04. 12. 2019 Alessandro Romboli Unified Monitoring

Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Web Client

The Remote Desktop Services

Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Services are widely used by companies to let users use applications inside a server farm.

Typically the reasons to use Remote Desktop are:

  • Standardized environment and configuration
  • Easy maintenance during application version upgrades
  • Lower resource usage on the clients
  • Better bandwidth usage in case of a slow connection or high latency
  • Seamless integration with the option to push individual applications to the clients

Client-side Limits

The connection to a Remote Desktop farm uses a proprietary Microsoft protocol (RDP).

All the Windows clients by default have the RDP client pre-installed, but on non-Windows clients some troubles can arise.

Mac OS and Android clients can use a Microsoft App.

For Linux clients, some free RDP clients exist, but almost all of them have trouble now  during the initial connection due to the RDP protocol security requirements implemented by Microsoft due to the CredSSP vulnerability.

Remote Desktop Web Client:  The Unknown Feature

Since the release of Windows Server 2016, Microsoft has developed a Remote Desktop Services add-on: the Remote Desktop Web Client.

This add-on can be installed over an existing Remote Desktop farm and lets users access the organization’s Remote Desktop infrastructure through a compatible web browser. They can then interact with remote apps or desktops just like they would with a local PC, no matter where they are. Once you’ve set up your Remote Desktop web client, all that your users need to get started is the URL to access the client, their credentials, and a supported web browser.

No more RDP clients are required: just a modern HTML5 web browser.

Of course there are still some limitations, but in most contexts they have a low impact:

  • Printing is redirected to a Remote Desktop Virtual Printer which generates a PDF file.
    This PDF file can then be downloaded and printed locally on the client.
  • The web client currently only supports copying and pasting of text.

In any event, the web client is just an add-on, and doesn’t replace the old connection model.

The Web Client User Interface

This is an example of the login page on Mac OSX Catalina with the Safari web browser:

After the login, this is an example of a published Remote Desktop:

How to Monitor It?

As with the old-style Remote Desktop, the Web Client should also be monitored client-side with an Alyvix agent.

This is the only way to simulate user operations: the Alyvix product is designed for this job. It can repeat these tasks continuously, building up metrics based on common user RDS tasks.

For further details, see my previous Blogs about RDP monitoring.

Alessandro Romboli

Alessandro Romboli

System Integration Consultant at Würth Phoenix
My name is Alessandro and I joined Würth-Phoenix early in 2013. I have over 20 years of experience in the IT sector: For a long time I've worked for a big Italian bank in a very complex environment, managing the software provisioning for all the branch offices. Then I've worked as a system administrator for an international IT provider supporting several big companies in their infrastructures, providing high availability solutions and disaster recovery implementations. I've joined the VMware virtual infrastructure in early stage, since version 2: it was one of the first productive Server Farms in Italy. I always like to study and compare different technologies: I work with Linux, MAC OSX, Windows and VMWare. Since I joined Würth Phoenix, I could also expand my experience on Firewalls, Storage Area Networks, Local Area Networks, designing and implementing complete solutions for our customers. Primarily, I'm a system administrator and solution designer, certified as VMware VCP6 DCV, Microsoft MCP for Windows Server, Hyper-V and System Center Virtual Machine Manager, SQL Server, SharePoint. Besides computers, I also like photography, sport and trekking in the mountains.

Author

Alessandro Romboli

My name is Alessandro and I joined Würth-Phoenix early in 2013. I have over 20 years of experience in the IT sector: For a long time I've worked for a big Italian bank in a very complex environment, managing the software provisioning for all the branch offices. Then I've worked as a system administrator for an international IT provider supporting several big companies in their infrastructures, providing high availability solutions and disaster recovery implementations. I've joined the VMware virtual infrastructure in early stage, since version 2: it was one of the first productive Server Farms in Italy. I always like to study and compare different technologies: I work with Linux, MAC OSX, Windows and VMWare. Since I joined Würth Phoenix, I could also expand my experience on Firewalls, Storage Area Networks, Local Area Networks, designing and implementing complete solutions for our customers. Primarily, I'm a system administrator and solution designer, certified as VMware VCP6 DCV, Microsoft MCP for Windows Server, Hyper-V and System Center Virtual Machine Manager, SQL Server, SharePoint. Besides computers, I also like photography, sport and trekking in the mountains.

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