Windows Server 2012 Essentials - moving up to RDS

I have a client that now have a need to begin using Remote Desktop Services to access the server from WAN and LAN for 10 employees.

They currently have Windows Server 2012 Essentials.

What will they need to buy and do to accomplish this?
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Cliff GaliherConnect With a Mentor Commented:
What you need to buy is correct. What you need to do is not correct.

First, you put in a bunch of steps like creating users and installing programs. Then you have a later step mention hyper-v.

 Of you are going to virtualize, that's a perfectly legitimate choice, but you enable hyper-v, install a guest OS, and THEN configure the guest. Which is not at all the order you listed.

Second, you make it sound like you plan on replacing essentials with an RDS server. RDS in 2012 *requires* active directory. So there is still a legitimate place for Essentials in your network. You aren't going to just be tossing out the license.

Essentials will be your domain controller. Al yournsysadmin stuff can happen here. Creating users, configuring group policies, etc.

Then a second server will be your RDS server. It'll have programs installed. But it will not be a DC. You also won't need to recreate users and some of that other stuff. So it'll save you a lot of time.
RDS is not supported on a domain controller.

If they only have a single server, they will need an additional licensed server instance to run RDS, they will then need RDS CALS to suit the number of users.
Ayman BakrSenior ConsultantCommented:
They will need to enable the RDS licensing server role and will will need to buy Windows 2012 RDS CALs either:
1. per device OR
2. per user OR
3. a combination of both above.

If they have more devices than users, then it would be more affordable to buy per user RDS CALs. Otherwise, if the number of devices is less than the number of users (which is 10 here), like in the case of shift workers, then per device would be cheaper.
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Cris HannaCommented:
as previously mentioned, you cannot use the RDS role on the Essentials box.  It requires a second server for that role
tsnironeAuthor Commented:
Thank you!

Just to clarify. Is it "not supported" or "not possible" ? And if its "not supported" what are the drawbacks?
Cris HannaConnect With a Mentor Commented:
both...None of the SBS products (Essentials is part of the SBS family of products) has ever been able to be a "terminal" server.   They disable the functionality.  It can be the licensing server
tsnironeAuthor Commented:
Thank you all for your answers and sorry for my delayed reply!!

So, no easy way of doing this I guess. Is this what they will have to buy and do:
P73-05762 / Microsoft Windows Server Standard 2012 Sngl 1 License 2CPUs
R18-04281 / Microsoft Windows Server CAL 2012 License User CAL
6VC-02073 / Microsoft Windows Remote Desktop Service 2012 License User CAL

Backup the data on 2012 Essentials.
Install the 2012 Standard, redo the users, ad, shares, printers, programs, etc etc etc
Make Hyper-V for RDS Host
Restore data


If so; two questions:

Regarding the "buy":

1. I find it a bit weird that MS does not have any cheaper "upgrade-path" for this...or do they? I mean, if the above is true then they might as well just throw their Essentials licence out the window....

Regarding the "do":

2. Can you "migrate" from Essentials to Standard

3. If so; is it straightforward or filled with pitfalls?

(Increased the points from 200 to 300 due to more questions)
Cliff GaliherCommented:
The biggest pitfall I see is that you seem very out of your depth here. You should work with a professional to plan your architecture and learn from them. No man is an island.
tsnironeAuthor Commented:
The thing is that this client only have one physical box and will not buy a second one.

Since essentials do not have Hyper-V role I would assume you'd have to toss it out?
Cliff GaliherCommented:
Essentials can run as a hyper-v guest just fine. It just can't be a host. So in your situation, I would do a swing migration from P2V, then you have essentials as a guest, the license to run a second OS as a guest...your RDS server, and centralized administration.
tsnironeAuthor Commented:
Thanks (again) cgaliher :)

I have problems decoding your last post, I'm sorry. Could you please elaborate on "swing migration from P2V" ?

Will I end up with this:

Physical box: 2012 Standard
Virtual os: 2012 Essentials

The main goal is for the client to be able to run remote desktop on a server running one application, I assume this should be run on the Essential then, where it is already installed..or? Bit confused sorry :/
ArneLoviusConnect With a Mentor Commented:
You should end up with a physical box running hyper-V with two guests, one Guest running Essentials, and one running Windows server with RDS
Cliff GaliherCommented:
As I said, it is clear you are in over your head. I've given you the same answer multiple different ways. I'm sorry, but there is no "easier" way to put it. You need to hire a consultant and work with them.
Ayman BakrSenior ConsultantCommented:
If virtualization is not in your or your client's expertise, and since they are small in size - just 10 employees- try to convince them to purchase a low-end physical server to set up the RDS server on. This will be much simpler in your case.
tsnironeAuthor Commented:
Thanks all for your input!! :)

cgaliher - I'm no expert by no means and I'm not pretending to be. If I could hire consultants and work with them I would do that - but where I live I am "the consultant" and I'm left to work with what I have. The area around here is mostly wood, not houses - but there is some industry that needs help but they (nor me) do not have the means to hire top-notch-consultants and pay them for the travel (LOOONG way), stay, accomodation, food AND hourly rates (around the clock). This is why I post here.

Another thing is that my main language is not english so I might have some problems decoding posts.

My humble suggestion for you (and do NOT mean any disrespect by this - please dont take it as such) - I know I can be perseived as slow to understand suggestions/posts and if you find it too bothersome to help just ignore the question and let others try.

I've setup a couple of 2008 R2 Enterprise and a few SBS - so I do know a little bit. My main problem is that I've worked on SQL and Unix for 20 years and not really worked with server since NT/2000 - so I'm "a bit" behind when it comes to Windows Server and especially virtualisation. I still understand the consepts and I'm pretty good to figure stuff out.

So...I've reread all the posts here and tried my best to understand:

I assume that when I'm done the physical box will be running hyper-V with two Guest (one Essential and one Standard) and also 2012 Standard host OS?

And is it so that the host should ONLY have the hyper-v role? (I've recently inherited a 2008 R2 Enterprise that has two guests and the host is running multiple roles on this box.....(including AD, DHCP and DNS) and this is probably why I've been confused since I thought the host could run dc/ad/dns etc and another Guest RDS - then I would have no need for Essentials...)

But if the host should only have hyper-v - then I understand the reasoning for two guests: One Guest being Essential running dc/ad/dns/dhcp/etc and the other Guest being Standard running RDS.

Have I understood anything right?
tsnironeAuthor Commented:
Tried to tidy up my english and upped to 500 points. Thanks for any help!
ArneLoviusConnect With a Mentor Commented:
with the full (not SBS) versions of Windows that have included hyper-v, you can run other service as well, but just because you can, doesn't mean that you should...

hyper-v hosts should do as little as possible apart from being a hyper-v host, the less you have running on them (and this is where 2012 core comes in) the lower the memory and iops usage, and the the smaller the surface area, so if you are running core on the host, then you are not affected by any restarts that are required for Internet Explorer etc.
tsnironeAuthor Commented:
I understand. It would probably also require less reboots due to Windows Updates as well as requiring less memory/hd-space etc....

Thank you all for your help!! :)
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