When you create a new Remote Desktop Services (RDS) deployment in itopia CAS, you have several methods of allowing users to connect into the environment. When you first configure your RDS deployment, CAS asks you to specify the external DNS domain to use for the deployment:
CAS uses this domain name along and the deployment code for your environment to create the connection point address for the RDS environment, in the format <code>.<domain name>. Both of these values are shown on the CAS Dashboard:
In the screenshot above, the deployment code is ITO and the domain name is itopialabs.com; therefore, the connection point address for the environment is ito.itopialabs.com (the address is case-insensitive). This is the address that is used for the SSL certificates and DNS records you must create for the environment, and it is the default address for users to connect to the environment.
Getting an RDP Client
For most deployments, itopia CAS uses the standard Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) to deliver the remote computing environment to end-users. In order to connect, users will need a RDP client for their local computer or mobile device.
All versions of Windows (since WIndows XP) include a built-in RDP client called Remote Desktop Connection. This client is compatible with all the connection options described below. No additional configuration is necessary.
Users on MacOS will need to perform a one-time installation of the Microsoft Remote Desktop app to connect to their desktops. This app is available at: apps.apple.com/us/app/microsoft-remote-desktop-10
Once installed, the app is compatible with all the connection options described below.
Google Android / ChromeOS
Users on Google Android (and most modern devices running ChromeOS) can download the Microsoft Remote Desktop app from the Google Play Store. The app is available at: play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.microsoft.rdc.android
Older ChromeOS devices may not be compatible with the Google Play Store. While there are some third-party RDP clients available for ChromeOS, itopia does not particularly recommend any of them; instead, consider using the HTML5-based RD Web client described below.
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.Download 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 remote desktop environment.
Note that MyRDP.Download does not yet support RemoteApp configurations. Whether the user's Collection Pool is configured in Full Desktop mode or RemoteApp mode, users connecting through MyRDP.Download will always connect using the Full Desktop mode.
RD Web Access Portal
In every RDS deployment, the RD Web server role is a mandatory part of the infrastructure. This role performs several tasks, one of which is publishing the RD Web Access portal. The portal allows users to access their published desktops and applications via web browser, which are then launched using their local Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) client. Because this role is not very resource-intensive, CAS co-hosts this role on the RD Gateway servers in the environment.
Users can access the RD Web Access Portal using any modern web browser: https://<connection point address>/RDWeb. For our itopia lab deployment, the address would be https://ito.itopialabs.com/RDWeb.
At the portal, users log in with their credentials and are presented with the remote desktops or RemoteApp applications that are part of their Collection Pool:
When they click a desktop or RemoteApp icon, a RDP file is downloaded to their local computer and, in most cases, auto-launches the Microsoft Remote Desktop client to connect them to their environment.
Tip: You can customize the title of the Workspace (in this case, "The Itopia Lab") by using the Set-RDWorkspace PowerShell cmdlet.
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://<connection point address>/RDWeb/feed/webfeed.aspx. Most clients will also accept the RD Web Access portal URL and auto-discover the Feed: https://<connection point address>/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://<connection point address>/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.
RD Web Client
Microsoft provides an HTML5-based RDP client that allows users to access their desktops and RemoteApps from directly within their web browser. The RD Web Client is not installed by default, but can be deployed to the RD Web server role using the instructions here.
Once the RD Web Client has been deployed, users can access it from the following URL: https://<connection point address>/RDWeb/webclient
From here, users will see an interface that is similar to the RD Web Access portal; however, when they click a RemoteApp or remote desktop, it will open the HTML5 RDP client directly within the browser window.