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Terminal Servers acting as database server recommendations

Posted on 2012-08-14
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I need a little feedback from some experts in the field of Terminal servers in general such as Citrix, and Remote Desktop services etc.  We have a server up and running smoothly with applications such as office, Microsoft CRM, call manager applications in a "session based" desktop environment.  My superiors are requesting I place software locally installed on the server in which currently work off of a client/server, or client to database connectivity to eliminate the need for the application server.  The client is currently installed on TS and a separate application server.  This request is in an effort to reduce the number of servers in use as well as eliminate issues the application is having.  Also, the second request is to start installing applications on a "per-user" basis and not installed system wide for all users.  Against better judgement, I continue to advise against it so the terminal server can continue to serve the function it was designed and deployed to do.  I would love to hear from anyone out there that can give me maybe some "best practices" documents or point me to some hardened examples of why NOT to do this (install database software, run a database server on terminal server) so I can have a little to arm myself with.

There is a lot more in which is not detailed here such as the original design to use RemoteApp and session based connections based on user need, the use of App-V and Webapp but that's all too much to discuss.  Thank you!
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Question by:ehouser_paralleltech
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by:Manpreet SIngh Khatra
ID: 38295186
Cons
- Reduced flexibility for the end user.
- Dependency on a single machine
- Not all applications might run on a Terminal Server; Compatibility issues.
- Downside is cost mostly and it can be quite complicated getting various apps to work on it.

- Rancy
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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 38295258
@Rancy:  I believe you read the question backwards, he already HAS everything running on the TS + Application Server.

@ehouser_paralleltech:  Most database programs are HUGE network hogs, and removing the TS from the current config and pushing out the load to the clients may, in fact, bog down your network and those programs so they completely fail.

You might try deploying the apps to just one client machine at a time and see how it does.  Microsoft CRM will do fine in a Client/Server configuration but it downloads a cache of each user's data to their local machine, so if space is an issue on the client side that could be a problem.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
ID: 38295264
"Also, the second request is to start installing applications on a "per-user" basis and not installed system wide for all users."

This is no problem at all.  Perhaps you really need to be looking at deploying TS RemoteApps and configure each per user?

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc730673(v=ws.10).aspx

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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by:ehouser_paralleltech
ID: 38295845
So maybe my post was in fact a little confusing so, what I currently run is a TS with various "client" apps on it utilizing session based connections, RemoteApp where appropriate as well as the web app.  We also have a 2003 server acting as a database/application server.  What I do NOT want to do is transfer the database application, all the data etc. over onto the terminal server due to the potential of performance issues as well as compatibility problems.

What I meant by installing per user is going against the proper installation method of apps on a TS.  I could in fact (and do already) is install for all users but only choose certain apps to publish out to a group by remoteapp, or use app-v and choose these by profile settings.  What I do NOT want to do is, log on to the TS as a normal user and install an application ONLY as that user (utilizing "run-as") and only have that ONE user have the app.  It just doesn;t make any sense but that is what I am being asked to do.  At this point, it would be better would it not to add the VDI portion of TS and create that one and only user their own personal VM?  Thanks again!
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asavener earned 300 total points
ID: 38297069
What you're being asked to do goes against a number of best practices, but it sounds like you're already aware of that.

If they want to compartmentalize the software installs, then you are correct that VDI is the correct solution to accomplish that.

Depending on the application, installing a standalone application server with both the client and server portions can work, but adding additional terminal server applications on top of the standalone implementation is probably a bad idea.  I would counter them and suggest a standalone application server with remote desktop services for that one application, and keep the other applications on your current terminal server.  This should address the concerns about application performance.  

The concerns about reducing the number of servers are misplaced, IMO.  While server proliferation can be a problem, combining database roles with remote desktop services roles is not the best way to address that concern.  First priority should be server uptime so that people can get their work done.
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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy earned 1200 total points
ID: 38308114
WOW!  You are right in your thinking that all of this is a bad idea.

Perhaps instead of looking at what you are being asked to do, you need to look at what they are trying to accomplish with their requests and see if you can provide a solid answer to how their needs are being met?

Because listening to superiors who ask you to do things which will ultimately cause technical problems is always a bad way to go.  I've generally found that if I can narrow down what their main concern is, then I can explain to them how that concern will be handled in the most efficient way possible.  (More than likely NOT how they had envisioned it to be done -- but you have to explain why the way you are suggesting is better).

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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Author Comment

by:ehouser_paralleltech
ID: 38311675
Thanks to all who have responded with great insight.  I am looking for however as mentioned in the original post, some hard documentation on the "best practices" for either terminal services combined with the application server role or combing certain server types such as these as "past experience" and "educated recommendations" will not generally suffice.  Thanks again!
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by:Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy
Jeffrey Kane - TechSoEasy earned 1200 total points
ID: 38316501
The only way you will know for sure will not come from any hard documentation, but rather from doing some very intensive planning and testing.  Because every configuration is different, the way things behave in your environment will be different than another.

Therefore, you can use an official Assessment and Planning Toolkit which are designed for very large enterprises and will most likely take you more time to learn how to use than they are worth.  Or you can use the deployment guides to help assess your needs:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff817597(v=ws.10)

Or, you can do as most of us do... by trial and error.  Move the app over to your TS and give it a try, but be ready to revert back to your current configuration at any moment.

Jeff
TechSoEasy
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