Windows Server 2008 – Terminal Services

In Part 2 of this Windows Server 2008 Series we’re going to take a look at Terminal Services. Certainly this will be the subject matter of countless technical books so it’s difficult to decide what to include on a single blog post, but here goes….

Terminal Services capabilities have been significantly enhanced in Windows Server 2008 providing features such as, but not limited to, RemoteApp, Web Access, Terminal Server Gateway, and the Session Broker. Their functions are described below:

•Terminal Server Enables a server to host windows-based applications
•TS Licensing Manages the Terminal Server CALs
•TS Session Broker Enables session load balancing and reconnection
•TS Gateway Enables RDP over HTTPS
•TS Web Access Access Terminal Services through a web browser

The tasks involved in implementing an environment with each of these roles are described below (some brief, some not so brief):

1. Install the Terminal Server Licensing Role

This role, like the others, is installed through the Windows 2008 Server Manager MMC and adding the role.

2. Activate the Terminal Services Licensing Server

3. Install the Terminal Server Session Broker

The Terminal Server Session Broker incorporates the functionality of the Windows 2003Session Directory service and provides the additional benefit of session load balancing. When enabled, the TS Session Broker distributes new terminal server sessions to the least busy server within the Broker Farm.

The Session Broker also keeps track of user sessions in order to reconnect users to their sessions should a terminal server crash. When a user logs into a terminal server within the Broker Farm, the Session Broker checks for the user account and if a disconnected session is found, the user is reconnected to their existing session.

Additionally, to use the Session Broker features, you must add terminal server computer accounts to the Session Directory Computers group and configure the TS Session Broker settings on each terminal server manually, or automatically through Group Policy.

4. Install the Terminal Services Role

As with all previous versions of terminal services, it is recommended that applications be installed after the Terminal Server role is enabled, thus ensuring applications are configured to run properly in a multi-user environment.

5. Configuring Terminal Server Web Services

In this example, I’m installing the TS Web Access and TS Gateway role are the same server.

The TS Gateway role requires several additional Windows services such as IIS and the RPC over HTTP Proxy. If these services are not installed before installing the TS Gateway, you will be prompted to do so as shown below. Click Add Required Role Services.

For more information on the TS Gateway role, click here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc771530.aspx

6. Configure the Terminal Servers to Join the TS Session Broker Farm

Once the computer objects are added to the Session Directory Computers group, you then tell the Terminal Servers to join the Session Broker Farm and participate in Session Broker Load Balancing. As stated before, this can be done manually (shown below) or through Group Policy.

7. Configure Round Robin DNS entries for Load Balancing

Next, you need to add a separate DNS entry, the name clients will connect to, for every Terminal Server that should be load balanced.

8. Create a TS RemoteApp Program

Terminal Services RemoteApp programs are accessed through Terminal Services, but appear as if they are running on the end user’s local computer, similar to the Published Application in Citrix Presentation Server. RemoteApps run in their own resizable window, can be dragged between multiple monitors, and has a unique entry in the taskbar.

To create a RemoteApp, click Start | Administrative Tools | Terminal Services | TS RemoteApp Manager

9. If the TS Web Access server and the Terminal Server that hosts the RemoteApp programs are separate servers, you must add the computer account of the TS Web Access server to the TS Web Access Computers security group on the Terminal Server.

10. Accessing RemoteApps via TS Web Access Interface

Finally, to access RemoteApps using the TS Gateway/Web Access Interface, open Internet Explorer and enter https://TSWebServerName/TS

There you have it, a brief introduction to Windows Server 2008 Terminal Services. For more information on this topic, check out the following:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc754746.aspx

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Filed under Remote Desktop Services, Windows Server

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