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Must-Have Tool: Remote Desktop Connection Manager

November 7th, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

I think most of us have used Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection (mstsc.exe), which is used to connect to a remote server using RDP protocol. If you have more than several remote servers to connect, it can be very inconvenient to navigator through them. Microsoft knew that and created a new tool called Remote Desktop Connection Manager. You can download it for free at Microsoft site here.

A big benefit of the Remote Desktop Connection Manager is that it consolidates all the connections within single application and organizes them in a nice tree hierarchy. Clicking on one node in the tree brings up the remote screen in the content pane. You can also display several resized screens in the content pane.

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Another benefit is derived from the tree hierarchy, which is inheritance. It’s not the same inheritance in object oriented programming, but similar. A child node in the connection tree can inherit properties like username and password from its parent. If your virtual machines share same username and password, you can define them at the highest node in the tree. It can be a huge time saver. Other properties can be inherited too, but I found this to be most useful.

Now why is it a must-have for VMware administrators?

Like it or not, Windows operating systems are the dominant OS running on ESXi in typical enterprise. It’s even true when it comes to VMware View, which only supports Windows. Therefore, VMware administrators mostly have to deal with many Windows. In theory, VMware administrators just need to take care of the lower level virtual machine hardware. In reality, many, if not all, administrators have to deal with operating systems too. If that is the case, you will find the Remote Desktop Connection Manager handy as I do.

Another important factor that makes the tool a must-have is performance. You actually use the Windows via the virtual machine console in vSphere Client. Better than Remote Desktop Connection Manager or RDP is that it does not even require Windows is installed and assigned an IP address on the machine. But the price is that the traffic goes to the hypervisor management network, therefore it can slow down when you have many virtual machine consoles open.

When you have many Windows machine to manage, you want to use the Remote Desktop Connection Manager. You can manage much larger number of virtual machines without performance issue, and cleaner interface without distraction by details on virtual machine, cluster, storage, etc. Update: I’ve created a tool called DoubleCloud VM Connector that retrieves virtual machine inventory tree from vCenter/ESXi and launches Remote Desktop Connection Manager with one click.

When I searched Internet, I also got a similar tool at Sourceforge which hosts the vijava API I created. It seems to have pretty good features, in particular its support of multiple protocol thus makes it a choice for cross platform connections. I haven’t used but found it interesting. Should you have experience using it, please feel free to share.

  1. November 7th, 2012 at 02:27 | #1

    Must-Have Tool: Remote Desktop Connection Manager (DoubleCloud) http://t.co/iky783Iz

  2. November 7th, 2012 at 02:35 | #2

    Must-Have Tool: Remote Desktop Connection Manager (DoubleCloud) http://t.co/7gMsU02f

  3. daunce_
    November 7th, 2012 at 05:52 | #3

    It’s a great tool that not many sysadmin’s know about. I only wish it had a search function like the vSphere client. Having lots of servers with similar names can make it difficult to find the right one. I’ve just become lazy using vSphere inventory search too often.

  4. Craig Dalrymple
    November 7th, 2012 at 11:13 | #4

    how about an app that can manage all of the following

    RDP (Remote Desktop/Terminal Server)
    VNC (Virtual Network Computing)
    ICA (Citrix Independent Computing Architecture)
    SSH (Secure Shell)
    Telnet (TELecommunication NETwork)
    HTTP/HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol)
    Raw Socket Connections

    Try http://www.mremoteng.org/ ?

    been using it for years and is a crucial part of my sysadmin tool kit.

  5. November 7th, 2012 at 14:34 | #5

    Love mRemoteNG, have used it for years. Even more muster have!

  6. November 12th, 2012 at 11:58 | #6

    Thanks Craig, Martin, for sharing the mRemoteNG. I found it’s great too especially in a mixed environment!

  7. Scott
    November 21st, 2012 at 08:10 | #7

    At our office we use the pay for version of RoyalTS. It integrates pings and other commands for VM’s. We love it. I’m going to have to check out remoteNG tho…

  8. tomek
    December 12th, 2012 at 18:07 | #8

    this tool has a terrible bug – storing password as a clear text
    Does anybody now how to prevent it to show my administrators password?becouse when i leave my computer unlocked anybody can find what password that i have, clicking on check box sore password as a clear text

  9. Aaron K
    March 15th, 2013 at 14:15 | #9

    Love the tool. Thanks so much for building this. It helps us out a lot.

    Any possibility you could add in the folder hierarchy from vCenter? I will document how to use the tool and can send you a copy if you want.

  10. March 22nd, 2013 at 10:57 | #10

    Thanks Aaron, Glad you like it. If you have the document, I can append it to my post.

    I thought about it when I first implemented it. I will find time on it later.


  11. August 1st, 2013 at 07:27 | #11

    Thank you for the information. Remote support or desktop management application allows you to control computers from a centralized location. The IT department can benefit from use of such software as they can access any computer in the corporate network from a central location using the software. RHUB Communication is a leading provider of remote support appliances. The remote support appliance offered by the company allows the support staff to provide unattended support to remote computers. Some of the advanced features that are worth mentioning include remote reboot of the supported computer and collaborative remote support.

  12. March 14th, 2016 at 07:00 | #12

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  1. November 14th, 2012 at 00:58 | #1
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  3. November 3rd, 2013 at 23:49 | #3