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Fail Over for Terminal Services

Posted on 2007-10-09
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We have two servers, the DC is running windows 2003 Enterprise and the other is acting as the backup DC and it is running windows 2000 advanced. We have several clients that use to terminal services to access one program that is installed on the windows 2003 server. We would like to set it up, so that if the Windows 2003 server is down they can still access the program through terminal services on the windows 2000 server. I have already found out that we can not run a cluster with these two servers b/c they have to be the same OS are there any other options that we have.
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Question by:Jhoran1046
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michaelhooper earned 375 total points
ID: 20043973
Here is my suggestion...
I agree that you cant cluster because of the disparity in OS's....
Install terminal services on the 2000 box and install the app there
On the users end you probably already have a connection (rdp) to the 2003 server....just set up
another connection to the 2000 server and teach them to only use it as a backup when the 2003 server is offline

I assume that the data that the app is accessing is on some server other than the 2003 server?...
If not then you'll need to move the data to a 3rd server that both terminal servers can access it.....then if either server is offline then you can still use the app from the one that is still live

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by:Jhoran1046
ID: 20044416
I hate to talk bad about clients but anything that involves them making a decision is between one thing or the other is usually to much for them to handle. We were looking for some soution that would just connect to the backup server if the other was down. We were looking at cluster b/c i had read that if one server in the cluster was down it would hand of the Terminal Service request to the on that was up and that it would also do load balancing if there were too many connection on the one server. We are now considering upgrading the W2k server to W2K3 if this will allow us to run the cluster and what we need it to do
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by:Crag
Crag earned 375 total points
ID: 20047355
I can see where you are coming from but would have a concern about just wandering down the 'a cluster will solve it route'. A cluster is not a simple thing to put in and you really need to start with cluster approved hardware - just adding it to an existing setup is not the best way to proceed.

Have you thought about using a front end batch script that tests to see if the Win2K3 server is available before starting the app? If not then you can redirect the connect to the Win2K server. This is not a complete solution but you could create a file called available on the win2k3 system and use a simple statement like:

if exist \\win2k3\<share>\available (
mstsc win2k3.rdp
) else (
mstsc win2k.rdp
)

As michaelhooper said I assume that the data is held somewhere else other than Win2K3?
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by:Jhoran1046
ID: 20049052
The data is held on the W2k3 server.
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by:michaelhooper
ID: 20049211
if the data is on the w2k3 server......then there is no point in clustering until you have the data in a centrally located place....or youre replicating the data between the 2 servers....
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by:Crag
ID: 20050222
what format is the data in? Is it a database or flat files. For flat files you could use the Windows Distributed File System to replicate them to the other system.
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by:Jhoran1046
ID: 20052353
It's a flat file system.
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by:Crag
ID: 20055831
So therefore if they are stored on the primary system and it goes down not only do you lose access to the App but also the data.
Have you looked at the Windows Distributed File system for mirroring the data across to the other system?
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