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Managing credentials ^
After the first launch of Royal TS, a document needs to be created. The document is a "database" that stores the connections, credentials, and tasks. To create a document, click the New icon located on the Home tab. The document can be either shared or personal.
Credentials can also be assigned at the folder level and inherited. To create a credential (and other objects), click the Add button under the green plus sign and select Credential.
Next, fill in the account information and click OK.
Because a document stores sensitive credentials, it is a best practice to encrypt it with a password. One interesting feature is Lockdown mode, which prevents certain actions, such as modifying the document, by adding another password. This may be useful when documents are shared among teams.
Central connection repository for teams ^
The best thing about this feature is that there is no requirement for SQL Server, unlike other tools. If the document is set to Shared (Merge File) and stored on a network share, the changes are merged on the file system level. If you are worried about storing your personal credentials in a shared document, don't be. The credentials can be stored in a different encrypted document and then referenced by name in the shared document.
Another feature that I really enjoyed about Royal TS is its cloud-based file sync. I just saved my Royal TS document to OneDrive, downloaded the Royal TS application to my iPhone, and accessed my connections right away. Note that depending of your settings problems can occur with OneDrive for Business.
Managing remote systems ^
To manage a remote system, a connection needs to be created. Before you do so, you may also want to modify the default settings for different types of connections. These default settings will be applied to all newly created connections of that type. Default settings are available in the Application > Default Settings section of the Navigation panel. In my example, I want to have a Czech keyboard layout on the Remote Desktop sessions.
Royal TS supports all standard connection types, such as RDP, SSH, and so on. What makes Royal TS more interesting than other tools is that you can create a variety of other connection types, such as VMware, Hyper-V, TeamViewer, PowerShell, and others, which I will also introduce.
First, I created a Remote Desktop connection to my server. Note that in the connection, I assigned the previously created credential. Also, the Automatic Logon option is selected. If it were not selected, I would be prompted for a password, even though it was saved in the credentials.
Remote Desktop connection supports all the standard features you would expect, such as drive and printer redirection. Royal TS adds some extra features here, including smart sizing, zoom in and out, one-click screenshot of the remote session to a clipboard, and many more.
Next, I tested a VMware connection, which is a very useful feature if you work with virtualization. After adding an ESXi host or a vCenter Server, I can see my virtual machines, their state, uptime, IP address, and so on. I can also perform basic power operations or connect to the VM console. This can be done with Hyper-V hosts as well.
Another thing I tested was a TeamViewer connection. I found out that TeamViewer works as a plugin; it has to be installed on your computer, and the path to its executable must be configured in Royal TS. After I initiated the connection, the external TeamViewer window was opened and the connection was established. So, in this case, Royal TS functions only as a database of your connections, and the actual work is done by an external application.
The PowerShell connection type was another interest of mine. I expected to get an interactive remote PS-Session opened in Royal TS, but that was not the case. A script must be defined directly in the connection properties. The script is executed against the specified computers, and its output is returned in Royal TS. I found this useful when you need to regularly execute a script against multiple machines.
The last thing I tested was a web page connection. This is a mini-browser integrated into the Royal TS console. I found this feature useful to quickly access devices such as routers, printer interfaces, and so on. A cool thing here is that once you enter the page URL, Royal TS can fetch the elements on the page and fill in the values for you.
Once you open these connections, the page is loaded and the relevant fields are filled in. As you can see, some connection types are opened directly in Royal TS, while others are opened as external applications. The great benefit in Royal TS is that I can have all my connections stored in a single database and launched quickly without the need to switch to a different application.
Automate repetitive tasks ^
If you are a lazy admin like me, you will love the Tasks feature. There are two types of tasks: Command Task and Key Sequence Task. An example of a Command Task is running a PowerShell script to query remote machines for members of the Administrators group. I can then execute this task and select one or more existing connections.
An example of a Key Sequence Task is a situation in which you regularly connect to an SSH session, back up a configuration file, and then edit it. Such a sequence task can be executed against an active connection or assigned to a connection and executed automatically after logon.
Royal TS is a very interesting remote management solution, and I am considering purchasing it. It has a very rich set of features, an intuitive user interface, great team sharing capabilities, and is available for all major platforms out there. To get more information about the Royal TS features or download a free version right away, visit their website.
The free shareware mode limitations include the number of managed objects:
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- Up to 10 connections
- Up to 10 credentials
- Only one document
These limits can be removed any time after purchasing a full license, which starts at a very reasonable price of around $50 per user. The licenses are perpetual, so you can use the purchased version forever. Active software maintenance is required for upgrades.