Blogging about Royal TS/X, Royal Server and Royal Passwords

View Clean & Dirty Server Reboots – Using Templates

In a previous blogpost we have described the approach how to check for clean and dirty server reboots using the Windows Events View. But imagine, you want to see this information from different servers? Always changing the machine name(s) in the Windows Events View is tedious and not really effective. Royal TS/X offers a much more flexible technique for this problem: Templates.

 

Using Templates

Instead of creating a Windows Events View we create a Template for Windows Events:

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This template is configured in the exact same way as the one in the previous post (filter the Event IDs, specify Credentials, specify the Royal Server) with one exception: since the Computer is variable, we need to use Tokens that are replaced at runtime:

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Additionally, specify the Credentials if needed and a Royal Server:

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Having this in place, you can directly connect to any configured Connection by using the Template:

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Gimme more!

For the case that you have a group of servers that you want to check: this is as simple as a single server. Just modify the Template to use $URIS$ (note the plural) for allowing the template to work with multiple servers.

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Then, switch to the Dashboard in Royal TS X (either by using the Menu “View” -> “Switch to Dashboard” or by clicking on the Icon of the Overview Tab. By clicking on a Folder that contains e.g. RDP connections, you can select the list and connect using the Template:

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You will get for each server a Ad Hoc Connection with the settings from the Template.

 

Remark: For the case that you think, that you might use this connection more often, you can just drag n drop it in your document for later use!

 

 

Cross Platform

Again, this usage of Templates work exactly the same in Royal TS (for Windows). With one exception: If you select multiple servers and use $URIS$ in your template you will end up with one Connection containing all servers in the Computer Name field. But we will adapt the Royal TS X soon so both clients function in the same way.



Using Royal TS/X to View Clean & Dirty Server Reboots

Remark: the main idea behind this post comes from this post which is using SCOM for this task. This blogpost achieves a similar scenario by using Royal TS/X.

 

The Use Case

We want to know when a specific list of servers had a clean server reboot:

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Step-by-step “Clean Server Restarts”

First, we create a new Windows Events View – as usually you have the flexibility to specify multiple servers in the “Computer Name” field:
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The Windows Events View is connected via a Royal Server:
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Remark: You might also specify a Credential, if needed.

 

Now go to the Filter tab of the Windows Events View and specify the “System” Log and “Event ID” equals: 6006.

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Remark: If you leave the Time Range on “None” you get all (!)  clean Server Restarts which will take a while. As a recommendation limit this to the last week or something similar that fits your requirement.

 

Once connected, you’ll get the full view on your clean server restarts combining all specified servers:

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For quick data analysis you can drill down in the view by using the Filter Toolbar of the Windows Events Connection:

Imagine, you want to show only events from February 2nd:

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or compare the different servers and show only the server located at 192.168.1.170:

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This was just the “Basic” configuration – in the “Advanced” Tab you can specify even more complex queries:

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Dirty Server Restarts – the fast way

For the “Dirty Server Restarts” just duplicate the previously created Connection, rename it properly and change the Event ID to 6008.

 

Cross Platform

You can use the specified Connections in Royal TSX (for OS X) as well as Royal TS (for Windows) – even at the same time.

 

Notifications

Right now, we do not have the capability to trigger notifications based on connections. But this might be a future extension to Royal Server – tell us, what you think about it:

  • Would you need a notification system?
  • Are you using one right now? If so: which one?
  • Which ways of notifying (email, SMS, triggering a web service/web site for creating a ticket etc.) would you be interested in?
  • Just drop us a line at info@royalapplications.com – we’d love to hear from you!


New Feature: Secure Gateway (SSH Tunnels)

During the Royal Server beta period, one of the most requested features was “Secure Gateway” or “SSH Tunneling”. We gathered a lot of feedback and worked hard on implementing tunnel support in our Royal TS and Royal TSX clients as well as in our new product, Royal Server. Our implementation is based on the SSH standard and is tightly integrated into our desktop clients and our server product. No hacky approach using PuTTY or any other external applications were implemented and when you are using Royal Server as a secure gateway, you will be amazed how easy it is to install and setup.

Note: This feature is included in the current beta releases of Royal TS/X and Royal Server.

What is a “Secure Gateway”?

A Secure Gateway is a component included in Royal Server which can be used to access computers through an encrypted SSH tunnel (aka port forwarding). Those computers are not directly reachable, only through the gateway server.

Here is an example how a Secure Gateway can be used: As a consultant you could access your customers infrastructure through the gateway and work remotely on machines which are not directly reachable from the internet. The secure gateway server requires authentication and provides an encrypted “tunnel” to the infrastructure “behind” the gateway. This is a very popular and secure method to provide access to internal machines and has many benefits compared to VPNs or direct NAT.

Of course you can also use a 3rd party SSH server as long as it supports port forwarding. OpenSSH, for instance is included out of the box in many Linux distributions. OS X also ships with an SSH server but it’s disabled by default. Here’s a short guide on how to enable it on OS X Yosemite.

Which Connection Types are supported?

  • Royal TS (for Windows) V3.1: Download Beta
    • Remote Desktop
    • VNC (based on TightVNC and UltraVNC)
    • Terminal (based on Rebex.net and PuTTY)
  • Royal TSX (for OS X) V2.1: Download Beta
    • Remote Desktop (based on FreeRDP)
    • VNC (based on Apple Screen Sharing)
    • Terminal (based on iTerm2)

The connection types Hyper-V, Terminal Services, Windows Events View, Windows Processes and Windows Services can also be used to access internal machines through Royal Server.

Installing a Secure Gateway

Setup is very quick and easy. If you haven’t already installed Royal Server, simply download the latest Royal Server V1.1 beta and install it. Royal Server is literally installed within minutes. Once installed, open the Royal Server Configuration Tool and switch to the Secure Gateway section:

The Secure Gateway feature is enabled by default. Select on which IP address and Port the gateway should be listening. The Gateway Fingerprint will be shown in Royal TS/X when you connect for the first time and helps you ensure that you connect to the right gateway, preventing “man-in-the-middle-attacks”.

Since a Secure Gateway always requires authentication, you need to configure which users are allowed to use the gateway. The Royal Server installation automatically creates a group “Royal Server Gateway Users“. Simply add the members that should be allowed to use the gateway to that group.

The Gateway Connections page provides a view with all open connections:

As you can see in the screenshot above, you see the clients connected to the remote hosts and which user is currently connected. There are also some statistics, like connect time and data sent/received.

Using a Secure Gateway in Royal TS/X

Once Royal Server is installed, you can create a new “Royal Server” object in your document, pretty much the same way as with connections or credentials. In Royal TS (for Windows), either use the Edit ribbon tab or the Add -> More… menu and select Royal Server. If you’re using Royal TSX (for OS X) you can use the Add menu.

Secure Gateway 3 Secure Gateway OS X 1

Note: In case you want to use a 3rd party SSH server for tunneling, you can also just create a Secure Gateway object.

In the Royal Server main settings page, make sure you enter the hostname/IP address of the installed Royal Server in the Computer Name field. In case you have changed the port number on the server, you can change it in the Secure Gateway settings page. There’s also a Test button which allows you to quickly test connectivity.

Secure Gateway 4 Secure Gateway OS X 2

Also make sure you enter proper credentials in the Secure Gateway Credentials settings page. Configure a credential which represents a user who is a member of the Royal Server Gateway Users group (was mentioned above).

Once you have created the Royal Server object in your document, you can assign that object to any of your Remote Desktop, VNC or Terminal connections. In the Computer Name field, use the hostname or IP address of the destination server, as seen from the computer running Royal Server.

Secure Gateway 5 Secure Gateway OS X 3

In the Secure Gateway settings page, select the Royal Server or Secure Gateway object you just created and set the Gateway Usage to Always:

Secure Gateway 6 Secure Gateway OS X 4

Active Tunnels

Once you have established a connection through a tunnel, you can check on all tunnels of a specific Secure Gateway/Royal Server using the Dashboard:

Secure Gateway 7

or check on all tunnels of all Secure Gateways or Royal Servers (in case you are using multiple gateways) using the Active Tunnels panel:

Secure Gateway 8

Happy Tunneling,
The Royal Applications Team



1 2 3 – Royal Revolution

Timeline
The past weeks have been crazy! As you may already know, we recently released new major versions of our core products, Royal TS for Windows, Royal TSX for OS X and a brand new product: Royal Server. The user feedback was overwhelming to say the least! As our users, we’re very happy with these new releases and want to reflect a bit on what we have done and what’s coming up.

Royal Server V1

We are not exaggerating when we claim that we reinvented remote management! With Royal Server you can manage your Windows Environment directly from your Mac using Royal TSX. Think of Royal Server as your secure gateway to your Windows environment to easily manage Windows Services, Processes, Terminal Service Sessions, Hyper-V instances and even examine and analyze Windows Event Log entries. Royal TS (for Windows), Royal TSX (for OS X) and soon our mobile clients can all access these management tasks through Royal Server. A unique true cross-platform management solution!

Click here for more information about Royal Server.

Royal TSX V2 (for OS X)

Our native Royal TS implementation on OS X got even better now. The V2 release now includes dashboards like the folder dashboard to easily manage hundreds or thousands of objects using the bulk-edit feature. Full Royal Server support as mentioned above to natively allow management of Windows Services, Hyper-V instances, Terminal Service Sessions and even view the Windows Event Log without even RDP’ing to your machines. Another killer feature in Royal TSX is the new Apple Remote Desktop based VNC plugin which provides embedded ARD/Screen Sharing connections. We are the first in the industry with this kind of integration!

Click here to see all major new features of Royal TSX 2.0.

Royal TS V3 (for Windows)

Royal TS for Windows has been around for more than 10 years now and we are still packing tons of new features into each release. V3 now features a new plugin for Web Page connections based on Chrome. We’ve updated the look and feel, improved usability and added many new connection types to manage Hyper-V Instances, Terminal Service Sessions, Windows Services, Processes and analyze Windows Event Log entries – all with full Royal Server support! On top of that, we now ship a rich PowerShell module to create or update Royal TS documents.

Click here to see all major new features in Royal TS 3.0.

Mobile Apps

We have updated our current releases for iOS and Android to handle the all new and much more efficient document file format (.rtsz). Royal Server support for our mobile clients will soon be available. Stay tuned…

What’s next?

We are already working on new features on all of our products. You can expect much more modules in Royal Server and many new connection types for Royal TS/X. To help us prioritize all the features on our roadmap, make sure to visit our support portal and vote for your favorite feature or submit an idea.

We’re looking forward to hear from you soon!

The Royal Applications Team



Royal Server – Windows Events Management

Remark: This blog post is part of a series of posts explaining Royal Server and the new connection types we have introduced with Royal TS V3 beta (for Windows) and Royal TSX V2 beta (for OS X).

Here’s a complete list of our blog post series:

 

Working with Windows Events using Royal TSX and Royal Server

Often when you’re responsible for the health and performance of a server farm, your job involves checking the Windows Event Log for Errors and Warnings.

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With Royal TS/X it’s easy to configure a Windows Events connection: specify the Computer Name, the Royal Server, Credentials, etc. as usual.

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If you want to continuously check for specific entries in the EventLog you can enable the auto refresh feature:

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Checking periodically and limiting the results

The Windows Events view allows you to filter the EventLog entries in two ways: a “Basic” and an “Advanced” filter.

 

For example, this configuration shows all Errors that occurred in the last 2 days:

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If you need more flexibility, you can switch over to “Advanced” and enter your WMI query. As a starting point, it takes the configuration of the “Basic” tab but you can add your own complex queries:

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 Remark: This query is executed on the server, so only the necessary data is transported back to the client (Royal TS/X)

 

Cross-Platform!

If you want to achieve the same thing with Royal TS (for Windows) or even share the Document – no problem!

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