Terminal server and database application

Posted on 2011-04-18
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I was hoping someone could enlighten me on how TS works. I understand that if you have a TS running, say, Windows Server 2008 it gives one the advantage of certain network settings. Also, given terminal services, it can allow multiple connections from remote users.

This is where I get confused. In our LAN we have around eight computers (XP Pro) which are running an application connected to a SQL Server database on the server (the actual server with the domain controller, etc.). So multiple users can enter and read data and it is entered into the database.

I am thinking that the idea of the TS is that the remote users can use RDP or whatever to log into the TS and access this application. So, is this application on TS or on the actual network server? I understand how there can be multiple connections to TS, but how can more than one person access the application at one time?
Question by:Bert2005
    LVL 13

    Expert Comment

    Terminal services (TS) or now Remote Desktop Services (RDS) implements a technology called "Multi-Win". "Multi-Win" was originally created by Citrix. It allows multiple concurrent user sessions on the same system. Basically it's a glorified multi-user workstation. So you treat it like most desktops. However there are a few changes:

    1. You need to install program via the add/remove programs or you can put the current user session in "install mode" first. See this article to learn more about install mode: It mentions Windows 2000 but it's still valid for all current TS/RDS servers. The article has a typo on switching back to execute mode. It's supposed to be "change user /execute". Also note logging out the session automatically returns you back to execute mode. Only use install mode to install software. Don't stay in install mode normally.

    2. In Active Directory User & Computers you can assign each user account home directory and terminal services profile. If you don't assign a terminal services profile it will attempt to load the user's roaming profile (if a location has been set). Otherwise all profiles will be local profiles. If you have more then one terminal server you'll definitely want roaming or terminal services profiles otherwise users will have different settings on each terminal server.

    3. Printing is the same except for remote printing. This article goes in-depth in to how printing works in a terminal services environment: The biggest pain is loading the necessary drivers for remote printers. If you like there are several 3rd party vendors that can make this much easier. A few are triCerat, ThinPrint, and UniPrint.


    LVL 6

    Assisted Solution

    If your application is running fine on a terminal server depends. The application has to TS aware. You better ask the producer of your application or just give it a try in a testing enviroment.
    Today most all applications run very well on terminal servers, but some still do not.
    The typical scenario would be your application on TS with the database on a central server.
    Multiple start of one application is paoosible because every user has his own session on TS.
    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    Thanks Matt and mkuehnqoe,

    I read your posts and they were very helpful especially the Microsoft article. It's a bit technical for me, but I think I understand it.

    But, to simplify it for me, I want to make sure this is the right setup:

    We have an Electronic Medical Record program on all client computers. Each staff member logs onto their computers, opens the EMR app and reads and writes to the central server database, in this case SQL Server 2005 Express.

    My guess is if the staff were not using the computers, users from a remote site could RDP into the individual computers and use the program. Obviously, this would not be a good solution since it would be likely that the host users would be on the computers, and the remote connections would log them off.

    So, all of the remote users that are licensed to use the TS would log into the Terminal Server. The EMR application would be on the TS connected to the database just like all of the other EMR applications. So each remote user could access this program. I guess where I am confused is how could each user use the program simultaneously? If one user were in one patient's chart how could another user be in another patient's chart? Something tells me it is because every user has his own session on TS as stated above, but I still am not sure if I am clear on this.

    Thank you.

    LVL 13

    Accepted Solution

    The multi-win technology isolates the user sessions. So while multiple users are in RDP sessions. Each user can use any program they desire. But when an administrator looks in task manager, you would see multiple copies of the program running.  And as mkuehnqoe mentioned not all programs work properly on terminal server. So definitely check with the vendor to see if they support installing on a terminal server and if they have a installation procedure for it.

    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    Thanks. That's perfect. And, on a slightly different subject with the new Remote Desktop Services and 2008, it is nice to be able to run RDP without 3389 being open.
    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    Thanks guys. After forever, I finally understand TS. Well mostly. It is always easier if you actually have a terminal server and play with it. I hope I got the points right.

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