In my last post I showed how easy it is to create virtual desktops in Windows Server 2012, and while that’s now a core part of providing remote desktops to your users there is still the good old fashioned terminal services, or to give its modern name Remote Desktop Services (RDS). RDS also changes quite a lot in Windows Server 2012 and so I have made this short screencast to show how to set it up..
To try this yourself all you’ll need is an Evaluation Copy of Windows Server 2012
VDI and RDS are designed to compliment each other:
So when to use what?
I think this comes down to efficiency and manageability. You can support far more (typically 12x) remote users with RDS than with VDI running on the same server hardware. So if possible use RDS complimented with technologies like App-v to virtualise application delivery to delegated users. That way you’ll just have to maintain the few servers providing RDS and secure the users profile disks.
It may be that some or of all your users can’t use RDS because they applications they want don‘t ‘like’ being run from and RDS server. In that case the next most efficient option is pooled VDI where a virtual desktop is shared rather than being dedicated to a particular user. In this scenario you just have manage one virtual desktop, and then control the deployment of revisions to that (which may just include patches or whole new applications). Your final option is to give your users personal virtual desktops which means that each of these needs to be managed in exactly the same way as if they have real desktops. What’s good about VD/RDS in Windows Server is that the users get a good experience either way with multi touch support, smooth video streaming and USB redirect so they can use webcams, dongle, card readers etc.
Finally if you are planning to do this in your organisation, I would suggest a really thorough trial and to over provision hardware both on the server side to provide a great user experience and also to provide good quality big monitors to win the hearts and minds of your users.