Virtual Applications & Desktops

ITS is currently partnering with the Kate Gleason College of Engineering, and several other areas, to evaluate the long-term feasibility of one specific implementation of this technology. Utilizing Microsoft Remote Desktop Services, and Microsoft RemoteApp, Microsoft Folder Redirection, and Microsoft RemoteFX we are working with KGCOE IT Administrators to setup a proof-of-concept Application and Desktop Virtualization environment for several KGCOE Academic Courses, as well as several other programs and applications.

The end result is the ability to access Applications, and Desktops, remotely, from anywhere there is an internet connection. This makes it possible to run a computationally intensive program like AutoDesk, Solidworks, or Matlab, from any institute owned machine, your personally owned desktop or laptop, or even from your iPad or Android tablet device. We refer to this service as "Remote Desktop Services (RDS)."

The goal is to setup a RemoteApp and Remote Desktop "farm." A Farm is a collection of many servers, all running different applications, desktops, and services. This "farm" provides a single entry point for a user to an infintitely scalable and expandable pool of resources, desktops, and applications.

If this proves successful, the hopes are to expand this offering to other areas/colleges/departments, but we cannot fully commit to offering this service until we have fully evaluated it and deemed it a viable solution. If it does not prove successfuly, we will evaluate other solutions, and technologies, to hopefully develop an implementation that is successful at meeting RIT's diverse and unique needs for Application and Desktop Virtualization.

Virtual Applications and Desktops FAQ

Is my computer automatically configured for RDS?

If you see the icon in the screenshot below, then your computer is already set up for RDS. You can right-click that icon and choose "Open RemoteApp and Desktop Connections" to see shortcuts to the applications you currently have access to. You can also see the available applications in the Start Menu under "Work Resources".

What can I access via the RDS Farm?

The current application list is as follows. Please note, you only have access to applications that you are individually provisioned/licensed/allowed to use. You may not see any applications available at all depending on your area, and role. We expect additions to this list, so check back for the latest updates, or simply check within RDS/RemoteApp itself.

  • KGCOE Tier 2
    Desktop Configuration with various applications used by KGCOE for typical performance needs
  • KGCOE Tier 1
    Desktop Configuration with various applications used by KGCOE for high performance needs
  • Lenel OnGuard
    Application used with the Lenel Security system On-Campus
  • Simio
    Utilized by specific ISE Grad Students
  • SimaPro
    Utilized by specific ISE Grad Students
  • OnBase
    Utilized by specific areas/departments on campus

How can I connect to RDS?

Please follow the instructons here to connect to Remote Desktop Services manually. This is only necessary if your computer is not already configured.

How do I start applications available via RDS?

Once you have successfully connected, For Windows computers, you can find the available RDS applications in the Start Menu under "All Programs" → "Work Resources".

For other operating systems, you can follow the instructions here.

Are there any limits/restrictions on what applications can be virtualized?

Yes, there are many limits and restrictions, some of which are summarized below:

  • Licensing
    Not all vendors allow their software to be virtualized, others allow it, but charge a fee. This must be handled and checked on a per-application basis.
  • Performance
    Certain applications do not perform well when virtualized. RemoteFX and other technologies can help with this, but if the application hasn't been coded following the Microsoft recommendations, it may be impossible to virtualize until the Vendor updates the application accordingly.
  • Application Modernization
    Microsoft has changed their best practices for application storage/data quite a bit since Windows ME was released. Applications that have not updated their codebase to take advantage of these new requirements, will most likely not function in a Virtualized/Remote Application environment.
  • Application OS Restrictions
    Remote/Virtual Applications make use of a Windows Server operating system. Certain applications cannot, or will not, install successfully, and cannot be used, pending the vendor modifying their software appropriately.

Are there additional licensing costs for utilizing the Microsoft RemoteApp and Remote Desktop Services services?

Yes, there is a per-user license for using RemoteApp and Remote Desktop Services. The cost of this has been covered by the institute for all Faculty, Staff, and Student Employees. This means that a college, or department, will only need to cover the amount of licenses their students will consume. These licenses are approximately $7.15 per student, per year. Enough licenses must be purchased to cover the amount of students that would be expected to utilize the service within a single semester. One important note, a single user, taking 3 classes, utilizing 8 different "Remote Applications or Desktops" constitutes a single "user" license needed. Your area IT support representative(s) will be able to assist you in purchasing the needed licenses from Microsoft.

What devices can I connect to the RemoteApp and Remote Desktop Services Farm from?

Please bear with us as we roll this technology out. Currently we offer the ability to connect form the following devices. Please click here for Connection Instructions.

Device Supported? Notes
RIT Owned Windows Machine Yes Accessible from on, and off campus
RIT Owned Apple OS X (Mac) Machine Yes Accessible from on, and off campus
Personal Windows Machine Yes Accessible from on, and off campus

Personal Apple OS X (Mac) Machine

Yes Accessible from on, and off campus
Apple iOS Device No Expected Spring 2015
Android Device No Expected Spring 2015

I want to add application "_______" for use in this environment, what is the process for doing this?

Currently we do not have a process to do this, as this is still a pilot/proof of concept. We will update this question accordingly when we have moved further along, and have the ability to add applications. Thank you for your patience.