This is my third blog post in my series about desktop virtualization using Windows Server 2012 R2 and Microsoft Azure. In my previous blog post, I covered deploying your desktop virtualization infrastructure on premises or in Microsoft Azure. Now, how do you access the virtualized desktops? I'm glad you asked! That's the focus of today's blog (which is the simplest part of desktop virtualization). Today, I'll talk about how to connect a variety of devices and operating systems to the virtualized desktop sessions: by using a Remote Desktop Client app or the Remote Desktop Web Access (RD Web Access) role service and a browser.

Remote Desktop Client app

The first (and preferred) method for connecting to virtual desktop sessions is by using a Remote Desktop Client app. Windows includes a Remote Desktop Client app, but other devices will need to install an app from the corresponding app store.

Table 4 provides a list of the Remote Desktop Clients that Microsoft provides.

Table 3. Remote Desktop Clients that Microsoft provides

Clients

Description

Android

This client is supported on devices running Android version 2.2 and newer (including the Samsung KNOX Standard platform). For more information, see the following resources.

iOS

This client is supported on devices running iOS version 6.x and newer. For more information, see the following resources.

Mac

This client is supported on devices running Mac OS version 10.6.8 and newer. For more information, see the following resources.

Windows

This client is included as a part of the Windows 8.1 operating system. Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 can upgrade to Remote Desktop Protocol 8.1 (which is the version supported by Windows Server 2012 R2).

Windows Phone

This client is supported on devices running Windows Phone 8.1 operating system and newer. For more information, see the following resource.

 

In addition, a number of software vendors create clients that support the Remote Desktop Protocol for operating systems and devices not directly provided by Microsoft.

The high-level process for using the Remote Desktop Client app is as follows:

  1. Start the Remote Desktop Client app.
  2. Configure the fully qualified domain name (FQDN) for the Remote Desktop Services infrastructure.
  3. Configure other connection settings (e.g., display resolution, connection speed).
  4. Establish the session with the virtualized desktop by providing the correct user credentials.

Remote Desktop Web Access

The RD Web Access role service allows users to access their virtualized desktops by using a web browser.

The high-level process for connecting to virtualized desktops by using RD Web Access is as follows:

  1. In a web browser, browse to the URL for the RD Web Access server.
  2. Select the Remote Session to which you want to connect.
  3. Establish the session with the virtualized desktop by providing the correct user credentials.

Summary

As you can see, the Remote Desktop Services client-side component is straightforward to install and initiate. This user-friendliness is, of course, by design. Many times, this process will be performed by end users. The broad variety of devices supported by Remote Desktop Services allows virtually any device to remotely connect to your virtualized desktops.

In my next blog post, I'll talk about how you can manage and monitor your desktop virtualization. I'll see you then!

NEXT BLOG POST IN THIS SERIES:  Managing and monitoring desktop virtualization (Coming June 6)

Here are a few quick links to the previous two parts of this blog series: