Vista Pearl Good Morning!  Welcome to Day Twelve of our Launch Series.  Today, we’re going to start looking at What’s New in Terminal Services … Remote Desktop Services.  So clearly that would be the first change to be aware of, namely that the Terminal Services server role has been renamed to Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server 2008 R2.  In fact, in Windows Server 2008 R2, all Remote Desktop Services role services have been renamed.  The following table lists both the former name and the new name of each Remote Desktop Services role service:

Old Name New Name in Windows Server 2008 R2
Terminal Services Remote Desktop Services
Terminal Server Remote Desktop 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)

The names of the different management tools have also changed:

Old Name New Name in Windows Server 2008 R2
Terminal Services Manager Remote Desktop Server Manager
Terminal Services Configuration Remote Desktop Server Configuration
TS Licensing Manager Remote Desktop Licensing Manager
TS Gateway Manager Remote Desktop Gateway Manager
TS RemoteApp Manager RemoteApp Manager

Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server 2008 R2 builds on the feature set provided by Terminal Services in Windows Server 2008 by introducing, or enhancing, the following features:

  • Remote Desktop Services Administration
  • Client Experience
  • Remote Desktop Protocol
  • RemoteApp and Desktop Connection
  • Remote Desktop Connection Broker
  • Remote Desktop Virtualization (RDS-V)
  • IP Virtualization

We’ll be covering the last four topics in greater detail in future Launch Series posts, so we won’t be going over them today.  But, let’s take a look at the enhancements in Remote Desktop Services Administration first.  There are a number of new features, including a PowerShell Provider, Windows Installer Compatibility and Dynamic Fair Share Scheduling (DFSS).  In addition, there are some changes to the Remote Desktop Licensing mechanism.

The new PowerShell Provider adds the ability to configure and manage all RDS role services and components via PowerShell.  This enables administrators to automate complex (and recurring) tasks via script or from the Windows PowerShell command line.

Prior to Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server 2008 R2, only one Windows Installer installation was supported at a time.  For applications that required per user configurations, such as Microsoft Word, an administrator needed to pre-install the application, and application developers would need to test these applications on both the remote desktop client and the RD Session Host server.  The new compatibility between Windows Installer and RDS allows per user application installations to be queued by a Remote Desktop Session Host server and then handled by the Windows Installer.

DFSS is a new CPU scheduling method that dynamically distributes processor time across user sessions based on the number of active sessions and the load on those sessions.  This represents an improvement over the previous “static” scheduling mechanism which did not dynamically adjust scheduling based on load, and could result in under-utilization of CPU resources.

Even though RDS Licensing isn’t something that we normally handle on the Performance team, there are some important changes to be aware of.  In Windows Server 2008 R2, automatic license server discovery is no longer supported for RDS.  Now, when the RD Licensing role service is installed, the server can register itself as a Service Connection Point (SCP) in Active Directory.  Administrators must specify the name of a license server for each Remote Desktop Session Host server to use, and can choose from the list of known license servers registered as SCPs, or manually enter the name.  Additionally, a new licensing wizard is available that allows administrators to migrate RDS Client Access Licenses (CALs) from one license server to another, or rebuild the RD Licensing database in the event of corruption.

Before we wrap up, let’s quickly go over some of the changes in the Client Experience.  There are a several enhancements:

  • Desktop Composition – The Remote Desktop Connection 7.0 client application on Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 support Aero within a remote desktop session.
  • Single Sign-On improvements - Kerberos support has been enhanced to reduce the number of sign-on prompts required through RD Gateway.
  • True Multiple Monitor support - Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) 7.0 and Windows Server 2008 R2 enable support for up to 16 monitors. This feature supports connecting to a remote session with any monitor configuration that is supported on the client computer. Programs behave just like they do when they are running on the client computer.
  • Redirection of :
    • Audio and video playback
    • Audio Input & Recording
    • Language bar
  • New Connect with Remote Desktop Connection action when browsing computers on the network
  • RemoteApp and Desktop Connection Shell integration
  • Personal Virtual Desktop Access

To reiterate, we’ll be looking at a number of these pieces as parts of other posts, so don’t fret.  However, we have reached the end of this post.  I’ll be back tomorrow with a look at Remote Desktop Services architecture.  Take Care!

- Dane Smart

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