itopia's Cloud Automation Stack provides several methods for your end-users to access their Cloud Desktop environments. All Cloud Desktop deployments leverage the RD Gateway service, which provides a TLS-encrypted connection point for your users over the public Internet and allows secure access from anywhere without the need for VPN.
Cloud Desktops leverage Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (RDS), and are therefore compatible with any client software that supports the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). For best performance, itopia recommends using the official Microsoft Remote Desktop client, which is available for:
- Windows - included in every version of Windows
- MacOS - Available from the Mac App Store
- iOS and iPadOS - Available from the Apple App Store
- Android and ChromeOS - Available from the Google Play Store
Cloud Desktop deployments also include the RD Web Client, a browser-based RDP client that works with any modern, HTML5-compliant desktop web browser.
In addition to the built-in connection options described below, itopia also provides MyRDP.download, a custom portal that allows users to download their customized RDP file just by entering their username. MyRDP provides intelligent geo-routing for users that are assigned to a multi-region Collection Pool and is the recommended method for users to access their Cloud Desktop.
For deployments created after August 2020, the MyRDP portal is disabled by default. Administrators can enable or disable MyRDP access for each deployment in the Deployment Settings section of the CAS Admin Portal (if the options are disabled, you will need to click the Edit button at the top of the screen:
NOTE: the MyRDP Portal does not yet support RemoteApp configurations. Whether the user's Collection Pool is configured in Full Desktop mode or RemoteApp mode, users connecting through the MyRDP Portal will always connect using the Full Desktop mode.
RD Web Portal
Cloud Desktop deployments include a customized version of the RD Web Access portal, a web-based launcher interface for users to access their Cloud Desktop resources.
When users log in to the portal, they are presented with the Cloud Desktops that have been assigned to them (via their Collection Pool). Clicking on a resource downloads a preconfigured RDP file that can then be launched from their Remote Desktop client.
The RD Web Portal is accessible via web browser. The URL is unique for each deployment and, in multi-region deployments, each region will have its own URL. Therefore, users should be instructed to use their correct region to provide the best experience. You can find the address for each region on the CAS Admin Portal dashboard, under Deployment Details.
In the example above, to access the RD Web Portal for the Europe region, the URL would be https://xa24.cloudvdi.net
External access end points are created using itopia's cloudvdi.net domain name by default. You can replace these with custom domains by following the instructions in the Post-Deployment Tasks article.
RD Web Client
The RD Web Client provides a similar experience to the RD Web Portal; users log in with their credentials and are presented with their assigned Cloud Desktop resources. However, the RD Web Client launches the Cloud Desktop session using a web-based RDP client, allowing the user to access their desktop directly from their web browser.
The RD Web Client is accessible from the RD Web Portal for your deployment:
https://<external access end point>
If you wish to have users access the RD Web Client directly (without going through the RD Web Portal), the URL is:
https://<external access end point>/RDWeb/WebClient
You may also reconfigure IIS redirection to point your root URL to the RD Web Client subdirectory; this way, users navigating to https://<external access end point> will be directed to the RD Web Client rather than the RD Web Portal. For this behavior, IIS redirection must be manually reconfigured on each RD Gateway server in the environment.
Note that there are some limitations to the RD Web Client experience, most notably:
- Local microphone and webcam redirection are not available
- File copy to/from the local desktop are not available (text copy is available, if enabled in the Collection Pool settings)
- Media streaming quality may be reduced compared to the native Remote Desktop client
RD Web Feed
Another component of the RD Web server role is the RD Web Feed. Users can configure their Remote Desktop client to "subscribe" to the Web Feed in order to display an up-to-date list of their desktops and RemoteApps directly in the client:
Instructions for subscribing to the RD Web Feed from a Remote Desktop Client are available for:
- Windows 10 Remote Desktop App (UWP / Windows Store version)
- Microsoft Remote Desktop 10 for MacOS
- Microsoft Remote Desktop for iOS / iPadOS
- Microsoft Remote Desktop for Android
In any of these instances, you will be prompted to specify the Feed URL. The full feed URL is: https://<external access end point>/RDWeb/feed/webfeed.aspx. Most clients will also accept the RD Web Access portal URL and auto-discover the Feed: https://<external access end point>/RDWeb
Users can also subscribe to the RD Web Feed in Windows (Windows 7 or newer). When subscribed through Windows, users can access their remote desktops and RemoteApps directly from their Start menu:
To configure Windows to subscribe to the RD Web Feed:
- From the desktop, click Start and type RemoteApp and Desktop Connections. Click on the Control Panel item that is displayed. A Control Panel window will appear.
- In the Control Panel, click Access RemoteApps and desktops. A new window will appear.
- In the Access RemoteApp and desktops window, enter the Feed URL: https://<external access end point>/RDWeb/feed/webfeed.aspx and click Next.
- On the Ready to set up the Connection screen, review the information and click Next.
- If prompted for credentials, specify your user credentials for the RDS environment and click OK. If your RDS deployment is using an extended Active Directory and the computer is member of the same domain, your local credentials may be automatically used to authenticate.
- On the You have successfully set up the following connection screen, review the information and click Finish. Your desktops or RemoteApps should now appear in the Start menu.
Tip: You can configure a DNS record to allow users to automatically locate the Web Feed URL using their email address. Instructions can be found here.