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Should terminal services ideally be deployed as a single or dual Windows 2012 server solution?

Posted on 2014-10-20
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Last Modified: 2014-11-10
Previously Small Business Server Premium was required in order to setup terminal services, with the second server then becoming the terminal server.

With SBS being discontinued, should terminal services ideally be setup as a single or dual Windows 2012 standard server solution and what are the pros / cons, if this can be setup either way?

There are approximately 20 users, with perhaps 5 terminal services sessions required at any one time, where users do not have their own desktop computer to connect to in the office.

There is also accounting software in place which uses SQL, with perhaps 5 users.
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Question by:itcroydon
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Expert Comment

by:Don Thomson
ID: 40392044
SBS  starting with SBS 2003  do not support the Terminal Services option - With the SBS 2012 Premium - you have a separate license that allows you to run a Terminal server as a second box. You will need to purchase CALS for the number of simultaneous RDP users.
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by:itcroydon
ID: 40392193
The question relates to setting up terminal services on Windows 2012 standard edition.
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by:Cliff Galiher
Cliff Galiher earned 250 total points
ID: 40392241
You'll want *at least* two servers. Given your described setup, three or four (virtualized is fine) makes sense.

I never colocate roles on a DC. So a DC is one server.
I don't colocate other *server* roles on the session host server, so that's #2
And the supporting roles for RDS, like lice sing, RDCB...since I wouldn't colocate them, makes #3.

SQL may warrant its own server, or it may be okay to colocate it on #2 or #3, depending on usage, demand, etc. Hence three or four.
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by:VB ITS
ID: 40392271
Do you plan on deploying Terminal Services (now known as Remote Desktop Services) on new or existing hardware? Do you plan on using Hyper-V virtual machines for the RDS Session Hosts (aka Terminal Servers)?

If you are only planning on having one physical machine then you can follow these steps to install RDS on a Domain Controller, although I wouldn't recommend this: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2833839

Can't really give more recommendations without knowing what hardware you have to work with.
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by:itcroydon
ID: 40421055
This would probably be deployed on two new servers, with RAID 5 SAS drives, 16GB RAM and a Xeon processor.

Previously RDS was not supported on a DC, but in a real world scenario, I am not sure if a single DC & RDS server solution is viable. Microsoft also seem to be moving away from a single server, multi-role solution for small businesses with the discontinuation of SBS 2011.
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VB ITS earned 250 total points
ID: 40421365
I would personally spend a bit extra on the core components of the server (RAM and better CPU, depending on your choice) and utilize the Hyper-V role. A single Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard license will allow you to fire up two 2012 R2 Standard Hyper-V virtual machines, providing you do not use the host for anything else except managing the Hyper-V Virtual Machines. Please have a read of the 2012 R2 Licensing Brief for further clarification: http://download.microsoft.com/download/3/D/4/3D42BDC2-6725-4B29-B75A-A5B04179958B/WindowsServer2012VirtualTech_VLBrief.pdf

For your scenario I think two RD Session Hosts would be the way to go. Having two RD Session Hosts allows for redundancy should one of them go down or has a problem. It doesn't make sense in this day and age to have only one RD Session Host unless you are restricted by licenses.

What I would personally do, funds permitting, is have two physical hosts running 2012 R2 Standard with the Hyper-V role installed. I would then have a VM on each physical host which would be a Domain Controller, this way if one host goes down your users will still be able to still be able to log in. Configure one DC as your file and print server, the other as the SQL server for the accounting software.

You can then assign the last remaining 2012 R2 Standard license for your RD Session Hosts.

With the Accounting software, make sure you speak to the software provider and confirm that they support their software in a Terminal Services/Remote Desktop Services environment.
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