Microsoft Remote Desktop Services Review

It's predictable but they need to develop better support for remote desktops for alternative platforms


What is our primary use case?

We use Remote Desktop Services for a few things. My experience started with Microsoft Remote Desktop when I tried to reuse really low power desktop machines to turn them from these desktop machines into class remote desktop terminals. That is my initial experience with Microsoft Remote Desktop. My most current experience with Microsoft Remote Desktop is using a specific Microsoft product on the servers where you don't have any chance to administer them using the web browser. SCCM, active directory administration and other Wintel server roles are most handy and the most secure to administer from the Microsoft Management Console. Therefore, you need to do it at least from some instance of the Microsoft windows server.

What is most valuable?

I like that it works. In most cases, it's predictable. You know what you get.

What needs improvement?

Microsoft still has some really bad remote desktop appliances for Mac. This is really frustrating because if I'm on windows I can remove the Microsoft remote desktop applied for Windows, but I'm already using windows, I always have an option B. I can still plug directly with Microsoft management console from the windows station and still do something remotely. But on a Mac, I have to rely purely on the Microsoft Remote Desktop. 

If I need to pass second-factor authentication, not a one-time password thing, if I do a Microsoft remote desktop session, I have to reach the first server, which is my best one. From that server, you're actually going inside your protective network. Then on the second spot, you are not able to pass a YubiKey and go any farther. That creates the problem. We have had many support tickets.

For how long have I used the solution?

With this new company, I have been using this solution for two and a half years, but overall I have 15 years of experience.

It is being used mainly on a Mac platform.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I would say it's stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

In the last setup, we had 3,000 users. It wasn't the nicest experience.

How are customer service and technical support?

My experience with support is varied. It really depends. It varies depending on which support line you get. If you say you're a particular engineer then they won't really bother to support you. But if you say you have an enterprise contract and that you're a big company and you have a contract then they offer better support.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We previously used Citrix. Microsoft Remote Desktop Services is a more developed version of Citrix.

I would recommend going for VMware.

How was the initial setup?

Microsoft programs are never easy to install but the installation wasn't something we didn't expect.

What about the implementation team?

We deployed it on our own.

We use enterprise orchestration so it doesn't take too long to deploy. Microsoft products do not really play along with the open-source orchestration platforms. Once you overcome this, it becomes easier.

What other advice do I have?

I would not recommend going with this solution because I wouldn't recommend going for a big enterprise setup. 

I would rate it a four out of ten. 

In the next release, they should develop better support for remote desktops for alternative platforms. It's really lacking consistency. If I have to support terminal server clusters and I have to do change management on the big cluster, then I actually run into a lot of issues both on the Microsoft Remote Desktop as well as Citrix. They should provide a consistent user experience. It's a pain to roll out changes into a different mode of the cluster and to propagate them over multiple modes. I end up in a situation where a portion of my users get the changes and the other portion doesn't.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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