Now we’ve come to my fourth and final blog post. If you missed the first three parts, I invite you to check them out today desktop virtualization deployment overview, deploying desktop virtualization, and accessing desktop virtualization. In this post, I want to talk about the products, services, and tools that are available to help you manage and monitor your desktop virtualization solution. I'll discuss each tool and talk about how it can help you ensure that your desktop virtualization infrastructure remains highly available, performs well, and is malware resistant.

Windows Server tools

Let’s talk about the tools that come with Windows Server 2012 R2. You can use these tools for on-premises or Microsoft Azure deployments. Some of the Windows Server 2012 R2 tools that you can use to help manage and monitor your desktop virtualization solution include:

  • Remote Desktop Connection Manager. Remote Desktop Connection Manager lets you configure and manage the resources that are available through remote desktop connections and RemoteApp. These resources include virtual desktops. Virtual desktops include virtual machines (VMs) in virtual desktop pools and personal virtual desktops.
  • Windows Performance Monitor. Windows Performance Monitor allows you to view real-time and historical performance information for the physical or virtual servers in your desktop virtualization infrastructure.
  • Resource Monitor. You use Resource Monitor to analyze the resource usage for Windows Server 2012 R2 and the apps running on Windows Server 2012 R2.
  • Event Viewer. You use Event Viewer to browse and manage the event logs, which are invaluable for evaluating system health and troubleshooting.

Table 4 provides an overview of the Windows Server tools at a glance.

Table 4. Windows Server tools at a glance

Aspect

Description

Overview

  • No cost above the cost for Windows Server 2012.
  • Offers well-known tools that are familiar to every IT pro.
  • Provides valuable tools for diagnosis and troubleshooting.

Best usage

Except for the Remote Desktop Connection Manager, these tools are great for diagnosis or troubleshooting individual servers, but they’re not the best solution for managing and monitoring all aspects of a larger desktop virtualization infrastructure.

 

System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager

System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager provides extensive management of your desktop virtualization infrastructure throughout the entire IT lifecycle. Table 5 provides an overview of the System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager at a glance.

Table 5. System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager at a glance

Aspect

Description

Overview

  • Manages the entire IT lifecycle.
  • Manages desktop virtualization infrastructures from the very simple to the very complex.
  • Can deploy and manage apps on RD Session Host servers.
  • Integrates with Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) 5.0 to manage virtualized apps.
  • Can be used on premises, in Microsoft Azure, or with both.
  • Can deploy and manage software updates.
  • Provides antivirus and anti-malware protection.
  • Offers a well-known management environment that is familiar to IT pros.
  • Provides valuable tools for diagnosis and troubleshooting.
  • Provides extensive reporting capabilities.

Best usage

Use System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager in enterprise-level and/or mission-critical production environments where large numbers of users or apps are supported.

 

System Center 2012 R2 Operations Manager

System Center 2012 R2 Operations Manager provides extensive health monitoring and proactive notification of health issues in desktop virtualization infrastructures. Table 6 provides an overview of System Center 2012 R2 Operations Manager at a glance.

Table 6. System Center 2012 R2 Operations Manager at a glance

Aspect

Description

Overview

  • Provides health monitoring of the desktop services infrastructure and the apps running in the infrastructure.
  • Monitors desktop virtualization infrastructures from the very simple to the very complex.
  • Provides proactive notification of any changes to the health state by using a variety of notification methods.
  • Helps perform root-cause analysis for changes in the health state.
  • Can be used on premises, in Microsoft Azure, or with both.
  • Well-known management environment that is familiar to IT pros.
  • Provides valuable tools for diagnosis and troubleshooting.
  • Provides extensive reporting capabilities.

Best usage

Use System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager in enterprise-level and/or mission-critical production environments where large numbers of users or apps are supported.

 

Microsoft Azure RemoteApp

Microsoft Azure RemoteApp enables you to leverage enterprise grade infrastructure while enabling your users to access Windows-based applications from a variety of mobile devices. Table 7 provides an overview of the Azure RemoteApp at a glance.

Table 7. Azure RemoteApp at a glance

Aspect

Description

Overview

  • Ability to scale with minimal cost.
  • Users can access Windows-based applications from a variety of clients.
  • Data and resources are protected.

Best usage

In enterprise-level and/or mission-critical production environments that need access to Windows-based applications on a variety of clients.

Microsoft Azure Management Portal

As you might guess, you would use the Microsoft Azure Management Portal for Microsoft Azure only or in hybrid desktop virtualization deployments. Table 6 provides an overview of the Azure Management Portal at a glance.

Table 8. Azure Management Portal at a glance

Aspect

Description

Overview

  • Provides health and status monitoring of Microsoft Azure resources, including virtual servers, storage, switches, networks, and load-balancers.
  • Works with most major web browsers (Internet Explorer 9 and newer and the latest versions of Firefox, Chrome, and Safari).

Best usage

In enterprise-level and/or mission-critical production desktop virtualization infrastructures that run in Microsoft Azure.

 

Summary

As you can see, many management and monitoring resources are available for your desktop virtualization solution, regardless of whether it’s on premises or in Microsoft Azure or both! You can use any combination of these products, tools, and services to provide a comprehensive management solution. You can use Window Server tools, System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager, System Center 2012 R2 Operations Manager, Azure RemoteApp, and the Azure Management portal to reduce the level of effort required to manage and monitor your desktop virtualization solution and the apps running in your solution.

This wraps up my series of blogs about desktop virtualization using Window Server 2012 R2 and Microsoft Azure. Create your own desktop virtualization solution by downloading an evaluation version of Windows Server 2012 R2 and a trial subscription of Microsoft Azure. Experience for yourself what I've been talking about in these blogs. Thanks for reading this series! Until next time!