Managing a Microsoft RDS Environment with Login AM 2012
One of our customers wanted to migrate from a classic desktop environment to a server based computing environment to allow them to centrally manage their applications. In their old environment they had no form of automated deployment in place to manage their 2500 desktops and 200+ applications. This resulted in a massive workload when one of their core applications needed an update. Because they were using Citrix only for a limited amount of (home) users, a big investment was needed. Therefor they asked us to come up with another solution which still met their requirements.
One of the requirements of the customer was that graphical applications have the same performance as on a local desktop. Because the customer is a hospital and uses applications to view MRI and X-Ray pictures we did a Proof of Concept (PoC) to show that RDS in combination with RemoteFX handles this without any problems.
Because of the good results we achieved at another customer we decided to go with an RDS environment (based on Windows 2008R2) in combination with Login AM 2012. For remote users we decided to keep the current XenApp farm because ICA over high latency connections responds better than RDP.
Remote Desktop Services in a larger environment is not as easy to support as a XenApp environment. Some of the challenges:
- Load balancing is depending on group memberships and DNS
- Publishing applications
- Adding a server to a farm requires a lot of steps
With Login AM 2012 the management of these challenges can all be automated by using the Remote Desktop Component which is part of the default components of Login AM 2012.
RDS 2008 R2 Configuration
The environment at this specific customer consists of 50 RDS servers in the production environment. These servers host about 10 physically installed applications. The environment is built to be scalable to grow with another 50 servers and around 150 physical and virtual applications. All servers are running in a vSphere 5 environment. Client to connect to the environment are fat clients based on Windows XP and Windows 7. In the future the XP workstations will be replaced by thin clients.
RDS 2008 R2 configuration
All the items needed for creating and joining a farm is configured through the Login AM Manager. Within the collection the farm name is configured. During deployment of the server Login AM will add the server to the correct farm.
RDS desktop farm
In the Remote Desktop Services component all the server settings are configured. These settings are used during the deployment to configure the RDS settings and add the computer account to the correct groups.
RDS settings configuration
By default Login AM comes with three Infrastructure components for the specific RDS roles. Within the RD Session Host component the client en deployment settings are configured. Some of these settings are also configurable via Group Policy.
RDS session host component
Next to the installation and configuration actions, Login AM can also perform the creation of the Remote App. All these configuration options are combined within the same Application component.
RDS remote app