Friday, August 02, 2013

Managing Critical Server Lists with Remote Desktop Connection Manager

You don't climb with out the right tools,
so use RDCMan to get higher
Most Server Administrators, whether Database Administrators or not, are quite familiar with the Remote Desktop Connection (a.k.a. RDP) tool, which is formerly known as the Microsoft Terminal Services Connector accessible from the command mstsc in Run, or from a Command Prompt.  What most do not realise, however, is that there is a free tool that manages a list RDP connections, titled Remote Desktop Connection Manager (sometimes referred to as RDCMan). Since free is the best price self-evidently, this little add-on to Remote Desktop, requiring no different security settings than RDP itself, is a welcoming time saver to those who are responsible for a long list of servers - in our case hundreds of servers to potentially manage.  And when I say little, Microsoft certainly has made this 789KB download the best value for under one megabyte I have ever seen (very sorry VNC, I much prefer a RDP connection).

 Why use RDCMan?

If you enjoy optimised productivity, and maintaining a current server list, then you will want this tool.
▪ Saves administrative burden, since you can save connection preferences and stores your current password in an encrypted format.
RDCMan is a simple add-on to Remote Desktop; it only stores a list of RDP connections with respective profile, and has the same options you see with an individual RDP saved connection.
▪ Options can be set for the group (such as connecting to local resources, etc.), and then can be changed per individual server
▪ Importing and adding servers to the list is easy, through simple text file import. Duplicates are automagically eliminated.

If you are on a team, as are most of us, I am pretty sure your DBA colleagues, would appreciate an updated RDG be provided to them, which is the Remote Desktop Group saved configuration, and list SQL Server Hosts. 
Prerequisites:  For the firewall conscious people out there, RDP uses Port TCP 3389, and on the server itself, Remote Desktop Connections must be enabled.

Nota bene: As I mentioned here on Simple Talk, as the first commenter - do not click on Connect Group, since you will find yourself, all of a sudden, making an RDP connection to every single server in your list!
References: Here's the official literature from Microsoft about RDCMan  
PS: Online versions of RDCMan would be which I use to manage and aid my family with remote support. There are free or professional versions, and is simply another flavor of Join.Me (which is the very same company).  

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