Thursday, June 28, 2012

TechEd Europe 2012

One more day before TechEd Europe 2012 is over. It went by in a flash!



I was attending the 2012 edition of TechEd Europe as one of the Technical Learning Center Product Experts for VDI / RDS. I spend quite some time in the VDI Booth in the Expo hall giving demo’s and answering questions to attendees on what's new on the management of RDS. A lot of positive reactions on all that’s new for VDI / RDS in Windows Server 2012. Thanks everyone for dropping by!



imageIn between duties in the booth I was able to attend many really interesting sessions on RDS, VDI, App-V 5.0, UE-V and much more, and visit some of the other booths and vendors in de Expo Hall.

One more day to go, but all in all a great event! Compliments to Microsoft and the RAI for the organization and hopefully until next year!


RD Connection Broker High Availability in Windows Server 2012 (by RDS team)

imageI had already written some blog posts on the new Active-Active High Availability (HA) option in the past like RDS in WIN8 Feature highlight no. 1 Better High Availability of the RD Connection Broker and How to configure High Availability for RD Connection Broker on Windows 8 and RD Connection Broker HA – SQL Permissions and most recently RD Connection Broker HA and the RDP properties on the client.

But The Microsoft Remote Desktop Virtualization team released a nice blog post on MSDN on this subject as well. The details are show below.

“…In previous releases, the RD Connection Broker role service has supported an active/passive clustering model. This provided high availability in the case of component failure, but it did not address high scale requirements. The Active/Active Broker feature in Windows Server 2012 eliminates the need for clustering and provides a fully active/active model; with this model, two or more RD Connection Broker servers can be combined under a single DNS entry to provide both fault tolerance and load balancing. This prevents the RD Connection Broker server from being a single point of failure and also allows “scale out” as load demands.

The following diagram shows an Active/Active Broker deployment with one RD Virtualization Host server and one RD Session Host server. The RD Connection Broker servers are using a SQL database for storing data, and RDP clients are connecting to the RD Connection Broker servers using DNS Round Robin.


The end nodes (RD Virtualization Host, RD Session Host, and RD Web Access) are configured with the full list of all the fully qualified domain names (FQDNs) of the RD Connection Broker servers, and they can connect to any of the RD Connection Broker servers in the setup…”


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Remote Desktop Web Access single sign-on now easier to enable in Windows Server 2012

imageThe Microsoft RDS team posts a new blog that explain the way to setup Single Sign On (SSO) with Windows Server 2012. The setup has been made a lot easier compared to what you had to configure with Windows Server 2008 R2.

“…Hi, I’m Sergey, one of the developers on the team that produces Remote Desktop Services. In Windows Server 2008 R2, we introduced Web Single Sign-On (web SSO), which reduced the number of times a user was asked for credentials when accessing RemoteApp programs published through Remote Desktop Web Access (RD Web Access). Enabling this was complex and difficult for users. In this post, I'll explain how easy it is to set this up in Windows Server 2012. It basically works "out of the box…”


Thursday, June 21, 2012

New article: Troubleshooting RDS in Windows Server 2012


My new article titled "Troubleshooting RDS in Windows Server 2012" on just got published. The article is about ways to gather information to troubleshoot and debug RDS deployments using Windows Server 2012.

In this article we will look at some ways of collecting valuable information for troubleshooting issues in RDS environments when running Windows Server 2012 (up until now Windows Server 8 Beta…”

“…The different roles that are part of the Remote Desktop Services Platform have several log files, trace files and also event logs where information, statuses and errors are stored. This information can be rather useful when troubleshooting an installation or configuration.

The main part of this article will be around a log file that contains information about the installation and configuration process. This log file is called RDMSDeploymentUI.txt. You can find this log file…”

Read the complete article here:

Monday, June 18, 2012

Quest Workspace Desktop Virtualization (formerly vWorkspace) 7.6 is here!


imageQuest released version 7.6 of vWorkspace, what they now call Quest Workspace Desktop Virtualization! Some of the details below.

“…Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 Support (Experimental)
Quest Workspace Desktop Virtualization (formerly vWorkspace) 7.6 introduces support for Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 (experimental) to allow customers to enjoy the benefits of the next version of Windows today and prepare for a migration to Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 when Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 are officially released later this year. Specifically, we offer customers the ability to start benefiting from some of the great user experience improvements that Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 introduce. Once again, we are the first to market with this kind of support showing our intimate knowlegde of the Microsoft platform due to our great partnership. Please review the System Requirements document to see which configurations are supported.

User Workspace Context
Quest Workspace Desktop Virtualization (formerly vWorkspace) 7.6 introduces a feature called User Workspace Context that provides a wealth of information about the context of the user workspace such as latency and bandwidth, type of Connector used, type of device used, and vWorkspace Connector version so IT admins can gain valuable insights. These insights can be used when creating advanced targets. User Workspace Context is a perfect feature to support BYOD initiatives that are a IT priority for many customers today.

Support for SCVMM 2012 and SQL Server 2012
Quest Workspace Desktop Virtualization (formerly vWorkspace) 7.6 introduces support for the latest release of Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager, SCVMM 2012 and for the latest release of Microsoft SQL Server, SQL 2012 so they can reap the benefits in a vWorkspace environment…”

Source en read more:

Thursday, June 14, 2012

RDS Team: two new blog posts

imageI have blogged about many new features regarding RDS in Windows Server 8 and later Windows Server 2012 RC. The Microsoft RDS team released two new blog posts yesterday about Whats new in Windows Server 2012 RC and about RemoteFX VGPU. You can find the links below!

Remote Desktop Services “What’s New” in Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate ”…Hi, I’m Ben Meister from the Remote Desktop Virtualization team. We’ve been hard at work after the beta release earlier this year. This post highlights some of the features added and enhancements made in the Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate build. Special thanks to Snesha Foss and Shanmugam Kulandaivel for their major contributions to this post. By now there have been quite a few posts about Windows Server 2012 and the many features that Remote Desktop Services has introduced in this release. If you have not read them all, following are links…”

Your desktop will be a rich DX11-based experience, and your virtual GPU should be too “…When you take Windows 8 Release Preview home and launch it, you’ll see a rich and immersive experience accelerated by a DX11 desktop. Your VDI solution should focus on bringing all of that to you, all while tackling the challenges of distance and connecting from anywhere. You’ll want a touch interface, smooth animations that give a tactile feel, and the richest set of applications and compatibility. You’ll want the ecosystem of software, hardware, and the Windows operating system to bring that together. When RemoteFX v1 released in Windows 7 SP1 early last year, we introduced a set of technologies for a rich PC-like experience for VDI. It was the first place where we introduced and emphasized host-side remoting, a render-capture-encode pipeline, a highly efficient GPU-based encode, throttling based on client activity, ad a DirectX-enabled virtual graphics processing unit (VGPU). All these ideas proliferate more in Windows 8 Release Preview, and the VGPU gets better…”

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Passed the 100.000 page views!

Wow, this blog just passed the 100.000 page views border! I started this blog back in October 2010. Just did a quick check, 145 blog post so far. Thanks to all readers for your interest in the content I write here!

If there’s any RDS / VDI related topic you’d like to see discussed here, or if you’d like to see something be changed or added, please let me know!

Freek Berson
Twitter, E-mail, LinkedIn

The Remote Desktop Web Access website does not show any published RemoteApp programs

Revision 2.0 of KB 2705427 was just released. I don’t recall ever seeing the 1.0 version of this KB, but it’s an interesting one.

imageArticle ID: 2705427 - Last Review: June 13, 2012 - Revision: 2.0
The Remote Desktop Web Access website does not show any published RemoteApp programs if a RemoteApp source is offline in Windows Server 2008 R2.

“…Consider the following scenario:

  • You configure a Remote Desktop Web Access (RD Web Access) server on a computer that is running Windows Server 2008 R2.
  • You install the Remote Desktop Session Host role service on some servers that are running Windows Server 2008 R2, and then you publish some RemoteApp applications on these servers.
  • You configure these Remote Desktop Session Host servers as the RemoteApp source of the RD Web Access server.
  • You shut down one of the Remote Desktop Session Host servers.

In this scenario, you notice that the list of the RemoteApp applications in the RD Web Access website is returned as blank.

This issue occurs because of a design flaw in the RD Web component. The RD Web component stops enumerating applications as soon as the component encounters a session host that is unavailable…”


Microsoft Security Bulletin MS12-036 - Critical

A new vulnerability in Remote Desktop was announced yesterday by Microsoft in the Security Bulletin MS12-036.

“…This security update resolves a privately reported vulnerability in the Remote Desktop Protocol. The vulnerability could allow remote code execution if an attacker sends a sequence of specially crafted RDP packets to an affected system. By default, the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is not enabled on any Windows operating system. Systems that do not have RDP enabled are not at risk.

This security update is rated Critical for all supported editions of Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008; Critical for Windows 7 for 32-bit Systems Service Pack 1 and Windows 7 for x64-based Systems Service Pack 1; and Critical for all supported editions of Windows Server 2008 R2. The security update is also rated Moderate for all supported editions of Windows XP and Windows Vista, and Moderate for Windows 7 for 32-bit Systems and Windows 7 for x64-based Systems. For more information, see the subsection, Affected and Non-Affected Software, in this section.

The security update addresses the vulnerability by modifying the way that the Remote Desktop Protocol processes packets in memory. For more information about the vulnerability, see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) subsection for the specific vulnerability entry under the next section, Vulnerability Information.

Recommendation. The majority of customers have automatic updating enabled and will not need to take any action because this security update will be downloaded and installed automatically. Customers who have not enabled automatic updating need to check for updates and install this update manually. For information about specific configuration options in automatic updating, see Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 294871.

For administrators and enterprise installations, or end users who want to install this security update manually, Microsoft recommends that customers apply the update immediately using update management software, or by checking for updates using the Microsoft Update service.…”


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

RDS Team Blog: Follow-up to Microsoft Security Advisory 2718704: Why and How to Reactivate License Servers in Terminal Services and Remote Desktop Services

imageNew communication around the Security Advisory 2718704, related to the Licensing of Terminal Services and Remote Desktop Services, was published on the RDS Team blog yesterday. Details see below:

“…Given the recent communications from the Microsoft Security Response Center regarding measures taken by Microsoft to address the risk of unauthorized software certificate signatures associated with “Flame” malware, we wanted to share information describing how this impacts license servers in Terminal Services and Remote Desktop Services.

This change requires no specific action on the part of the Terminal Services or Remote Desktop Services administrator unless the administrator needs to set up a new or reactivate an existing Terminal Services license server or Remote Desktop license server, or install a new client access license (CAL) pack on a license server.

In conjunction with Microsoft placing certificates into the Windows Untrusted Certificate Store through Windows Update, we updated our certificates in the Microsoft Product Activation Clearinghouse. The update of certificates in the Microsoft Product Activation Clearinghouse requires customers to reactivate their license server before performing any administration activity that interacts with the Microsoft Product Activation Clearinghouse—even if the Windows Update was not installed.

If you do need to reactivate a license server or add a new CAL pack, the information below provides details on how to do so…”

Complete blog:

Monday, June 4, 2012

Managing multiple RDS Deployments from one console with Windows Server 2012

In a previous blog post I wrote about the differences between Windows Server 8 Beta and Windows Server 2012 RC after my first quick review. (Read here). One of the changes I pointed out was the fact that there a new option is introduced Server Manager called “Connect to Another Deployment” and that the options was greyed out.


I just figured out when this gets enabled. In order to connect to another deployment we need to add the Server, more precisely the RD Connection Broker servers, of this deployment to the server manager first.

We choose the option “Add other servers to manage”.


and select a RD Connection Broker from another deployment. We then refresh the Server Manager console, go back to the deployment overview and…..

image error. Apparently we cannot combine deployments that are clustered (i.e. contain multiple RD Connection Brokers in HA) with non clustered environments from one Deployment Overview. As of yet, I’m not sure why that is as of yet. There might be an issue with the fact that the other deployment still runs Server 8 Beta so I will try this again later when my complete LAB is running 2012 RC. As a test I removed one of my RD Connection Broker servers from the 2nd deployment (which was in HA). After that, the option “Connect to Another Deployment” becomes available and we’re able to select the other deployment by specifying the RDCB


After the selecting we are able to switch RDS deployments and manage another deployment, definitely useful in environments where you need to manage and maintain multiple deployment!

Free e-book: Introducing Windows Server 2012

imageMicrosoft has released a free e-book entitled “Introducing Windows Server 2012”.

The Introduction:
“…Windows Server 2012 is probably the most significant release of the Windows Server platform ever. With an innovative new user interface, powerful new management tools, enhanced Windows PowerShell support, and hundreds of new features in the areas of networking, storage, and virtualization, Windows Server 2012 can help IT deliver more while reducing costs. Windows Server 2012 also was designed for the cloud from the ground up and provides a foundation for building both public and private cloud solutions to enable businesses to take advantage of the many benefits of cloud computing.

This book represents a “first look” based on the public beta release of Windows
Server 2012 and is intended to help IT professionals familiarize themselves with
the capabilities of the new platform. Although certain features may change
between now and RTM, much of the basic functionality likely will remain as
described here, meaning that most of what you learn from reading this book will
continue to benefit you as you begin to evaluate and deploy Windows Server
2012 in your own environment…”

Download the e-book

Friday, June 1, 2012

Windows Server 2012 RC is available–What's new on RDS?

Windows Server 2012 Release Candidate (build 4800) is here. The download was made available by Microsoft yesterday. I did the download and performed the installation in my existing LAB to see if there are new things related to RDS in the 2012 RC version compared to Windows Server 8 Beta.

I deployed a Quick Scenario Based Installation on the 2012 RC server.

First thing I noticed, besides the minor font changes, is the naming of the components! As an RDS MVP I’ve heard about this in Redmond back in February, but this is first time the new names are made public inside the new OS.

Windows Server 8 Beta Windows Server 2012 RC
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Virtual machine-based desktop deployment
Session Virtualization Session-based desktop deployment

Windows Server 8 Beta:

Windows Server 2012 RC:

Are these better names then before? Time will tell, but I think this way the difference between the two flavors can now be better explained.

Second thing I noticed is that the deployment overview picture format has slightly changed, circles around the + signs and some changes on the font there as well. It looks a bit more Metro now.

Windows Server 8 Beta:

Windows Server 2012 RC:

The interactive interface of the deployment overview picture has changes too. Where in Windows Server 8 Beta you could e.g right-click the RD Licensing tab and have these options available:


With Windows Server 2012 RC you cannot right-click anymore. You now have to left-click it to get the “Add RD Licensing Servers” dialog. Which means that the “Remove RD Licensing Servers” is gone. You can however, still perform the remove action from the Roles and Features screen.


New in Windows Server 2012 RC is also the option to connect to another deployment from the deployment overview. This option is still greyed out, but it seems you can now also maintain multiple deployments from one deployment overview by remotely connecting to it.


Inside the deployment properties we see a change in the way the certificates are named for the various roles. (remember that I blogged earlier about how certificates can now be managed from one place).

Windows Server 8 Beta:

Windows Server 2012 RC:

The names here now actually match the names of the roles, which makes it much more clear.

On the Session Collection part (remember that I blogged earlier about how the Quick deployment pre-configures some Remote Apps for you) there has been a change in the amount of RemoteApps that is pre-configured for you during the setup.

Where this was the default with Windows Server 8 Beta


You now get 3 RemoteApps by default, which I guess is okay. Who would want to demo the ODBC connector or iSCSI initiator anyway :-)


On the Session Collection Properties we see a minor name change as well. The Connections tab is now called Session, which I guess makes more sense since were configuring session settings not connection settings here.

Windows Server 8 Beta

Windows Server 2012 RC

Furthermore the Configure Client Settings tab is now visible and working. With Windows Server 8 Beta you got the message below: (or at least I did).


With Windows Server 2012 RC we have all the options available to set client settings for the complete Session Collection, which is great!


As far as I can tell the RD Web Access didn’t itself didn’t change much, aside from the new name and logo of course.

These are the differences I spotted at a first glance while looking at a Quick Deployment. If I come up with some more changes, you can definitely expect them to be posted on this blog! It’s now time to setup a new lab with all servers running Windows Server 2012 RC.

And yes, I’m excited about this release!