remote desktop server 2008 R2 poor performance

tech53 used Ask the Experts™
Hello Experts.

I'm having a few issues with performance on a remote desktop server. I'll describe the environment below:

HQ has an SBS2011 server and the remote desktop server which is windows 2008 R2.  There's a 4MB leased line serving the HQ office.  There are 3 remote sites connected using VPN tunnels via standard broadband services using watchguard appliances. VPN tunnels are very stable.

I have published the RD server on the remote web workplace site which is hosted on the SBS. Users logon to the RWW site and click on the connect button under the RD server name. Job done.  

This is a freshly deployed RD server and we are still in the testing stage.  I have asked an IT savvy user to test it for me for a day and report back.  They say that there is a delay between keystrokes and characters appearing on the screen. Also when printing, the print job can take 1 minute to process and the app appears to freeze during the print job processing.

As in all SBS environments, the fqdn used to access the RWW site remotely has an entry in the internal DNS on the SBS. So if i ping the fqdn from a remote location, say at home, i get replies from the public IP address.  And i f I ping the same fqdn from a PC on the internal LAN (even from the remote sites) i get replies from the internal LAN IP address of the SBS. This is expected.

The RD server is a HP proliant ML370 G5 with 2 physial processors and 3GB RAM. Hard disks are SCSI disks in a RAID 10 configuration.  I know more RAM will help, but remember, theres only one user accessing it in this tesing phase so 3GB should be plenty.

I have applied the usual optimising settings as listed here >>
But I can't decrease the colour depth lower that 15-bit. Also I have chosen to reduce the desktop resolution to 1024 x 768 and the RDP client always connects in full screen mode.

So my questions are as follows:

1. Am I missing something fundamental here?  
2. Any other tips for increasing the performance?
3. If the RWW site is being resolved internally from the remote sites, the connection traffic is traversing the VPN tunnel. Would this be a factor considering other traffic is also traversing the tunnels to HQ?
4. most of the printers are large multi-function office copiers. The printer drivers are installed on the RD server but no actual printers are installed as devices. Users' printers are redirected with the TS session. What is the recommended configuration for printers, drivers and redirection?

thanks for your time and knowledge.
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If I recall correctly, when you remote in to a machine via SBS RWW your RDP connection is actually being tunnelled via the SBS server using RDS Gateway. It could potentially be this causing the percieved lag. Perhaps as a test and in order to eliminate the SBS server as a possible cause You could forward port 3389 to the TS box directly and see what the performance is then like. if this improves things then perhaps there's a need to beef up the SBS box or alternatively setup a dedicated RDS Gateway.


Agreed. That was my first suspicion. I have the RDS gateway role installed but am waiting for a host record to be added to DNS (external). I will forward the 3389 port directly to the RD server as suggested.

When i have the RDS Gateway accessible and functioning, I will be publishing some apps on the site.  Will this help the situation? I know that the session is running in the background on-the-fly, but if the entire desktop isnt being published, would this reduce the bandwidth used for the session?

Any other suggestions?

From your symptoms you're experiencing, your issue is either low bandwidth and/or high latency, hence the lag. Best way to test this would be late at night when there would be minimum traffic, but not during your back up window. You should notice a much improved responsive session.

If you're accessing a server directly via RDP or via a RDG has very little overhead. I would be interested in knowing whether your SBS2011 server is a little underpowered, as it effectively is acting as the gateway from the WAN.

I agree if you have the ability to test direct RDP, you should know if your issue is with the SBS2011, bandwidth or a combination of both.

I would also be interested if you've configured a HTTPS proxy on your Watchguard, see the following link for more info:|StartTopic=Content%2Fen-US%2Fproxies%2Fhttps%2Fhttps_proxy_about_c.html|SkinName=WSM (en-US) as this decryption could be your culprit too.

We've rolled out RDS and RDGs for clients and clients in fact have not known any difference or negative impact with a 2048 bit certificate.

Finally, can I also ask that you're testing connectivity via a Windows 7 machine or XP, Vista with RDC 7. If not, its available here:

Best of luck!


OK. I'm expecting the fqdn DNS entry to be made this week and i'll look at the https proxy settings then report back.


HAving published the RD gateway directly to the internet, thus bypassing the SBS, the performance has indeed been better.

Thanks for all who contributed.

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