January 6, 2015

Remote Desktop Services: What Is It and Who Should Implement It?


Hostway Team

remotescreeninscreenDepending on your business’s needs, Remote Desktop Services (RDS) can help your employees work more effectively and productively than the system or strategy you currently have in place. If you’re considering investing in RDS to enhance your workforce, spend a little time learning the ins and outs of RDS usage by perusing our brief primer below:

What Is Remote Desktop Services?

RDS is a capability within Windows Server 2008 R2 and, recently, Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2. Installed on a Remote Desktop (RD) Session Host Server, the technology hosts Windows-based programs, applications or full desktops to enable remote access for users. To gain access, users can use the RD Connection Broker, which provides access to virtual desktops hosted on the RD Session Host Server.

All files, applications and desktops within RDS can be accessed from a number of client devices (smartphones and tablets), operating systems, and HTML5 browsers with Web access and a Remote Desktop Gateway, which allows users to connect to virtual desktops and/or remote application programs over the Internet. As such, the quality of the user experience is dependent on the amount of network bandwidth available. If the user does lose a connection, however, the RD Connection Broker can restore it and preserve the remote desktop’s current state.

Who Needs Remote Desktop Services?

Employees across the board can benefit from RDS:

  • Work-at-home employees: RDS can be easily integrated into software deployed within a corporate environment, meaning if an in-house employee needs to work from home once or twice a month, he or she can easily do so by tapping into a RD Session Host Server within the corporate network.
  • Branch office employees: Because RDS is optimized for low-speed connections, which many branch office workers utilize, programs tend to perform better over an RDS connection than over a typical WAN. This ensures your branch office employees will enjoy a rich off-site user experience just as your users accessing local computing resources would.
  • Remote workers: You can easily deploy programs, applications and more from one central location on your RD Session Host Server; meanwhile, your remote employees can access those programs from their home computers and even when operating systems outside of Windows.

Why Use Remote Desktop Services?

There are plenty of benefits to deploying a program on an RD Session Host Server. Here are just three:

  1. Rapid application deployment: If you have programs that are frequently updated, rarely used or difficult to manage and maintain, then being able to quickly deploy Windows-based programs to computing devices across your enterprise with RDS will be a huge advantage.
  2. Improved bandwidth performance: Because programs are installed and run from an RD Session Host Server, you will no longer need to update programs on individual client computers. As such, you’ll reduce the amount of network bandwidth needed to access programs and will, thus, improve overall performance.
  3. Ease of upgrading, maintaining: Because programs are installed on the RD Session Host Server and not on client computers, programs are easier to upgrade and maintain. This frees up your IT team to take on other high-priority tasks, as well as mitigates risks and better streamlines overall operations.

And there are even more benefits of RDS with the newest version of Microsoft Windows 2012. A member of Microsoft’s RD team took to the company’s Remote Desktop Services blog in early October to elaborate: “RDS in Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012 R2 brought significant enhancements to the user experience, simplified RDS management and lowered the total cost of ownership. RDS in the next version of Windows Server builds on this strong foundation.”

According to the blog, enhancements to RDS in Windows Server 2012 include better support for OpenGL (1-4.4) and OpenCL (1.1), which will enable customers to centralize commonly used engineering and design applications such as Adobe Photoshop; simplify single server deployment for education and retail scenarios by integrating Windows Multipoint Server within Windows Server; and improve user productivity from personal devices.

Hostway is proud to offer the latest version of RDS client access license (CAL), Windows Server 2012 RDS CAL, which offers a number of benefits beyond what previous versions offered. Click here to learn more about how Hostway can help support your RDS endeavor.

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