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Terminal server profiles - log onto more than one Terminal Server

Posted on 2011-02-25
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I have a situation where users log onto a single Windows 2008 R2 Terminal Server. I want to create a backup TS so that if they can't log onto the first one they can log onto the second one. This second TS will not be active generally - it's virtualized and I only want it to kick in when the first Terminal Server goes out of commission - I don't expect it to happen very often. I don't want to set up roaming profiles in this case - I have found that roaming profiles increase the chance of profile corruption - and in my case the users will never need to log onto another Terminal Server unless there's a disaster with the first one. What would be the best way to do this so that if the first server does go down and I have to bring up the second one, I would have to go through the least amount of labour to get everybody up and running.
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Question by:lineonecorp
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Jeroen_superjay earned 225 total points
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If you don't want to use Roaming Profiles then leave it as it is. Let the system create a new local profile for the users. It is a temporary solution anyway and they can continue to work in their applications. The downside is that they need to make some extra settings like install network printers again, etc. You can't rely on copying local profiles to the other Server because at the time you need the backup server you don't know what's wrong with the default one and maybe their is a network issue and the copying profiles is not possible.
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by:PeteJThomas
PeteJThomas earned 75 total points
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It's difficult to achieve real fault tolerance in TS. Do you have locked down, standard profiles on the existing TS for your users (that are controlled via GP?).

If so, you could do something REALLY basic, like create a CNAME in DNS for the TS, and have your users connect to that. Then in the event of a maintenance window or outage on the TS, you can point the CNAME to the alt TS, and the next time the users connect, they will end up on the other TS.

But without the user of roaming profiles etc, they will get brand new profiles on the alt TS, which could potentially be a headache. If the profile itself doesn't really concern you, but access to the same My Docs folder or something is important, you could just use folder redirection and store the My Docs etc centrally? Then they'd get a new local profile but the My Docs redirection would kick in and it would be 'relatively' seamless with regards to data access.

There may be some 3rd party tools that could help if that's no good, but I personally don't know of any that would help in this specific scenario, i.e. not having the alt TS online and used for load balancing as WELL as fault tolerance.

I had a quick look at clustering TSs (which would require shared storage for them both obviously, but it seems this isn't ideal either: http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=294926

Anyways HTH, let me know if you have any further questions or anything...

Pete
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by:lineonecorp
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Thanks for the tips.  Is there any way I can do the following:

the user ends their session and two profiles are saved - one locally and one to a network share

on relogging in they get the local profile generally  but if there is something wrong with the local profile - like not there at all - then their profile will be retrieved from the backup location that the previous session saved it to

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Assisted Solution

by:Jeroen_superjay
Jeroen_superjay earned 225 total points
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What you want realy sounds like Roaming Profiles. If I were you I would go for it. If you use Folder Redirection like Pete says, the Roaming Profiles will be very small, around 1 MB, and most of the data will stay and be directed to their home drive. If users log on and no local profile exists, the roaming profile will be copied locally. A corrupt local profile can be replaced by a roaming one as long as the roaming is not corrupted. Log off the user, delete the corrupt local one and let the user log on again.
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by:lineonecorp
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Thanks for the further clarification. However, can't the roaming profile also be corrupted?
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by:lineonecorp
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Still thinking?
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by:Jeroen_superjay
Jeroen_superjay earned 225 total points
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Yes, it is possible that Roaming Profiles can get corrupted, but the advantages of roaming profiles are bigger than the disadvantages.
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