How to Configure Load Balancing With Win 2008 R2 Terminal Services?

Dear Sir,

I have 6 Servers running Windows Server 2008 R2 with Terminal Services (RDS).
I have 640 thin clients...
I want to configure load balacing for those Terminal Servers...
I need a step by step guide and screen shots if it's possible on how to configure load balancing for the terminal servers with failover?

Thank You,
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Brad HoweDevOps ManagerCommented:
Have you taken a read at the Technet Articles?

You can use NLB with a terminal server farm to distribute sessions across multiple servers.
 Network Load Balancing Step-by-Step Guide: Configuring Network Load Balancing with Terminal Services

Then you can install a TS Session Broker in the front-end to load balance sessions between terminal servers in the farm.
 TS Session Broker Load Balancing Step-by-Step Guide

Cláudio RodriguesFounder and CEOCommented:
NLB is the way to go with thin clients although I am not a big supporter of it for several reasons.
The best option would be to use a third party load balancer like 2X LoadBalancer. Much better alternative.

Cláudio Rodrigues
Citrix CTP
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ISC-IT-AdminAuthor Commented:
Dear All,

In Windows 2008 Server there is a new feature called: TS Session load balancing...
In Windows 2003 Server, this feature was not available. (We used to configure only NLB).

Could you please explain to me the steps to Configure Windows (Network) "Load Balancing" for pure Terminal Server environments. (Windows Server 2008 R2 Entreprise Edition).

- 1st: I need to confgure NLB (Network Load Balancing) on the TS Servers Win 2008?
- 2nd: Then I need to configure TS Session broker Load Balancing for those servers?

What the difference between these terms, both of them load balancing?
When I need to create NLB, a virtual IP will be created to set it up for thin clients...
and for the TS Session Broker?

What is the best solution for pure Terminal Server environments.
I need to configure 7 servers TS Win 2008 R2, holding 624 sessions (Thin Clients) to connect to a normal application Through SQL Server.

I need Network failover with Session load balancing as well...

Thank You,

Cláudio RodriguesFounder and CEOCommented:
All you need is to simply install a Connection Broker (Session Broker) machine (I would do on a separate machine, not one of the TSs) and then configure each TS to join that farm (and have the DNS record with all TS IPs created for the farm name).

Cláudio Rodrigues
Citrix CTP
Brad HoweDevOps ManagerCommented:

RD Connection Broker uses the Farm name & DNS Round robin to determine which servers are available and where to distribute sessions. Essentially, it is used to ensure that while you are using DNS round robin to distribute the load, the Session broker keeps track of all the user sessions and ensures that when they reconnect, they get the same session on the previous server.

RD Connection Broker Methods
1. Use a RD Connection Broker to load balance the sessions by using DNS round robin to distribute the initial connections.
2. Use NLB or a hardware load balancer to spread the initial connection and authentication load between terminal servers in the farm.

Servers that are a member of a RDS Farm and participating in RD Connection Broker load balancing are intended to serve the same set of applications.

When a user connects to a published remoteapp located on a farm, they are logically connecting to the farm, not an individual server.  The decision as to which server they will connect to is made by the connection broker based on current load on each server and whether or not the user already has an existing session on one of the farm members.

For configuration modes (active/passive) for HA, take a read at this blog

Let me know if you have any questions,
ISC-IT-AdminAuthor Commented:
Hello Hades666,   Hello Cláudio,

Thank you for the reply:

Honestly, I am a little bit confused.
I don't have a clear idea yet...

I went through all the blogs mentioned above:

The Scenario as follows:
Currently, I have Thin Clients (X numbers)... When a Thin client boot, it will connect to any TS servers, our application is installed on each TS server, then the application launch automatically and connect to the SQL server.
All the TS servers are configured now using NLB. (Our Current Environment is Win 2003 Server Entreprise Edition X64).

Now, We need to add more thin clients, with more TS servers.
We decided to go with Win 2008 R2 Edition X64.
We already have 2 DC's (Primary, secondary), and of course SQL server.
The question is how to configure the TS Servers with Win 2008 R2.

Do I need to configure them using NLB (Virtual IP) and I'm done???... (of course we need High availability with load balancing Hardware/Software). Students are doing exams on these Thin clients.
Is the following link enough to configure my TS Server using (NLB).

I need to use TS Session broker only?

NLB with TS Session Broker altogether?

RD Session Host in redirection mode comes with TS Session Broker?
I am new on this new feature...

Please I need more details to suit my environment:

Thank You!


Cláudio RodriguesFounder and CEOCommented:
In your particular case seems like you do NOT need the Session Broker at all and that NLB will do the trick. What Session Broker gives you is basically a more intelligent load balancing (it tracks how many connections you have on each TS for example) and also if a session gets disconnected, when that thin client tries to connect again, it finds that disconnected session and connects the user back to it.
Problem is not all RDP clients do support that 'reconnection' feature. So in your case the first thing is to determine if your thin clients do support that (contact the thin client vendor).
If that is not the case or if you are happy with what you have now, simply setup NLB on your new 2008 R2 and they will work exactly as your existing setup.

Cláudio Rodrigues
Citrix CTP

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ISC-IT-AdminAuthor Commented:
Thank you Claudio for the reply,

Really, I liked the session broker because gives more intelligent load balancing than NLB.
Plus if a session gets disconnected, when that thin client tries to connect again, it finds that disconnected session and connects the user back to the same session.
How the session will get disconnected (Server Failure)???

The question is, in Session broker scenario, if one of the TS server failed, all Thin clients session on that particular server will get disconnected. Could they get back to their disconnected session again? to continue their exams???... OR a NEW session will open?
We are using DNS Round Robin same name TS-FARM.

In NLB my current situation, if a server goes down, a NEW session will open for the Thin client on a different server.

My Thin clients are HP T5145, I think it's support reconnection...

So, if my thin clients support reconnection... I can go with TS Session Broker and not use NLB aymore.
I cannot use both of them at the same time: TS session brother or NLB.

I went through this article:

If I decided to go with TS session broker:
The procedure as follows:
1- I have DC with win 2008 Server: (I will install TS Session Role Pus TS Licensing).
2- Install RDS on all TS Servers (Win 2008 R2).
3- Configure each TS to join that Farm.
     In this step there is several group policies needs to be configured for TS Session Broker.
     Could you explain to me, where should I do this? in the DC or in all TS servers?

4- Add DNS entry on the DC, same name with different TS IPs.
What happens when the Session Broker is down? DC Server in my case...???

Regarding the NLB, I am familiar with this one.

But If I decided to use TS Session broker:
Could you give the step by step on how to do this?

What do you suggest to use for high availability and load balancing, if my Thin clients support reconnection?

Thank You Cláudio.

ISC-IT-AdminAuthor Commented:
Hi Cláudio,

Any reply of the above?
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