Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (RDS) is a great platform for publishing desktops and applications to end-users in corporate environments. Multi-user OS support and low-bandwidth remoting protocol make RDS an excellent alternative for legacy client-server deployments but also pose unique management challenges for RDS admins. ControlUp helps RDS admins solve some of the unique management, monitoring and troubleshooting challenges that exist in any RDS infrastructure.

Simplifying RDS Management

The built-in RDS management console (e.g. TS Admin) provides basic info on running user sessions and processes but lacks much needed visibility into performance metrics. In addition, user session management includes only a few limited actions, such as logoff and send message.

ControlUp provides a rich yet simple management experience for RDS admins. The real-time performance views display metrics for servers, user sessions and processes and also provide a quick dashboard view for an entire RDS farm. The robust management module goes beyond basic user session actions and provides server level management actions such as comparing registry keys, pushing file folders to multiple servers, managing services and comparing installed patches.

Troubleshooting Performance Issues

By design, each RDS server runs multiple user sessions on a single OS platform and sometimes an individual user session may have an adverse effect on other sessions running on the same RDS server. A single process running inside a user session might cause poor end-user experience for dozens of users running on the same box.

From the server level all the way to specific user sessions and processes, RDS admins quickly spot performance issues across multiple layers with ControlUp’s action oriented dashboard. Proactively detect the root cause of a plethora of issues by analyzing a correlation of real-time performance metrics.

End-User Experience Monitoring

Are your end-users experiencing slow app performance and bang on your door incensed? If so, it is essential that end-users have a positive experience. Issues involving slow logons or any other can have a negative impact on the end-user experience and therefore need to be solved with expediency.

By alerting the RDS team when defined metrics cross their thresholds, ControlUp provides early detection of issues that might affect the end-user experience. One such example is sending an alert via e-mail or push notifications when there are slow user logons. Once detected, the real-time views can help troubleshoot the issue by displaying a breakdown of the logon process into major phases such as User Profile, Group Policy, and Desktop Load times.

Application Troubleshooting

The main purpose of any RDS server is to publish business applications to end-users. Frequent patches, dependencies on components - like .Net or Java runtime, and undocumented configuration changes can cause applications to fail on a single RDS server or an entire silo.

ControlUp enables admins to compare the Windows configuration between a working and non-working RDS server and quickly isolate the element causing the application to fail. This includes the Windows Registry, File-System, Services and installed programs and updates.

Supporting End-Users

A common routine for any sysadmin is to interact with end-users. There are a plethora of ways you have to support end-users, whether troubleshooting an application issue inside a user session, sending a message to users in a remote branch or even logging users off from a specific server in order to complete an image update, just to name a few.

In addition to basic user actions like ‘Logoff’ and ‘Send Message’, ControlUp includes a rich array of contextual management actions that enable efficient troubleshooting of user related issues. For example, the ‘Kill Policy’ user action temporarily removes Group Policy restrictions that lockdown the user Desktop, thus enabling a quick way to change settings and run commands inside a restricted user session.

Historical Reporting

When an end-user reports s/he had a performance issue “last Tuesday”, it’s the admin’s job to figure out which RDS server was used at the time in order to start the troubleshooting process. Other reasons an admin needs historical user session reports include usage trend analysis, license consumption, login tracking for security purposes and application usage analysis.

ControlUp Insights enables customers to save unlimited performance and usage data and offer a plethora of handy reports including user activity, user experience, application activity, resource consumption (hosts, servers, and even processes data) system health and licensing reports.