Always On VPN RRAS Monitoring and Reporting

Always On VPN RRAS Monitoring and ReportingWindows Server with the Routing and Remote Access Service (RRAS) role installed is a popular choice for Windows 10 Always On VPN deployments. Configuring RRAS is commonly performed using the RRAS management console but it can also be configured using PowerShell and/or netsh. In addition, there are a few different options for natively monitoring server health and client connection status.

RRAS Management Console

After installing the RRAS role, the administrator uses the RRAS management console (rrasmgmt.msc) to perform initial configuration. The RRAS management console can also be used to view client connection status by expanding the server and highlighting Remote Access Clients.

Connection Details

To view connection details for a specific connection, the administrator can right-click a connection and choose Status, or simply double-click the connection.

High level information about the connection including duration, data transfer, errors, and IP address assignment can be obtained here. In addition, the administrator can terminate the VPN connection by clicking the Disconnect button.

RRAS Management Console Limitations

Using the RRAS management console has some serious limitations. It offers only limited visibility into client connectivity status, for example. In addition, the client connection status does not refresh automatically. Also, the RRAS management console offers no historical reporting capability.

Remote Access Management Console

The Remote Access Management console (ramgmtui.exe) will be familiar to DirectAccess administrators and is a better option for viewing VPN client connectivity on the RRAS server. It also offers more detailed information on connectivity status and includes an option to enable historical reporting.

Dashboard

The Dashboard node in the Remote Access Management console provides high-level status for various services associated with the VPN server. It also provides a high-level overview of aggregate VPN client connections.

Operations Status

The Operations Status node in the Remote Access Management console provides more detailed information regarding the status of crucial VPN services. Here the administrator will find current status and information about service uptime.

Remote Client Status

The Remote Client Status node in the Remote Access Management console is where administrators will find detailed information about client connectivity. Selecting a connection will provide data about the connection including remote IP addresses, protocols, and ports accessed by the remote client, in addition to detailed connection information such as authentication type, public IP address (if available), connection start time, and data transferred.

Always On VPN RRAS Monitoring and Reporting

Double-clicking an individual connection brings up a detailed client statistics page for the connection, as shown here.

Always On VPN RRAS Monitoring and Reporting

Custom View

The Remote Access Management console includes the option to customize the data presented to the administrator. To view additional details about client connections, right-click anywhere in the column headings to enable or disable any of the fields as required.

Always On VPN RRAS Monitoring and Reporting

Recommended Columns

From personal experience I recommend adding the following columns in the Remote Access Management console.

  • IPv4 Address (this is the IP address assigned to the VPN clients by RRAS)
  • Connection Start Time
  • Authentication Method
  • Total Bytes In
  • Total Bytes Out
  • Rate

Always On VPN RRAS Monitoring and Reporting

Drawbacks

The only real drawback to using the Remote Access Management console is that it supports viewing connections from just one VPN server at a time. If you have multiple RRAS servers deployed, you must retarget the Remote Access Management console each time to view connections on different VPN servers in the organization.

You can retarget the Remote Access Management console at any time by highlighting the Configuration node in the navigation pane and then clicking the Manage a Remote Server link in the Tasks pane.

Always On VPN RRAS Monitoring and Reporting

Reporting

Remote Access reporting is not enabled by default on the RRAS VPN server. Follow the steps below to enable historical reporting for RRAS VPN connections.

1. Highlight the Reporting node in the Remote Access Management console.
2. Click Configure Accounting.
3. Uncheck Use RADIUS accounting.
4. Check Use inbox accounting.
5. Review the settings for data retention and make changes as required.
6. Click Apply.

Always On VPN RRAS Monitoring and Reporting

Optionally, historical reporting can be enabled using PowerShell by opening and elevated PowerShell command window and running the following command.

Set-RemoteAccessAccounting -EnableAccountingType Inbox -PassThru

Important Note! There is a known issue with the inbox accounting database that can result in high CPU utilization for very busy RRAS VPN servers. Specifically, a crucial index is missing from one of the tables in the logging database. To correct this issue, download and run the Optimize-InboxAccountingDatabase.ps1 script on each RRAS VPN server in the organization.

Additional Information

Windows 10 Always On VPN and Windows Routing and Remote Access Service (RRAS)

Windows 10 Always On VPN Protocol Recommendations for Windows Server Routing and Remote Access Service (RRAS)

Windows 10 Always On VPN and RRAS with Single NIC

Windows 10 Always On VPN and RRAS in Microsoft Azure

Leave a comment

9 Comments

  1. Dave K

     /  February 20, 2020

    Great article, thank you for publishing it, Richard. Have you ever seen an issue where Always On VPN has been configured and deployed on Windows Server 2019 and the only thing that appears in the Remote Access Management Console under DirectAccess and VPN Client Status is “Unavailable”? Always On VPN is working properly with a device tunnel, yet I have no monitoring available through the Remote Access Management Dashboard.

    Reply
    • Haven’t seen anything like that myself. Is the Remote Access Management service (ramgmtsvc) running on the server?

      Reply
      • Dave K

         /  February 24, 2020

        Oh yes, definitely! Clients are connected to the RRAS server using an IKEv2 device tunnel. I can monitor and manage clients through the RRAS console but the Remote Access Management Console does not seem to ‘plug in’ to the RRAS component.

      • Dave K

         /  February 24, 2020

        My apologies, Richard. I made an assumption which I should never do. I checked services and found that Remote Access Management service was indeed stopped and set to disabled. That did the trick! The Remote Access Management Console now displays client information. Thank you so much!

  2. Nate

     /  March 17, 2020

    Richard, great overview of monitoring. Have you used any 3rd party tools to aggregate all of this information, I haven’t found anything online, but thinking there has to be something out there.

    Reply
    • I haven’t personally, but I have customers that have exported log files to various SIEM solutions. Most of them have a dedicated or universal connector that can be used to collect this information. I’m currently working on a custom solution that will aggregate data from individual servers to a central SQL database. No timeframe on that but hope to release something in the coming months. This will allow administrators to log multiple VPN servers to a single database and create their own custom reports as well.

      Reply
  3. Hopefully a simple question for you. I have run & saved a report of usage, however I am unable to specify where to save the report to. Is there a default location?

    Reply
    • You can’t actually save reports in the Remote Access Management console. After you generate a report you can run a query against it and then save the query, but you can’t actually output the report in any way.

      Reply

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