Terminal Server Setup

Ray McGowan
Ray McGowan used Ask the Experts™
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We will be setting up a new remote system for our staff using Microsofts terminal server system.  We may have up to 15 - 20 users connecting at any one time.  My question is does anyone have any suggestions as to how powerful the server must be for this level of connections?  We like to use Dell servers.  Should we use the 64Bit Server OS?  How much memeory?  What type of Processor?

Any suggestions would be helpful.

Thanks.
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Commented:
The version for OS system depend of software you plan to run in the ts sessions for users.

If your software support 64 bits version, you can use a 64 bits server edition.

For the number of user your planing to your server a quad core processor should be a good option, and maybe around 4 - 8 Gb of RAM. Once again, it depends of the app you will use and their requirement.
I don't have direct experience with Terminal Server... but if you are investing in hardware now, don't sell yourself short. Your system will grow and bloat over time, and you don't want to be forced to upgrade your hardware at a later date. Especially if there is any chance that you will want to switch to Terminal Server 2008 at some point in the future which will have much higher system requirements.

64-bit will be a must. The 32-bit terminal server will be limited to only 2gb of Kernel Virtual Address Space and 4gb of total RAM, which will limit you significantly. Considering that all servers you can buy these days are 64-bit capable, and most of them will have more than 4gb of RAM, why limit yourself with the operating system?

I found an article for a product called "Nextech Patient 2011" which is some kind of patient care / management system that uses Terminal server 2003 for its remote access. Their system recommendations are below:

http://www.nextech.com/Training/SystemRequirements/Terminal-Server.aspx

Also here are a couple nice articles on the performance and scaling of Terminal Services on Server 2003:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=a2ae95da-be56-4495-9fb5-e4b7170b33d9

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=9b1a8518-d693-4bbb-9af8-b91bbc0d2d55

These sites seem to indicate that you need about 4gb for the server, and  +128mb for every active user you expect to have on the system simultaneously. I think the 128mb is a gross under-estimation, though, I'd personally budget 512mb per user for them to have an enjoyable experience.

So if it were me, I'd be looking for a server with a decent Xeon quad core processor, and 16-24gb of memory.

Take my answers with a grain of salt though, like I said I haven't actually had to administer a Windows Terminal Server yet.
Ray McGowanConsultant

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Commented:
Detailed Info.  Thanks.

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