Manual Chapter : Configuring Remote Desktop Access

Applies To:

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BIG-IP APM

  • 14.1.2, 14.1.0
Manual Chapter

Configuring Remote Desktop Access

What are remote desktops?

Remote desktops in Access Policy Manager allow users to access the following types of internal servers in virtual desktop sessions:
  • Microsoft Remote Desktop servers
  • Citrix servers
  • VMware View Connection servers
You can configure remote desktops by name or by their internal IP addresses, and grant or deny users the ability to set up their own favorites.

What is Microsoft remote desktop?

Using an Access Policy Manager (APM) RDP type remote desktop, clients can access a server that runs Microsoft Remote Desktop Services. Microsoft Remote Desktop servers run the Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) server.
RDP
is a protocol that provides a graphical interface to another computer on a network.
To provide Microsoft RDP connections natively, APM provides these remote desktop resources:
APM webtop
APM webtop provides a Java Client option in the remote desktop configuration. The option supports native connections for Windows, Mac, and Linux clients. When this option is selected, a user on any compatible platform is presented with a simple Java Client interface to the Microsoft RDP server with reduced visual display features.
APM as a remote desktop gateway
With proper BIG-IP system configuration, Microsoft RDP clients can use APM as a gateway. The configuration supports Microsoft RDP clients on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. When a user types the address or hostname of the gateway into an RDP client and specifies a particularly configured virtual server for it, APM authorizes the client. When the client requests connections to resources on backend servers, APM authorizes the access.
For support information, refer to
BIG-IP APM Client Compatibility Matrix
on AskF5 at
http://support.f5.com/
.

What is Citrix remote desktop?

Citrix® remote desktops are supported by Citrix XenApp and ICA clients. With Access Policy Manager you can configure clients to access servers using Citrix terminal services. You provide a location from which a client can download and install a Citrix client for a Citrix ICA connection.

What is VMware View desktop?

VMware View is VMware's virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) software that runs a View Desktop on a user's PC from the servers in a data center. You can integrate APM with VMware View Connection Servers and present View Desktops on dynamic APM webtops. APM authenticates users on a View Connection Server and displays the View Desktops. Refer to
Presenting a View Desktop on an APM Webtop
for how to set this up.

About ACLs to control access from remote desktop resources

When you create a remote desktop resource, Access Policy Manager (APM) automatically creates an allow ACL for the IP addresses and ports specified in the resource. To disallow access to any other IP addresses and ports, you must create ACLs that deny access to them and assign the ACLs in the per-session policy. F5 recommends that you create an ACL that rejects access to all connections and put it last in the ACL order.

Configuring an ACL to reject all connections

You can place an access control list (ACL) that rejects all connections last in the ACL order to keep users from accessing any host and port combinations other than those to which they have been explicitly allowed access by the other ACLs assigned to the policy.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Access
    Access Control Lists
    .
    The User-defined ACLs screen opens.
  2. Click
    Create
    .
    The New ACL screen opens.
  3. In the
    Name
    field, type a name for the access control list.
  4. From the
    Type
    list, retain the default value
    Static
    .
  5. In the
    Description
    field, add a description of the access control list.
  6. From the
    ACL Order
    list, select
    Last
    to add the ACL at the last position in the list.
  7. Click the
    Create
    button.
    The ACL Properties screen displays.
  8. In the Access Control Entries area, click
    Add
    to add an entry.
    The New Access Control Entry screen displays.
  9. From the
    Type
    list, select
    L4
    .
  10. For the
    Source IP Address
    ,
    Source Port(s)
    ,
    Destination IP Address
    , and
    Destination Port(s)
    fields, retain the default value
    Any
    .
  11. From the
    Action
    list, select
    Reject
    .
    The reject action drops the packet. On TCP flows, it also sends a TCP RST message. On UDP flows, it also sends proper ICMP messages. On other protocols, it drops the packet silently.
  12. Click
    Finished
    .
To use the ACL, assign it to a session using an Advanced Resource Assign or ACL Assign action in a per-session policy.
If you assign this ACL and Network Access or Portal Access resources to the same policy, you might need to also create and assign ACLs that allow access for Network Access and Portal Access resources.

Configuring a resource for Citrix remote desktops

You can configure BIG-IP APM so users can access Citrix internal srvers in virtual desktop sessions. Refer to the online help for more information about the parameters you can configure for remote desktops.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Access
    Connectivity / VPN
    VDI / RDP
    Remote Desktops
    .
    The Remote Desktops screen opens.
  2. Click
    Create
    .
    The New Resource screen opens.
  3. In the
    Name
    field, type a name for this desktop resource.
  4. From the
    Type
    list, select
    Citrix
    .
  5. In the
    Description
    field, type a description for the new resource.
  6. For the
    Destination
    setting, specify an IP address as your destination, and accept or change the
    Port
    .
  7. For the
    Server Side SSL
    setting, select the check box to provide SSL functionality between the BIG-IP system and the resource server.
    If this option is selected, the system changes the port number from
    80
    to
    443
    .
  8. For the
    Auto Launch
    option, select whether to enable auto launch for Citrix.
    If you select
    Enable
    , the first application runs automatically.
  9. In the
    Custom Parameters
    field, type one or more lines to specify custom settings.
    These parameters affect the rendering of certain features for Citrix. A line should contain a section name enclosed in brackets ([ ]) or a name-value pair separated by an equal (=) sign.
  10. For the
    Enable SSO
    setting, select whether to enable single sign-on to the server.
  11. Click
    Finished
    .

Configuring a resource for RDP remote desktop session host

You can configure BIG-IP APM so users can access Microsoft Remote Desktop internal srvers in virtual desktop sessions. Refer to the online help for more information about the parameters you can configure for remote desktops.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Access
    Connectivity / VPN
    VDI / RDP
    Remote Desktops
    .
    The Remote Desktops screen opens.
  2. Click
    Create
    .
    The New Resource screen opens.
  3. In the
    Name
    field, type a name for this desktop resource.
  4. From the
    Type
    list, select
    RDP
    .
  5. In the
    Description
    field, type a description for the new resource.
  6. For the
    Server Type
    , select
    Remote Desktop Session Host
    .
  7. For the
    Client Type
    , select
    Native
    .
    Native
    is the only client type recommended because the
    Java
    and
    ActiveX
    options are deprecated.
  8. For the
    Destination
    setting, specify an IP address as your destination, and accept or change the
    Port
    .
  9. In the
    Custom Parameters
    field, type one or more lines to specify custom settings.
    These parameters affect the rendering of certain features for RDP. For Microsoft RDP, a line should inclue a name, type, and a value, with a colon as a separator, shown in the examples below:
    • screen mode id:i:1
    • use multimon:i:0
    • desktopwidth:i:1440
    • desktopheight:i:900
    • session bpp:i:32
  10. For
    Enable SSO
    , select whether to enable single sign-on to the server.
  11. Click
    Finished
    .
You have now configured an RDP resource for a remote desktop session host.

Configuring a resource for RDP remote desktop web access

You can configure BIG-IP APM so users can access Microsoft Remote Desktop internal srvers in virtual desktop sessions. Refer to the online help for more information about the parameters you can configure for remote desktops.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Access
    Connectivity / VPN
    VDI / RDP
    Remote Desktops
    .
    The Remote Desktops screen opens.
  2. Click
    Create
    .
    The New Resource screen opens.
  3. In the
    Name
    field, type a name for this desktop resource.
  4. From the
    Type
    list, select
    RDP
    .
  5. In the
    Description
    field, type a description for the new resource.
  6. For
    Server Type
    , select
    Remote Desktop Web Access
    .
  7. For the
    Client Type
    , select
    Native
    .
    Native
    is the only client type recommended because the
    Java
    and
    ActiveX
    options are deprecated.
  8. For the
    Destination
    setting, specify an IP address as your destination , and accept or change the
    Port
    .
  9. In the
    Custom Parameters
    field, type one or more lines to specify custom settings.
    These parameters affect the rendering of certain features for RDP. For Microsoft RDP, a line should inclue a name, type, and a value, with a colon as a separator, shown in the examples below:
    • screen mode id:i:1
    • use multimon:i:0
    • desktopwidth:i:1440
    • desktopheight:i:900
    • session bpp:i:32
  10. For
    Enable SSO
    , select
    Enable
    .
  11. Click
    Finished
    .
You have now configured an RDP resource for APM webtop.

Configuring an access policy to include a remote desktop

This procedure is applicable if you want to configure Access Policy Manager for Citrix or Microsoft RDP terminal services.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Access
    Profiles / Policies
    .
    The Access Profiles (Per-Session Policies) screen opens.
  2. Click the name of the access profile for which you want to edit the access policy.
    The properties screen opens for the profile you want to edit.
  3. On the menu bar, click
    Access Policy
    .
  4. In the General Properties area, click the
    Edit Access Policy for Profile
    profile_name
    link.
    The visual policy editor opens the access policy in a separate screen.
  5. Click the
    (+)
    icon anywhere in the access policy to add a new item.
    Only an applicable subset of access policy items is available for selection in the visual policy editor for any access profile type.
    A popup screen opens, listing predefined actions on tabs such as General Purpose, Authentication, and so on.
  6. On the Assignment tab, select the
    Advanced Resource Assign
    agent, and then click
    Add Item
    .
    The Resource Assignment screen opens.
  7. Click the
    Add/Delete
    link below the entry.
    The screen changes to display resources on multiple tabs.
  8. On the Remote Desktop tab, select the remote desktop that you configured previously.
  9. On the Static ACL tab, select an ACL that rejects all connections.
    Adding an ACL that is last in order and rejects all connections keeps users from accessing any host and port combinations other than those to which they have been explicitly allowed access by the other ACLs assigned to the policy.
  10. On the Webtop tab, select a full webtop.
  11. Select any other resources that you want to assign to the policy.
    If you assign a Network Access resource to the policy, be sure to also assign an ACL that allows access to the resources that you want users to have. Otherwise, the ACL that rejects all connections blocks access.
    If you assign a Portal Access resource to the policy, be sure to also assign an ACL that allows access to all parts of the web sites specified in the start URI or hosted content fields of the Portal Access configuration. Otherwise, the ACL that rejects all connections blocks access.
  12. Click
    Update
    .
  13. Click
    Save
    .
Your remote desktop is assigned to the session along with system-defined (allow) and user-defined (deny) ACLs.
To complete the process, you must apply the access policy, and associate the access policy and connectivity profile with a virtual server so users can launch the remote desktop session.
To ensure that logging is configured to meet your requirements, verify the log settings for the access profile.

Sample access policies for Native RDP client and APM webtop

These sample access policies are a reference for configuring RDP for APM webtop, a standalone client, or both.
Access policy for an APM webtop
Access policy for APM webtop
Access policy for a standalone client
Access policy for standalone client
Access policy for both an APM Webtop and a standalone client
Access policy for APM webtop and standalone client

Attaching an access policy to a virtual server for remote desktops

When creating a virtual server for an access policy, specify an IP address for a single host as the destination address.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Local Traffic
    Virtual Servers
    .
    The Virtual Server List screen opens.
  2. Click the name of the virtual server you want to modify.
  3. In the
    Destination Address
    field, type the IP address for a host virtual server.
    This field accepts an address in CIDR format (IP address/prefix). However, when you type the complete IP address for a host, you do not need to type a prefix after the address.
  4. For the
    HTTP Profile
    setting, verify that the default HTTP profile,
    http
    , is selected.
  5. In the Access Policy area, from the
    Access Profile
    list, select the access profile that you configured earlier.
  6. If you are using a connectivity profile, from the
    Connectivity Profile
    list, select the connectivity profile.
  7. If you are creating a virtual server to use with portal access resources in addition to remote desktops, from the
    Rewrite Profile
    list, select the default
    rewrite
    profile, or another rewrite profile you created.
  8. If you want to provide connections to Java RDP clients for application access, allow Java rewriting for portal access, or support a per-app VPN connection that is configured on a mobile device, select the
    Application Tunnels (Java & Per-App VPN)
    check box.
    You must enable this setting to make socket connections from a patched Java applet. If your applet does not require socket connections, or only uses HTTP to request resources, this setting is not required.
  9. If you want to provide native integration with an OAM server for authentication and authorization, select the
    OAM Support
    check box.
    You must have an OAM server configured in order to enable OAM support.
  10. Click
    Update
    .
The access policy is now associated with the virtual server.

Verifying log settings for the access profile

Confirm that the correct log settings are selected for the access profile to ensure that events are logged as you intend.
Log settings are configured in the
Access
Overview
Event Log
Settings
area of the product. They enable and disable logging for access system and URL request filtering events. Log settings also specify log publishers that send log messages to specified destinations.
  1. On the Main tab, click
    Access
    Profiles / Policies
    .
    The Access Profiles (Per-Session Policies) screen opens.
  2. Click the name of the access profile that you want to edit.
    The properties screen opens.
  3. On the menu bar, click
    Logs
    .
    The access profile log settings display.
  4. Move log settings between the
    Available
    and
    Selected
    lists.
    You can assign up to three log settings that enable access system logging to an access profile. You can assign additional log settings to an access profile provided that they enable logging for URl request logging only.
    Logging is disabled when the
    Selected
    list is empty.
  5. Click
    Update
    .
An access profile is in effect when it is assigned to a virtual server.