Test-Drive the Strong Sides of Windows Cloud Hosting with Remote Desktop Access

| April 7, 2015

rpd win nodeOne of the main advantages of Windows Server OS over other systems is a powerful and intuitive graphical interface, that allows any user (even a new one without special technical knowledge) to work with it and manage the server using a wide variety of in-built tools (like Server Manager for the main server settings) and third-party supported applications. Thus, implementation of easy access to the Windows “Cloud Desktop” became one of the crucial points for the .NET/Windows Hosting feature, provided within the recently presented Jelastic 3.1 release.

For ensuring this, Jelastic delivers all the Windows-based nodes with the embedded Remote Desktop Protocol support, which allows you to connect to the virtual desktop of your Windows machine and perform any required server configurations through it as usual.

In order to get to know which of the provided instances suits your needs best and to learn more about the possibilities they provide, refer to our recent A New Resident at Jelastic Polyglot Platform: .NET/Windows Beta Hosting blog post.

Furthermore, striving to significantly simplify and accelerate establishment of the RDP connection for our users, we have integrated a special Guacamole tool to the Jelastic dashboard. It represents a clientless remote desktop gateway, which is run from within the web-browser by virtue of HTML5, and does not require any additional plugins or client software to be installed. Nevertheless, in case this method does not suit to you despite all the inherent benefits, you are free to apply any local remote desktop client that you are used to working with - Jelastic never puts any limits on you, thus willingly grants such a possibility.

Note: due to the specifics of implementation, the amount of concurrent RDP connections to a single node is limited to two accounts. Herewith, each account can only be used by one user at one time.

So below, we’ll examine both methods (i.e. through a browser and through the local client) of establishing an RDP connection in detail. Let’s get started!

RDP Connection via Guacamole

The required workflow for accessing the server’s desktop through this tool is similar for all Windows-based nodes. For instant access just after the node’s creation, you can use the direct one-time Guacamole link in the received email. Otherwise, the required operations should be performed through the dashboard.

Let’s consider it on the example of the IIS application server.

1. To enter Guacamole, click on the Open in browser point inside the expandable Remote desktop list next to the IIS 8, MSSQL 2012 or Windows VPS node.

rdp for windows

2. After that, you’ll be redirected to the Guacamole panel, where you are already logged in.

guacamole remote desktop

On the page itself, you’ll see two sections: Recent Connections and All Connections. The first one shows the most recent of your connections (if there are any) and the second - a list of all available connections for the current instance. Simply choose the required one and you’ll be redirected to the appropriate desktop.

Note that application server, database and VPS connections are shown and accessed separately, thus, for example, you won’t see MSSQL and VPS desktop connection links if accessing Guacamole through IIS server, as well as nodes from other environments.

3. Another option is to select Open in browser for a separate node and in such a way, directly connect to a corresponding desktop, skipping the step of node selection.

direct rdp connect windows

Beside that, in the same menu you can find:

  • Reset RDP password option
  • Info with short information on establishing the RDP connection via a local client
  • link for establishing the RDP connection via your local client (see the detailed instruction on this below).

4. Once a connection to the remote desktop is established, you’ll see the Server Manager window opened.

remote desktop server manager

Now you can start managing your server.

RDP Connection via Local Client

In case you prefer to work with a local remote desktop client, you’ll need to use the credentials from the email notification, sent to you during the corresponding environment creation. The tools you may want to use, are: Remote desktop (for Windows), KRDC, Remina or RDesktop (for Linux), Microsoft Remote Desktop (for Mac OS X).

And below we’ll describe the examples of working with the most common RDP clients for Windows and UNIX-based operating systems.

For Windows

1. Windows built-in RDP client is named Remote Desktop Connection and can be easily accessed through the Start menu.

windows rdp client

2. In the opened dialog window, specify the connection URL for RDP access, which can be found in the received email or at the dashboard (by selecting the Open in browser button next to the required node), and click on Connect.

windows rd connection

3. The next step is passing the server authentication - use credentials from the same email for that. You can also tick the checkbox below the form to remember your credentials. Select OK.

rdp credentials

4. In some cases, you may need to additionally confirm you really want to connect to a machine with a non-trusted certificate (click Yes for that).

9 cert

5. Thats all! A remote desktop will be opened in a new window, thus maximize it for easier work and start configuring your server according to your needs.

server manager

For Linux/MacOS/FreeBSD

We’ve chosen the rdesktop utility as an example of RD client. If you haven’t got this tool installed at your local computer, get it using the appropriate command according to your OS package manager (e.g. yum -y install rdesktop or sudo apt-get install rdesktop).

Then open your terminal emulator and follow the next steps:

1. The easiest way to connect to the remote desktop is to execute the next command:

rdesktop {access_url}

where {access_url} is a connection URL for RDP access (can be seen at the dashboard or inside the received email), specified without the protocol-defining part.

11 rdescktop

Note: that an environment with the required server should have the Running status, otherwise you’ll receive the Unable to connect error.

2. In the opened window you’ll need to log in with the credentials from the same email.

windows remote access

Another way is to specify your login and password directly in the connection string:

rdesktop -u {username} -p {password} {access_url}

direct rdp accessIn such a way, you’ll bypass the login screen and will access the desktop immediately.

3. Once the authentication is done, you’ll see the remote virtual desktop of the required node opened.

14 lin RD

Now you can start configuring your server using the in-built Server Manager.

That’s all for today. Feel free to test both of the considered connection methods and ensure it’s that easy! Sign up for a completely free 2-week-trial and discover even more Windows Cloud Hosting facilities with a variety of Windows-based stacks, available at Jelastic Platform.

Note that the availability of the .NET/Windows hosting services at a particular platform depends on the chosen hosting provider’s settings. Currently it is already available at Luxembourg Web Services.

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