which app running under what user was using the most CPU or memory.) Often, the problem is caused by a poor behaving Windows service. However, many Windows services are hosted in a common EXE host, SVCHOST.EXE, so it can be difficult to determine which individual service was causing the issue. The latest version of Remote Desktop Commander resolves that, however, by providing a lookup feature in Powershell that translates the service names running in a specific executable process within the Services session.
Improvements In The IP Geolocation Dashboard Make It Load More Quickly.
In Version 4.7, we added optimizations to the IP Geolocation Dashboard, which result in faster load times, even in environments with lots of RDS login and login failure activity.
Support for Multiple Tenant Databases In Version 4.7 Of The Remote Desktop Commander Client
In larger deployments of our software, such as in MSP environments, there is often a need to review reports, dashboards, and analytics from multiple isolated tenants, customers, or logical groupings of servers that are housed in separate databases. The latest version of our client makes it very easy to setup multiple connections to different tenant databases, and then switch between them as required. In combination with our special Remote Desktop Commander Core product edition for MSPs mentioned below, it becomes much easier to quickly deploy and manage multiple independent Remote Desktop Commander installations, each storing its data in a separate SQL or Azure SQL database.
Are You An MSP? Use Our New Remote Desktop Commander Core Edition To Rapidly Roll Out Our Software In Multi-tenant Environments.
Starting With Version 4.7, we’re proud to announce a separate edition of the Remote Desktop Commander Suite called Remote Desktop Commander Core. Remote Desktop Commander Core is a lightweight version of the Remote Desktop Commander Suite installer, bundled with special provisioning tools to make it easier to roll out our software to many different tenant environments, in a streamlined and replicable way.
Using Remote Desktop Commander Core, each tenant environment communicates with its own database located on a central SQL Server, or on an Azure SQL Database Server or Elastic Pool. In this fashion, even data collected from isolated tenant environments can be stored in a central SQL Server for review in our Remote Desktop Commander Client. And, as mentioned above, you can connect to any tenant database you wish, via a click of the mouse, with our new Remote Desktop Commander Client; in order to schedule reports, check performance dashboards, or run reports. Finally, given this new architecture, it’s also extremely easy to deploy our solution in Microsoft’s new Windows Virtual Desktop environment, which is inherently a multi-tenant architecture.
If you are an MSP or hoster that needs to rapidly deploy our software into multiple isolated tenant domains running RDS or WVD, please contact our support department to obtain the Remote Desktop Commander Core installer and related documentation.
Getting Ready To Migrate to Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop This Year? Version 4.7 of Remote Desktop Commander Is WVD Ready!
You may have seen some of the articles and videos Andy has done about Windows Virtual Desktop over at his Microsoft MVP resource site, http://www.purerds.org. We’re proud to announce that Version 4.7 of the Remote Desktop Commander Suite and Remote Desktop Commander Core editions have been fully tested in the Windows Virtual Desktop Public Preview program and they work wonderfully! We will be writing more about WVD deployment best practices soon, but Remote Desktop Commander fills a huge gap around management and monitoring for Windows Virtual Desktop in Azure.
Currently, management in WVD is limited to Powershell Scripts, and an extremely narrow web UI that does not give admins and help desk staff the ability to do things like terminate hung processes, shadow sessions, view detailed performance metrics about what’s going on in the environment, check connection quality, etc. Similarly, there is no monitoring mechanism for WVD, other than subscribing to Azure Monitor and then attempting to figure out what performance counters to monitor- all of which gets very expensive on a per-VM and per counter basis. Remote Desktop Commander, especially combined with Premium Management Features, provides a rich intra-tenant management and monitoring experience that is inexpensive to deploy and operate.
As WVD heads to general availability this year, we will continue adding more WVD specific features – such as consumption and reporting of special events from the WVD Diagnostics Service, and tighter integration with WVD Broker Service.
Remote Desktop Commander 4.7 Upgrade, Purchase, and Demo Links
Click here to learn more about the new Premium Management Features extension for the Remote Desktop Commander Client, and click here for a feature comparison between the Premium Management Features extension and the full Remote Desktop Commander Suite.