Microsoft RDS - Thoughts and walkthrough 1/3

· 3 min read

Microsoft RDS – Thoughts and walkthrough 1/3 – Introduction, architecture and installation
Microsoft RDS – Thoughts and walkthrough 2/3 – Setup, security and optimization
Microsoft RDS – Thoughts and walkthrough 3/3 – SP1 and Remote FX – Citrix

With Microsoft Windows 2008 R2, Microsoft deliver an affordable application publishing system (XenApp like) for the micro size business and small business size company. Often these customers ask us : “Why XenApp is so expensive? Microsoft are doing the same !” and most of the time my answer is yes, Citrix are more expensive but if you really compare all the features, you’ll see there is differences. And these differences are still huge but most of my SMB customers just need what Microsoft can bring with RDS at first. I mention at first, because once they taste the power of virtualization and the delivery in a blink of an eye, they can make the jump and check Citrix products out.

I wrote this blog because I had to deploy a full Microsoft RDS architecture with Remote Desktop Session Host,  Remote Desktop Licensing, Remote Desktop Connection Broker and Remote Desktop Web Access and I think in less than one year this very same customer will call to request a XenApp or XenDesktop POC. So if I want this customer call next year, I need to do a good job so he will really use this RDS infrastructure and users will get use to being able to work from everywhere.

For the one not use to 2008 R2 yet, terminology did change too :

Previous name Name in Windows Server 2008 R2
Terminal Services Remote Desktop Services
Terminal Server Remote Desktop Session Host (RD Session Host)
Terminal Services Licensing (TS Licensing) Remote Desktop Licensing (RD Licensing)
Terminal Services Gateway (TS Gateway) Remote Desktop Gateway (RD Gateway)
Terminal Services Session Broker (TS Session Broker) Remote Desktop Connection Broker (RD Connection Broker)
Terminal Services Web Access (TS Web Access) Remote Desktop Web Access (RD Web Access)
Previous name Name in Windows Server 2008 R2
Terminal Services Manager Remote Desktop Services Manager
Terminal Services Configuration Remote Desktop Session Host Configuration
TS Gateway Manager Remote Desktop Gateway Manager
TS Licensing Manager Remote Desktop Licensing Manager
TS RemoteApp Manager

RemoteApp Manager

Now let’s go for a basic setup with 3 machines (Microsoft Windows 2008 R2)

  • 2 machines with the Remote Desktop Session Host role – TESTRDS1 & TESTRDS2
  • 1 machine with Remote Desktop Connection Broker and Remote Desktop Web Access – TESTRDSINFRA

This is a very simple architecture to test and check everything I want to test with RDS. I didn’t include the Terminal server licenses because I already got one install, but this role didn’t change that much, the interest is not focus on this part. Now let’s deploy the first machine TESTRDSINFRA, this machine will be the broker and the website to give access to published applications..

When choosing the Remote Desktop Web Access role, a prompt to warn you IIS7 needs to be added as well, everything is automatic :

And this is done for this machine, reboot it, this was the installation part, we will come later back on it to set it up. Now this is the installation of the two session host servers, TESTRDS1 & TESTRDS2 (more…)