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Plan to deploy Office 2010 in a Remote Desktop Services environment

Office 2010

Published: May 16, 2012

If you plan to deploy Microsoft Office 2010 in a Remote Desktop Services environment (formerly known as Terminal Services), review the best practices and recommended guidelines that are in this article. Remote Desktop Services is a server role in Windows Server 2008 R2. It provides technologies that enable users to access session-based desktops, virtual machine-based desktops, or applications in the datacenter from both inside a corporate network and from the Internet.

In this article:

Planning a Remote Desktop Services environment

Use the best practices and recommended guidelines in the following sections to plan an effective Remote Desktop Services environment for Office 2010.

Evaluating licensing requirements

To function correctly, remote Desktop Services must be deployed with Microsoft Office a volume license key. In the 2007 Microsoft Office system, installations could be completed on an operating system that had Remote Desktop Services configured, even if a non-volume license key (for example, retail) was used. However, when users started an application, they were presented with the following message:

“This copy of Microsoft Office Program cannot be used on Terminal Server. Please contact your local authorized Microsoft retailer for more information.”

In Office 2010, a setup time check is introduced. If the permissions that are associated with the product key do not allow for Remote Desktop Services, the Setup program is blocked immediately, which indicates that the SKU is not supported on the computer that is running Remote Desktop Services.

Evaluating software requirements

Be sure that you understand the requirements for the server and client computers before you install Office 2010 on a Remote Desktop Services-enabled computer.

Server requirements

You can run Office 2010 on a computer that is running Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2008, or Windows Server 2008 R2. You cannot install or run Office 2010 on a server operating system that was released earlier than Windows Server 2003.

Deploying Office 2010 on Remote Desktop Services requires a review of the design changes in Office 2010, and a review of the server requirements, depending on the version of Windows Server (2003 or 2008) that you intend to use. Because the current server hardware can support multiple concurrent sessions, performance may be greatly affected. Processor and memory requirements vary, depending on the workload. The following table shows the results of some recent tests.

Windows Server version Core processor Memory Concurrent sessions

Windows Server 2008

32

256 GB

1140

Windows Server 2008

16

256 GB

860

Windows Server 2003

4

16 GB

150

You can configure Remote Desktop Services to load balance on a Remote Desktop Session Host (RD Session Host) server farm if your customers need that functionality.

As Windows Server 2003 RD Session Host server capacity and scaling shows, the number of concurrent sessions depends on many factors, such as workload and configuration. To support thousands of concurrent sessions, you should use an RD Session Host server farm configuration.

To assist you in planning your server requirements, see the following:

Client requirements

One advantage of running Office 2010 on a Remote Desktop Services-enabled computer is that older, less robust client computers can access the Remote Desktop Services-enabled computer. Specifically, any computer that supports the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) can connect to a Remote Desktop Services-enabled computer.

Evaluating recommended guidelines and best practices

Be sure that you review the following guidelines and best practices to plan an effective deployment of Office 2010 in a Remote Desktop Services environment.

Capacity planning in Windows Server 2008 R2

The following paper, Remote Desktop Session Host Capacity Planning in Windows Server 2008 R2 (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=185079&clcid=0x409), is available for download. It guides you on capacity planning of RD Session Host in Windows Server 2008 R2. The paper describes the most relevant factors that influence the capacity of a given deployment.

Running Outlook in Online Mode

For Microsoft Outlook 2010, the most scalable and optimized configuration for large deployments is Outlook running in Online Mode against the Exchange Server. However, Customers who deploy Outlook 2010 now have the supported option of enabling Cached Exchange Mode when Outlook 2010 is installed in a Remote Desktop environment. This may be ideal for small deployments where Outlook is connecting over a high latency connection to an Exchange Server that is located remotely. For more information, see Cached Exchange Mode in a Remote Desktop Session Host environment: planning considerations (Outlook 2010) (white paper).

Single point of failure

To get fault-tolerance and availability, deploy a load-balanced RD Session Host farm. If a server fails, the other members of the RD Session Host farm will get the user load. However, users who previously had a connection to the failed server must log on to their desktops and start their applications again. A Remote Desktop Connection Broker (RD Connection Broker) must be installed to keep track of user sessions in a load-balanced RD Session Host farm. RD Connection Broker will track the number of user sessions on each RD Session Host server in the farm, and direct new sessions to the RD Session Host server that has the fewest sessions.

Remote Desktop Session Host server hardware

A Remote Desktop Services-enabled computer requires significantly more memory and processing resources than a typical server. In addition, although Remote Desktop Services is bandwidth efficient, the amount of data that the client exchanges with the Remote Desktop Services-enabled computers can be considerable and can affect performance. Consequently, before you roll out Office 2010 in a Remote Desktop Services environment, you should perform thorough capacity testing to ensure that the RD Session Host servers (terminal servers) have sufficient disk space, processing power, memory, and network bandwidth.

Remote Desktop Session Host server installation requirements

You must install the Remote Desktop Session Host (RD Session Host) server component on your server before you install Office 2010. You must also add every user who logs on to the Remote Desktop Services-enabled computer to the Remote Desktop Users group. Adding users to the Remote Desktop Users group enables the users to use Remote Desktop Connection to connect to the Remote Desktop Services-enabled computer and run Office 2010. If you do not add users to the Remove Desktop users group, they will be denied access to the Remote Desktop Services-enabled computer. For more information about how to install and configure Remote Desktop Services (Terminal Services), see Remote Desktop Services (Terminal Services) (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkID=34627).

Configuring Remote Desktop Session Host server

The most recent version of Remote Desktop Services Application Server mode has two new steps.

  • TSDisabled is a list of features that are not installed by default. They do not appear in the feature tree for customized installs. Therefore, they cannot be manually enabled.

  • TSAbsent is a list of features that are not installed by default. However, they appear in the feature tree (defaulted to absent). You can manually turn them back on through customization.

Disabled versus Absent

The following Office 2010 features are either disabled or the default is set to absent on RD Session Host server configurations.

  • TSDisabled: OutlookVBScript

  • TSAbsent: PPTSoundFiles

Customizing the Office 2010 installation

Before you install Office 2010 on a Remote Desktop Services-enabled computer, you must be sure that the installation states are configured correctly for the features and applications that you are installing. Changing the installation state for a feature or an application does not require special tools. You can do it during a manual installation or through the Office Customization Tool (OCT).

When users run Office 2010 on a Remote Desktop Services-enabled computer, they cannot install, configure, or uninstall features or applications. This is because the features and applications are installed on the RD Session Host server and not on the client computer, and users do not have administrative right to install, configure or uninstall software on the RD Session Host server (terminal server). Consequently, you must be sure that the installation state for each feature and application is configured as Run from my computer (that is, fully installed) or Not Available (that is, not installed). If the installation state for a feature or application is configured as Installed on First use, users see the following warning if they attempt to use the feature or run the application:

“Only administrators have permission to add, remove, or configure server software during a terminal service remote session.”

Likewise, if you configure the installation state to allow an add-in to be installed on first use, the following error appears when a user tries to load the add-in:

“Microsoft Office cannot run this add-in. An error occurred and this feature is no longer functioning correctly. Please contact your system administrator.”

You can configure installation states during a manual installation by clicking Customize on the Choose the installation you want page. For more information about how to perform a manual installation on a Remote Desktop Services-enabled computer, see Deploy Office 2010 on a Remote Desktop Services-enabled computer.

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