Jan
18

Best practices on configuring RES Virtual Desktop Extender

In 2011 RES Software released RES VDX and RES Subscriber for VDX. These are the next generation applications of Workspace Extender and RES Subscriber. By using this software, it’s possible to use locally installed applications in a remote desktop.

At the Support department we receive questions regarding several different aspects of this product. In this article I will mention some best practices and FAQ’s of RES VDX. The configuration can be different when using RES VDX in a standalone configuration from a configuration when it’s integrated into RES Workspace Manager. Both configurations will be mentioned in each section.

How the RES VDX Engine is started

In a standalone configuration, the RES VDX Engine will be started in a user session because it’s located in the HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run registry key.

When integrated with RES Workspace Manager, the VDXEngine executable will be started by the composer (pfwsmgr.exe).

Best practice: Delete the VDXEngine setting in the registry key: HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run when using the RES Workspace Manager integrated configuration. Starting a user session won’t start two VDXEngine.exe processes, this will save some valuable resources.

How to license RES VDX

In a standalone configuration, at least one license server needs to be installed and configured. Install the RES VDX Licensing software which is included in the RES VDX software package, available on the Support portal.

In a RES Workspace Manager integrated configuration, licenses will be handled by RES Workspace Manager. Make sure you have the correct licenses installed.

Best Practice: There is no need to install the license server software when integrated with RES Workspace Manager.

Configuring the behavior of the RES VDX Engine

For a standalone configuration, a configuration.xml file will be read by the RES VDX Engine. This configuration file can be configured with the RES VDX Editor. This tool is installed by installing the RES-VDX-Adminpack.msi.

When creating a configuration.xml file for the first time, open the Configuration_Example.xml and make sure to save it as configuration.xml in the installation folder where the VDXEngine.exe is located.

Because every RES VDX Engine will process its own configuration.xml, it’s possible to create independent configurations for different servers, if needed.

When all servers need the same configuration, consider creating one configuration.xml file and distribute this to all servers with RES Automation Manager.

In a RES Workspace Manager integrated configuration, the RES VDX Engine behavior can be configured in the RES VDX integration section. Exception is file type configuration, this can be configured in the managed application in the RES Workspace Manager Console.

There is no need to install the RES VDX Adminpack when integrated with RES Workspace Manager.

In RES Workspace Manager, different configurations can be configured by using Workspace Containers. Click the [+] in the RES VDX Properties window to add a Workspace Container and configure the different configuration in this tab.

Blocking processes to be used by RES VDX

It’s possible to control the processes which should not be visible through RES VDX in a remote session. This will also control the processes visible in the local Start Menu which is presented through RES VDX.

Standalone configuration:

Workspace Manager integrated configuration:

How to make a local application shortcut visible in a remote session

Use the RES VDX Editor in a standalone configuration to configure the shortcut. It’s pretty straightforward which information is needed in the fields in the Shortcut tab. When hovering over the fields, a balloon tip with extra information will appear.

In the Create conditions tab, the possibility exists to check for availability of the local application, this way the user won’t receive a shortcut of a non-existing application in the remote session. It’s also possible to control which users/groups have the right to start the application.

In a RES Workspace Manager integrated configuration, create the managed application as usual. To start the application as an extended application, enable ‘Run as Workspace Extension’.

Note: It is possible to hide applications in user sessions where RES VDX has not been installed. In the RES Workspace Manager Console open the section Composition – Applications – Managed Applications. Select Properties and enable the ‘Do not show Workspace Extensions when VDX / Workspace Extender not detected’.

How to control the file type association/redirection

As probably expected, use the RES VDX Editor to configure the file type redirection.

Best practice: To use file type redirection, make sure the files to be opened are located on a location that is known to both server and client under the same name. For example a network share; H:\Documents

Plugin to Engine redirection or Client to Server redirection: This will configure the file types which will be redirected to the remote session. A document started on the client will be visible in the remote session by starting a remote application.

Engine to Plugin redirection or Server to Client redirection: This will configure the file types which will be redirected to the local session. A document started in the remote session, will start the associated local application which will be visible in the remote session.

Note: DDE is not being used in the current RES VDX version (2011 SR2). Please check the release notes for any changes on this.

No additional configuration is needed in a standalone configuration; DDE commands will be ignored.

For a RES Workspace Manager integration setup, the file type assocations are configured in the managed application. See the Note below for the best practice on using DDE.

Note: DDE is not being used in the current RES VDX version (2011 SR2). Please check the release notes for any changes on this.

Best practice: For a RES Workspace Manager configuration, disable DDE in the file type association. Make sure the command line parameters are correctly configured (%1 or “%1″ is needed)

COMMENTS: 1
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Tom Jorgensen Mar 23, 2012

Is there a way to only start VDXEngine.exe on the server, for a selected usergroup, or only for users running Res Subscriber, in a Terminal Server Environment integrated with RES Workspace Manager?

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