Remote desktop application Royal TS is one of the most powerful and feature complete RDP client managers for the Windows environment, and has just made its way to OS X. For IT administrators this is a huge boon for folks who prefer using OS X but had to previously rely on CoRD to handle our RDP sessions.
CoRD, the current de facto RDP client, does a more than adequate job with RDP sessions, so is Royal TSX worth taking a look in to and eventually paying the €20 when it’s out of beta? Read on to find out.
Royal TSX relies on a series of plugins to do the heavy lifting with RDP connections, and the configuration is simple enough. Opening Properties and selecting Plugins, under the General tab, you’ll see a list of credentials and a “More …” indicator which explains what functionality each plugin will enable.
In my case, and the core of what Royal TSX is known for, I opted to install the RDP Plugin which enables remote desktop access to Windows hosts.
Where Royal TS on the Windows platform really shines is how simple it makes managing credentials for a large number of systems, and this caries over smoothly to the OS X implementation.
Credentials can be managed at the application level, or by “Document” which is a little misleading and more accurately should be called *Realm* or *Company*. By right clicking on the Application > Credentials folder, or in my instance “Test Corporation” > Credentials I was able to input my domain\username and password to set my default credentials.The next step is to assign the default credentials to the Connections folder, select Credentials, specify a credential name then select the credentials that you created in the last step.
Creating and Managing Connections
Once the RDP plugin has been installed, and optionally setting up credentials at the application layer, or for a specific group the next step is to add connections to Windows systems. In my configuration I prefer to have all my Remote Desktop connections use the credentials from the parent folder, and have modified the Default settings for Remote Desktop accordingly.
With the credentials configurations now out of the way, the rest is simple, and we can begin adding our remote desktop hosts to the Connections folder under our Document, “Test Corporation” in my example. Adding hosts is as straight forward as adding credentials in previous steps. Secondary click Connections under the Document tab > Add > Remote Desktop. Enter the Display Name and fully qualified domain name or IP address of the host then click Save & Close. Repeat this process for any other systems you want to configure, or if the hostnames are similar you can secondary click the host you just added, and click duplicate.
Managing Other Connection Types
While Royal TSX is very good at managing RDP sessions it does have functionality for managing VNC, Terminal, and Web connections as well… assuming you’ve installed the appropriate plugins. The steps to adding a Terminal sessions is identical to RDP sessions.
Though I only tested the Web Connections for functionality I haven’t used the Web Connections’s more advanced functionality I can see it being very useful for admin interfaces, and Sharepoint sites as the plugin suggests. Again configuration here seems very straight forward.
Unfortunately as of this writing it doesn’t look like the VNC plugin is available, at least on my system, so I wasn’t able to test that.
Syncing, Sharing, and Encrypting
If you regularly switch systems, or operating systems for that matter, you can save the Document in Merge on file Save mode which will allow you to have multiple instances of Royal TSX and eventually Royal TSi read and write from a shared drive or cloud storage folder such as Dropbox or SkyDrive.
Since you’re most likely storing your username and password for personal or corporate servers it would probably be a good idea to encrypt the Royal TS document for security, which is supported natively with the Royal TSX application. Secondary clicking the Document tab and selecting encryption will allow you to specify a password that will be required to unlock the Document.
Final Thoughts & Conclusion
Though still in beta Royal TSX appears to be as powerful for OS X users as it is for Windows users. Windows administrators who are familiar with Royal TS will feel right at home, and for those who are using Royal TSX for the first time will easily and quickly realize the benefits of using this over Microsoft’s native RDP cient, rDesktop, or the CoRD front end for rDesktop. With the announcement of Royal TSi, the iOS implementation, on the horizon and the developer announcing that existing Royal TS(X) documents will be fully compatible it seems like this is currently the best in class solution for RDP, VNC, and Terminal sessions to a lesser extent.
If you rarely connect to multiple RDP sessions now the credentials functionality might be useful, but more the likely CoRD or the native Microsoft RDP client will be enough. For people who connect to a dozen or more systems on a regular basis, or have made the switch from Windows to OS X and miss Royal TS on the desktop, I would consider this €20 well spent.
Royal TS is the perfect tool for server admins, system engineers, developers and IT focused information workers who constantly need to access remote systems with different protocols. For the first time in the industry you're able to use Royal TS on Windows, OS X and soon, on iPad & iPhone.9