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How to setup Remote Desktop Services and Load balancing

This is the first of three How-To posts. As I finish the different parts I will cross link to them.

Part 1

  • Show you how to setup remote desktop services on a single server
  • I will also show you how to setup a licensing server.
  • We will setup a second server and configure and configure the Connection broker. The connection broker allows for Load Balancing.

Part 2

  • I will cover how to install RemoteApp
  • install a RemoteApp Application

Part 3

  • I will cover Configuring Remote Desktop Gateway

 

Part 1

We will be installing the Remote Desktop Connection broker role. It provides:

  • Load balancing sessions between multiple hosts
  • Allows users to re-connect to an existing session
  • Integrates with RD Virtualization Host servers for VDI.

First click on “Add Roles” in Server Administrator

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Since this is the first server and we are planning to eventually have two RDS servers we will install the base role “Remote Desktop Session Host”. Because This will also be eventually the connection broker as well I will install it as well at the same time. The second server that get’s installed will not need the connection broker.

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You will want to take notice of this. Any apps you may have already installed on the server might not work with Remote Desktop services. It’s a best practice to NEVER install apps on the server before installing Remote Desktop Services.

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This is similar to what you see when you connect to Windows Vista/7/2008 box via remote desktop.

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It will ask you what kind of Cals you have purchased. For this post I will be using a 120 day trial.

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Enter users that you want to have access to this. By default Administrators are added by default.

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There are some advance items that you get with 2008R2. Some of these items can cause a bigger strain on your host as well as your network bandwidth. Please read to see if you really need these items. I will leave them unchecked.

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Installing the RDS role you will notice a few things will be enabled and a few things will be disabled depending on what you selected in the setup Wizard.

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Hitting next will install RDS on the server. The install normally take around 5 minutes to go through. After it is done installing the RDS role your machine will need a reboot.

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After a restart you will now see that you have a few extra MMC tools in the start menu-Administration Tools – Remote Desktop Services.

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Open “Remote Desktop Session Hosts Configuration”. It’s a good idea to get familiar with the settings. Most people will go with defaults. These are going to be general settings that can be over ridden later by individual users.

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One tab you might want to change in order to help with support is:

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One thing you should not change is the security section. Microsoft RECOMMENDS that you DO NOT touch this tab. If you need to give users RDS access you should use the Group that is made at the time of installation. Here’s the recommendation directly from Microsoft.

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Next we will activate and install the licensing server. In server manager under Remote Desktop Services click on Remote Desktop Licensing. Click “Add Role Services” link on the right hand side.image

Again select “Remote Desktop Licensing” and click NEXT.

Configure the scope. I almost always choose forest.

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Hit NEXT and then Install.

Now that you’ve installed RD Licensing Server you can Go to the START menu and open up RD Licensing Manager. Once open right click “RDS” and select Activate Server.

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Hit NEXT on the first screen. On the next I almost always select “Automatic connection”. Make sure you have an internet connection before trying this.

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You should see something similar:

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Fill out your information.

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You will see the server getting activated.

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Hit next and next. Select your License program:

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Enter your License code and hit Add…

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The next few screens I can’t show you but it’s really just a next, next next.  Once check your RD Licensing monitor Manager. There should be a little green check on the RDS server now.

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Now that you have setup one server for RDS you will need to setup a second server. Please follow the same steps for the second server.

** The second server will only have the RD Session Host services role installed **

RDS – Configuring Load Balancing and setting up Desktop Connection Broker

First of I should explain what the connection broker is. The RD connection broker is a role service included with RDS. It provides you with:

  • Load Balances between session between multiple session hosts
  • Allows users to reconnect to an existing session
  • Integrates with RD Virtualization Host servers for VDI

The number one issue people have is that once they install the connection broker they forget that they need to add the computer to the Session Broker Computers group. The first server I installed RDS to is actually called RDS. The second server RDS server on my network called RDS2. Because The connection broker is installed on the first machine “RDS” I will go into the server manager on RDS. In server Manager go to “Configuration”-“Local Users and Groups”-“Session Broker computers” and add all the session host computers that you would like to add to your RD Connection farm.

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Make sure that both RDS servers (RDS & RDS2) are added to the “Session Broker Computers” Group.

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Add the servers and hit apply. Open Remote Desktop Session Host Configuration

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Down the page in the Remote Desktop Session Host Configuration manager you will see a section that says:

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In order to setup Load balancing this needs to say “YES”. Double click “Member of farm in RD Connection Broker”. A new window will open. The RD Connection Broker tab should be automatically selected. In the window that opens you will notice almost everything is greyed out. You will need to click on “Change Settings…” button in order to make changes in this window.

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A new window will open. Because you are creating a RD Farm you want both servers setup the same way. You will select Farm Member, Enter the name of the RD connection broker (RDS) and the name you want to give the farm. Just make sure that all other RD Hosts use the exact same name. The name is case-sensitive I believe. Hit “OK”

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The windows that was greyed out before should now look similar. I told the setup that I want to participate in load-balancing. If you used “100” on each server, both servers would have equal weight. 100 does not mean 100%. The number is relative to the other numbers set to the other hosts. Hit’s OK.

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… More to come…


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