How to provide Windows 7 Remote Desktops to 4 employees

We are looking to provide Windows 7 remote desktop environments to 4 employees in another city.  We don't want to have to buy 4 physical computers to accommodate this need.  We have Windows Server 2008 and Windows Small Business Server 2008 to use if either one of these could fulfill this role (setting up the virtual desktop), we just need a little guidance as to how to set it up.

TIA for expert guidance!
dstjohnjrAsked:
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Darius GhassemCommented:
You could setup 4 Virtual PC or Hyper-V VMs on the servers then setup each with static IP addresses. Can your 2008 Server handle the load for at least 2 or 3 Gb of memory for each Desktop?
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acl-puzzCommented:
Yoy can have alternatives

1.Team viwer

2.Microsoft Shared View (need to have hotmail/livemail account) works great!
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Todd GerbertIT ConsultantCommented:
Couldn't you just remote desktop into the SBS server?
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dstjohnjrAuthor Commented:
Our primary server, which is actually setup right now as Hyper-V might just be able to handle it.  It does have 16GB of RAM and dual Quad Core Xeon CPUs 3.00Ghz.  It is a Dell PowerEdge 1950.  I hadn't even considered Hyper-V up until you mentioned, but we have had good luck in using Hyper-V.  So, here is how we have our server configured:

Main Server OS:  Windows Server 2008 primarily setup to serve as Hyper-V

Hyper-V Virtual Server #1:  SBS 2008 (currently 8GB of RAM allocated - could probably scale back)
Hyper-V Virtual Server #2:  Windows Server 2008 Standalone - Accounting Server with SQL Server 2008 (2GB - but we are probably going to allocate another 2GB to this VM)

So, with the two above systems, if we took our SBS down to 4GB and bumped our other server up to 4GB, that would give us some RAM to allot to our other needed Windows 7 VMs.

I thought Windows Server 2008 or SBS 2008 had some type of built-in roles for this?  No?

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GISCOOBYDirector of Information TechnologyCommented:
While I agree with dariusq, if you don't already have the licenses for the desktop OS(s) to run in the Virtual PC or Hyper-V VMs, and the Server 2008 license isn't Windows 2008 Enterprise, you won't be able to utilize this method without an additional license agreement (Server 2008 Standard allows for 1 host install and 1 virtual install; Server 2008 Enterprise allows for 1 host install and unlimited virtual machine installs). The easist implementation would be to utilize Remote Desktop Services (formerly Terminal Services). It is built directly into the server OS. This does require a license for each connection, but has a lower TCO than purchasing additional desktop or server licenses. It is also much easier to maintain, as you will only need to update the operating system once with patches, software, etc... You can try this out by going to the Server Manager, selecting Add Roles and choose the Terminal Services role. While still called Terminal Services in 2008, the licensing has changed to RDS with the release of Server 2008 R2, but encompasses both 2008 and 2008 R2 servers. I think you can run without a license for 30 days, but more information can be found on the Microsoft site: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/rds-product-licensing.aspx. The SBS 2008 box wouldn't be a good fit in this situation because it doesn't allow for remote desktop connection except for 1 administrative connection.
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Darius GhassemCommented:
If you need to use the whole OS Windows 7 then you would need to setup VMs for these access to Windows 7. Now you can setup Terminal Server on Windows 2008 Standard but you would get a 2008 RDP connection not Windows 7.
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dstjohnjrAuthor Commented:
Our main server "shell" which hosts Hyper-V is indeed running Windows Server 2008 Enterprise R2.  Given this, which do you think makes most sense?
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Darius GhassemCommented:
Really you can do both ways but you need to decide which way you want the users to use if you want them to have their own personal desktop without any other users working on the same computer or you want to setup a Terminal Server which allows them all to connect to this one server for Desktop access.
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GISCOOBYDirector of Information TechnologyCommented:
GIven the resources you provided, my suggestion would be to add an additional virtual machine running Server 2008 R2 and implement the Remote Desktop Services. It isn't exactly Windows 7, but will have a similar look and feel (for the most part). Using RDS, again, you won't have to install an application 4 times to get it to all users. Using a separate VM for each user would require install 4 times.
I would make sure to install only what applications are needed to ensure that you aren't taking away cycles from your Accounting and SQL applications. Also, I wouldn't take too much away from your SBS, as it can be a resource hog, especially for Exchange (if you are using that portion of SBS).
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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
If you install the Hyper-V Role on your Windows Server 2008 x64 RTM OS that was supplied with SBS 2008 Premium, then you can install the Windows 7 Business (Retail or OEM if qualified) as a guest in Hyper-V.

The Windows 7 OSs would be connected to the SBS domain just as a workstation, managed just as a workstation, and would need A/V just as a workstation would.

You would use the SBS Console to set which user would be allowed to connect to which VM.

Static IPs are not needed. DHCP with DNS properly configured on SBS takes care of your RDP via TSGateway (use GoDaddy or equivalent SSL), or via RWW (also use GoDaddy).

Philip
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dstjohnjrAuthor Commented:
Great suggestions!  I think we've got it just about figured out!  With GISCOOBY's last reply here, I'll add another VM running Server 2008 R2 and implement RDS.  Sounds great!  I don't relish having to manage update on 4 separate VMs so this sounds ideal.  The main thing the users will be running on it is MS Office including Outlook 2007 and access to the account software, which we've already got figured out.

As for scaling back resources on our SBS, we actually do NOT use Exchange Server and need to shut that piece (Exchange Server) off.  We are using Microsoft Online Services (BPOS) for that.  That should save some on the resource requirements on our SBS I am thinking, mainly in the RAM dept.

Does this all sound reasonable?
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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
GISCOOBY, The 1+1 for Standard, 1+4 for Enterprise, and 1+Infinite for Data Center with regards to VMs has to do with the base Windows Server OS license, not the VMs running on top of the host OS in Hyper-V.

Standard 1+1: Running either Core or full GUI of Windows Server 2008 x46 with _only_ the Hyper-V Role installed and configured on the host gives you the ability to run one (1) Windows Server 2008 Standard x64/x86 OS as a VM guest on that box. You can run any number of additional VM guests up to the alotted limit (64 VMs?).

Enterprise 1+4: Running either Core or full GUI of Windows Server 2008 x46 with _only_ the Hyper-V Role installed and configured on the host gives you the ability to run four (4) Windows Server 2008 Enterprise x64/x86 OS as a VM guests on that box. You can run any number of additional VM guests up to the alotted limit (VMs #s?).

Data Center 1+XXX: Running either Core or full GUI of Windows Server 2008 x46 with _only_ the Hyper-V Role installed and configured on the host gives you the ability to run _Unlimited_ Windows Server 2008 Standard/Enterprise x64/x86 OS as a VM guests on that box. You can run any number of additional VM guests up to the alotted limit (VMs #s?).

Licensing your guest desktop OSs can be done in a number of ways, but we choose to license by purchasing a retail pack of Windows Vista Business or Windows 7 Professional and adding Software Assurance + the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack to give us full VM rights to the desktop OS beyond the single OS guest.

Philip
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Darius GhassemCommented:
Yes, it does make sure that you build another server for Terminal server.
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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
For multiple desktop deployments in a VDI setup, MDT (Microsoft Desktop Deployment Toolkit) gives you an amazing amount of flexibliity for your various VM setups.

We choose to run virtual desktop OSs because we can further lock them down via Group Policy. Think RDS = cubicle space for the users (some control but limited) where desktop OS VMs gives you full control as in each user is able to card swipe their way into an office through a series of doors and hallways following a path that _only_ they can.

Philip
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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
Just a clarification on the 1+1, 1+4, 1+X mentioned, having the host OS installed with only the Hyper-V Role means that you can install an additional indicated number of guest VMs based on the host server's OS license up to the alotted limit _without_ having to purchase additional Windows Server OS licensing.

Philip
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hutnorCommented:
I have not used Hyper-V but you said you have 16gb of ram
your server SBS 8gb
other server 2gb
total 10gb

Can you just use some of the other 6gb for your new VM?

Sure your hosting machine does not need 6gb to run hyper V?

I run VMware & it does not need even 1gb of ram to mange the VMs.
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dstjohnjrAuthor Commented:
Great suggestions and discussion experts!  Wish I had more points to divy up on this.  Thanks much!
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