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Remote Desktop Server

Have been asked by a new potential client to provide remote desktops for 200 users.  Applications are MS Office, Browser, Acrobat Reader, and a Custom Database App.

My question is two fold, what is the average RAM I should allocate per user, and what is the best way to load balance the remote users for optimal performance.

I am trying to plan this out and need to figure out how many RDP servers I am going to need.  Based on the current number of users, I am thinking between 4 and 6.

Anyone who has field experience with this please comment.
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tech911
Asked:
tech911
3 Solutions
 
ZabagaRCommented:
Remote Desktop Capacity Planning Download for Windows 2008 R2

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=17190

Server 2012 Capacity Planning link below. Click the "White Paper" link on this site
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/rds/archive/2013/05/29/rd-gateway-windows-server-2012-capacity-planning.aspx
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Dirk KotteSECommented:
you need one server per 10-50 users (it depends of the type of usage).
the planing guidelines provided by ZabagaR provide good hints for the first sizing, but applications like internet-browser, specific apps, adobe-reader can consume a lot of memory and CPU.
You should offer a POC with some users and take the used memory, cpu and harddisk-usage and extrapolate the result to your user-count.
You can size to different directions, you can add quantities of memory and CPU to very few servers, but you can obtain HDD problems. Also if one server dies the remaining servers should take over the users without running into resource bottlenecks.
You can build many little servers, but you take a lot of maintenance and the OS take a lot of your resources.
You have to find the correct middle course.
if you size 5 servers to serve all your users without problems you should place a minimum of 6 servers. There are times where a new application has to been installed / tested or other reasons to take a single server away from your pool.
Also you should make mention of Citrix. Citrix XenApp is an addon to the MS terminalservices. With XenApp the customer has more options to distribute the users over the server-pool, a really working loadbalancing, simplified administration, better user experience and so on.
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ZabagaRCommented:
Some other considerations. Go Virtual. Load vmware esxi 5,5 on a super-beefy server and add 5 virtual 2008R2 servers. Or use 2 vmware esxi 5.5 hosts. You'll be able to scale better that way. Aside from memory and CPU, consider disk speed. Don't use 7K drives. Use 10K or 15K...or even solid state drives, they are lightening fast.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
YOU need to look at the current utilization - the custom database app could be resource intensive.  Or not.  You need to talk with the developers and look at how it uses resources.  Acrobat and Office are reasonably predictable. A "Custom Database App" we've never encountered cannot be reasonably calculated by us who have never seen it.

I completely agree - VIRTUALIZE.  BUT, while you should consider VMWare, you should also consider Hyper-V.  The All-Microsoft solution provides for one vendor for support and has a few benefits over VMWare, including easily accessing the virtual machine data (VHDs in the event of a problem, replica capability, and it's completely free)
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tech911Author Commented:
Thank you all for the comments, they are very helpful.

FYI - Lee, I have not seen the DB app yet either ;-) but soon.
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