Windows Server 2008 TS/RDS

I’m sure you’re aware that Windows Server 2008 R2 has now been released, but not everyone is aware that Terminal Service (TS) is no more and has been replaced by Remote Desktop Services (RDS).

RDS offers all the same functionality as TS as well as a whole host of new benefits. These new additions include:

  • Simplified management with a unified and scalable connection broker for both Session Desktops and VDI Desktops providing:
  • Unified Remote Desktop Web Access (RD Web Access) and ‘RemoteApp and Desktop Connection’ feature for access to VDI and Session Desktops
  • Ensures users can only see the apps they are supposed to with per-user RemoteApp permissions and filtering
  • Provides the user a rich remote experience, bringing the experience closer to that enjoyed by users accessing local computing resources such as:
  • True multi-monitor support
  • Windows Media® Player redirection,
  • Bidirectional audio,
  • Enhanced bitmap acceleration for 3D applications and rich media content such as Silverlight and Flash.
  • Improved application compatibility and management of RD session host servers with the inclusion of Microsoft Application Virtualization for TS

This last point is especially interesting-“App-V for Terminal Service” is included with the CAL and is no longer a separate product. This applies not only to the 2008 R2 RDS CALs but also 2008 TS CALs. (I’m going to look into if and how it works with existing CALs and post an update here). *Update* I’ve investigated this today and, despite the blog’s wording, it doesn’t apply to Server 2008 TS CALs…it is Server 2008 R2 RDS CALs only.

*Update 2*I received a mail from Alex, the author of the original blog post, today telling me that my previous update was wrong and that is true*. Looking at the FAQ’s here shows that customers who currently have the Windows Server 2008 TS CAL will receive the App-V for TS functionality too-great news 🙂

Customers should find that the App-V for TS software is now available via the Volume Licensing Service Centre (VLSC) from September 1st.

It’s to be noted that “App-V for Desktops” isn’t included in this and is still separately licensed through MDOP.

Because of these extra features, the cost of the CALs will increase by around 5%. However MS are offering them at an equivalent price to the previous CALs until 31/12/09 (again, I’ll check where this promo is running and let you know).

This is another thing that makes Windows Server 2008 R2 an excellent step forward 🙂

The MS RDS Blog is here.

*I’ve apologised to Alex and I aim to correct the source of the incorrect information too. I also want to apologise to anyone who read the incorrect info on here-sorry!

Application Virtualization (App-V)

Microsoft App-V is what was formerly known as SoftGrid and it’s some pretty clever stuff 🙂

It’s main feature is to virtualize applications, this isolates them on the users workstation and reduces application conflicts-thus reducing end user downtime. However the apps can still fully interact with each other such as copy & paste etc so still giving the users the experience they’re used to.

The latest version is 4.5 and major highlights include:

  • HTTP streaming. Support for streaming virtual applications from an IIS server (v6 or v7) providing dramatic performance and scalability improvements for large App-V deployments.
  • Re-designed Sequencer. Simplifies the process and reduces the complexity of creating virtual application packages.
  • Dynamic Suite Composition (DSC) for MSI packages. Consolidate virtual environments, control virtual application interaction, enable faster, easier administration.
  • Seamless integration with System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2. Allows customers to easily deploy virtual applications through the System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2 infrastructure and scale their deployments.
  • Client cache improvements. The maximum size of the client cache has been increased to 1 TB.
  • Improved Manageability. Integration and support for VSS writer, Operations Manager management pack, ADM template.
  • Accessibility. The product is now Section 508 compliant, bringing App-V in line with Microsoft shipping requirements.
  • Most conversations I have with schools include App-V as they often have odd bits of software like “Science for GCSE 1997” and “Maths is brilliant V 2.3” that don’t play nice with each other-and App-V is a great way to solve that.

    See the Technet MDOP page here.

    Advantages of using App-V:

  • Streams applications on demand over the Internet or via the corporate network to desktops, terminal servers, and laptops.
  • Automates and simplifies the application management lifecycle by significantly reducing regression and application interoperability testing.
  • Accelerates Windows and application deployments by reducing the image footprint.
  • Reduces the end-user impacts associated with application upgrades, patching, and terminations. No reboots required, no waiting for applications to install, and no need to uninstall when retiring applications.
  • Enables controlled application use when users are completely disconnected.
  • Integrates with System Center Configuration Manager to enable physical and virtual deployments through the same people, process and technologies.
  • Licensing:

    It needs to be noted that there are 2 version of App-V available to buy.

    App-V as part of MDOP: For use in standard environments.

    App-V for Terminal Services: For use in Terminal Service environments only. App-V’s application virtualization allows any application to run alongside any other—even applications that normally conflict, multiple versions of the same application, and many applications that previously could not run under Terminal Services.

    Terminal Services

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