Terminal Services

Posted: September 30, 2010 in Computers and Internet

Windows Terminal Services are a role that come with the Windows Server O/S.  These services are meant so that multiple workstations can access one program in one location.  Also terminal services can allow a company to buy cheaper client computers because if they are strictly using terminal services for employee production, then all of the operational burden is placed on the server.  In order for a client to use terminal services all they needed was a program on their computer called Remote Desktop Access.  Remote Desktop would ask the user for the name of the server and then once entered the client would use rdp, remote desktop protocol, to connect to the terminal server.  Once connected, the client would be able to see their desktop on the server and be able to work with what they are allowed to use per security rights and permissions.  Starting with Windows Server 2008, terminal services have been taken to a whole new level because of a new feature called RemoteApp.  RemoteApp will allow an administrator to create a shared drive on the server that has applications published to it.  Once in the share, the administrator can decide who has access to the share and those that have it may connect and run those applications inside of the share.  The major benefit to this is that the users will be using less bandwidth in connecting to the terminal server but they will still have the exact same functionality as if they had used remote desktop to connect to the terminal server.  For more information on Windows Server 2008 RemoteApp here is a video that I found on YouTube.

Then when you start to use RemoteApp in a Windows 7 environment the applications can be accessed from the start menu just like any other program would be.  This is a feature that has become even more popular with a program from Citrix called XenApp which is in direct competition with Windows Terminal Services RemoteApp.  Here is a video that shows how RemoteApp works in Windows 7.

When a IT professional is working for a company as a server admin and manages multiple servers daily, then terminal services comes in very handy because the server admin can access all of the servers directly from their own computer vs. going to the physical machine and plugging into it.  Finally there is another feature that is a part of terminal services that allows for clustering of multiple terminal servers for load balancing purposes.  When a company has a lot of users using terminal services to conduct their work it can be very hard to keep up with which group is connected to which server, also what happens if one server has a hardware failure and may be down for a few hours?  Well this is where clustering and server farms come into play.  By creating a cluster you are able to create a generic name that everyone uses to access terminal services, but when the host server receives the request to use terminal services it can decided which physical box to use based on many different settings with the main one being load balancing.  If one of the physical servers were to go down the host server would then be able to route users to the remaining servers in the farm.  Also since the users are using the host server’s name, the IT workers will not have to spend their time going around changing everyone’s settings while the server is down.

Disclaimer: I have worked with terminal services in my job and all of the information I have used in this article are from personal experiences that I have had while dealing  with terminal services.

  1. Murph says:

    Works like a charm too! 50/50

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