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 the Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and are therefore compatible with any client software that supports 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 that include Remote Desktop Services (RDS) also include the RD Web Client, a browser-based RDP client that works with any modern, HTML5-compliant desktop web browser. The RD Web Client is not compatible with Windows 10 Cloud Desktops and is not available in Windows 10 Only Deployments. For more information on deployment types, review the article What is a Deployment?
Cloud VDI Portal
The itopia Cloud VDI Portal is an authenticated web portal that allows users to download customized RDP files for their Cloud VDI desktops and applications. The Cloud VDI Portal 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.
The cloud VDI portal is available at https://portal.cloudvdi.net
Users log into the Cloud VDI Portal with the same user credentials they use for their Cloud VDI desktop. Once they have authenticated, users can connect to their Cloud VDI desktop or launch RemoteApps to which they are assigned.
The Cloud VDI Portal offers several key features for end-users:
- Users can see and launch all of their assigned RemoteApps and desktops
- Users with dedicated Session Hosts can shut down and reboot their Session Host VMs (available for Collection Pools configured as RDS - Dedicated and Windows 10 - Dedicated)
- Users can change their own Cloud VDI / Active Directory password
- For desktops and applications that are deployed to multiple regions, users are automatically connected to their nearest GCP region for optimal network performance. Users can also manually select a different region, for example if they are having trouble connecting to their nearest region
itopia RDP Client
itopia provides a custom Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) client that's designed to integrate with the Cloud VDI Portal. When users install the itopia RDP Client, they will have the option to enable single sign-on (SSO) from the Cloud VDI Portal to their desktop. When a user has installed the itopia RDP Client and has enabled the client in the Cloud VDI Portal, they will not be prompted to sign in to their Windows desktop when connecting to their Cloud VDI Session.
The itopia RDP Client is available for Windows, MacOS, and Linux. Instructions for installing and enabling the itopia RDP Client are provided in the Cloud VDI Portal.
The itopia RDP Client has several important limitations compared to the Microsoft Remote Desktop Client:
- File uploads and downloads are not supported; users can copy/paste text and images if Clipboard Redirection is enabled in their Collection Pool.
- Media streaming quality may be reduced compared to the Microsoft Remote Desktop client
- Some network proxy configurations may be incompatible with the itopia RDP Client
|NOTE: The MyRDP Portal will be retired on March 31, 2021. Users accessing the MyRDP Portal after this date will be redirected to the Cloud VDI Portal automatically. Customers are advised to direct their users to the new Cloud VDI Portal for an improved experience and enhanced security.|
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.
Note that 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.
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:
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.
|NOTE: CAS deployments created prior to August 2020 may not have the updated RD Web Portal and/or the RD Web Client included in their deployment. If you are unable to access the RD Web Portal for your deployment, contact itopia Support and request the updated RD Web Portal package.|
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://itd-europe-west3.itopiacloud.com
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.
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.
|NOTE: The RD Web Portal is part of Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (RDS) and is only available in CAS deployments that include Microsoft RDS. Windows 10 Only deployments do not include the RD Web Portal or the RD Web Client, and Windows 10 desktops are not accessible from the RD Web Portal or the RD Web Client.|
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:
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.