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What's New in Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server 2012

Published: February 29, 2012

Updated: June 24, 2013

Applies To: Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2



The Remote Desktop Services server role in Windows Server® 2012 provides technologies that enable users to connect to virtual desktops, RemoteApp programs, and session-based desktops. With Remote Desktop Services, users can access remote connections from within a corporate network or from the Internet.

In Windows Server 2012, Remote Desktop Services offers enhanced support for the following scenarios:

  • Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) deployments

  • Session Virtualization deployments

  • Centralized resource publishing

  • Rich user experience with Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP)

  • Rich graphics experience with RemoteFX vGPU

Each of these is described in the sections that follow.

Remote Desktop Services introduced a VDI deployment in Windows Server 2008 R2. In Windows Server 2012, Remote Desktop Services includes new ways to efficiently configure and manage your virtual desktops. Some of the enhancements include:

  • Unified central experience – Deploy VDI quickly, and then manage your pooled and personal virtual desktop deployments through a new unified central experience.

  • Automated and simple single-image management – Take advantage of automated ways to deploy and manage pooled virtual desktops with a virtual desktop template.

  • User personalization – Preserve user personalization settings for pooled virtual desktop deployments by using user profile disks.

  • Less expensive storage – Use inexpensive local storage with live migration functionality between host computers for pooled virtual desktops. Personal virtual desktops can use the less expensive SMB central storage.

In Windows Server 2012, Session Virtualization deployment in Remote Desktop Services includes new ways to efficiently configure and manage your session-based desktops. In earlier versions of Remote Desktop Services, ongoing management of the RD Session Host servers is performed at a per server level. By using a Session Virtualization deployment scenario, centralized management and installation is enabled. Session Virtualization in Windows Server 2012 offers the following benefits:

  • Unified central experience – In Windows Server 2012, you can deploy Session Virtualization quickly and manage your deployments through a new unified central experience.

  • Simplified and centralized deployment – Simple scenario-based installations allow you to create an entire session collection at one time.

  • User personalization – User profile disks allow you to preserve user personalization settings for your session collections.

  • Centralized and unified management – Manage all of the RD Session Host servers in your session collection from a single location.

  • Fairshare experience – For a predictable user experience in Windows Server 2012 and to ensure that one user does not negatively impact the performance of another user’s session, the following features are enabled by default on RD Session Host servers:

    • Network Fairshare – Dynamically distributes available bandwidth across sessions based on the number of active sessions to enable equal bandwidth utilization.

    • Disk Fairshare – Prevents sessions from over utilizing disk usage by equal distribution of disk I/O among sessions.

    • CPU Fairshare – Dynamically distributes processor time across sessions based on the number of active sessions and load on these sessions. This was introduced in Windows Server 2008 R2 and has been improved for heavier loads in Windows Server 2012.

A Session Virtualization deployment consists of RD Session Host servers along with infrastructure servers, such as RD Licensing, RD Connection Broker, RD Gateway, and RD Web Access servers.

A session collection (referred to as a farm in earlier versions of Windows Server) is a grouping of RD Session Host servers for a given session. A session collection is used to publish one of the following resources:

  • Session-based desktops

  • RemoteApp programs

Session Virtualization is a scenario-based installation within Server Manager that allows you to install, configure, and manage RD Session Host servers from a central location. With the Session Virtualization deployment scenario, you’re presented with two deployment types:

  • Quick Start: Installs all the necessary Remote Desktop Services role services on one computer to enable you to install and configure Remote Desktop Services role services in a test environment.

  • Standard deployment: Allows you to flexibly deploy the various Remote Desktop Services role services on different servers.

In Windows Server 2008 R2, publishing and managing applications on both pooled and personal virtual desktops is a very time-consuming and costly process. Because RemoteApp programs only partially integrate with the native Windows® experience, they add to the management cost since there is no way to organize published RemoteApp programs to users.

Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server 2012 enables you to publish and manage resources, such as RemoteApp programs, session-based desktops, and virtual desktops, from a centralized console. Using this new publishing feature, you can get an historic view of resources assigned to end users, change published resources for any given collection, and edit properties of published resources.

In addition to the centralized console, you can now configure a RemoteApp and Desktop Connection URL by using Group Policy, and then give users access to the URL automatically through an email address.

Centralized resource publishing provides end users with an experience that can replace locally installed applications.

Windows Server 2008 R2 with Service Pack 1 and Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 introduced Microsoft RemoteFX, which enables the delivery of a full Windows user experience to a range of client devices, including rich clients, thin clients, and ultrathin clients. Windows Server 2012 builds on this platform to enable a richer and more seamless experience on all types of networks and devices. Specifically, Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) enables a consistent user experience when connecting to centralized workspaces even on networks where bandwidth is limited and latency is high.

Following are the key benefits for end users and IT professionals in using RDP in Windows 8 for their centralized workspace deployments.

 

RDP key benefits to end users

RDP key benefits to IT professionals

  • Rich end user experience

  • Access to corporate desktop and applications from anywhere by using any device

  • Secure, managed, and fully supported desktops and applications

  • Flexible deployment options

    • Virtual desktops

    • Session-based desktops

    • RemoteApp programs

    • Full desktop clients

    • Thin clients

    • Corporate networks

    • Branch offices

  • Diverse workforce support

    • Roaming users

    • Telecommuters

    • Bring your own computer

  • Keep costs down

Windows Server 2008 R2 with Service Pack 1 and Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 introduced Microsoft RemoteFX vGPU support, a set of technologies for a rich PC-like experience for virtual desktops. Windows Server 2008 R2 with Service Pack 1 introduced the following functionality:

  • Host-side remoting

  • Render-capture-encode pipeline

  • Highly efficient GPU-based encode

  • Throttling based on client activity

  • DirectX-enabled virtual graphics processing unit (vGPU)

Windows Server 2012 builds upon this platform and implements support for the vGPU from DX9 to DX11. The user experience is also improved including support for additional monitors at higher resolutions. As hardware acceleration proliferates to more applications like the web browser, the vGPU enables applications to run higher levels of DirectX within Remote Desktop Virtualization Host (RD Virtualization Host).

Maximum monitor resolution for virtual machines per Windows Version:

 

Maximum resolution Monitors per virtual machine for Windows 7 with SP 1 Monitors per virtual machine for Windows 8

1024 x 768

4

8

1280 x 1024

4

8

1600 x 1200

3

4

1920 x 1200

2

4

2560 x 1600

-

2

Remote Desktop Services is a server role that consists of several role services. In Windows Server 2012, Remote Desktop Services consists of the following role services:

 

Role service name Role service description

RD Virtualization Host

Remote Desktop Virtualization Host (RD Virtualization Host) integrates with Hyper-V to deploy pooled or personal virtual desktop collections within your organization by using RemoteApp and Desktop Connection.

RD Session Host

Remote Desktop Session Host (RD Session Host) enables a server to host RemoteApp programs or session-based desktops. Users can connect to RD Session Host servers in a session collection to run programs, save files, and use resources on those servers.

RD Connection Broker

Remote Desktop Connection Broker (RD Connection Broker):

  • Allows users to reconnect to their existing virtual desktops, RemoteApp programs, and session-based desktops.

  • Enables you to evenly distribute the load among RD Session Host servers in a session collection or pooled virtual desktops in a pooled virtual desktop collection.

  • Provides access to virtual desktops in a virtual desktop collection.

RD Web Access

Remote Desktop Web Access (RD Web Access) enables users to access RemoteApp and Desktop Connection through the Start menu on a computer that is running Windows 8, Windows 7, or through a web browser. RemoteApp and Desktop Connection provides a customized view of RemoteApp programs and session-based desktops in a session collection, and RemoteApp programs and virtual desktops in a virtual desktop collection.

RD Licensing

Remote Desktop Licensing (RD Licensing) manages the licenses required to connect to a Remote Desktop Session Host server or a virtual desktop. You can use RD Licensing to install, issue, and track the availability of licenses.

RD Gateway

Remote Desktop Gateway (RD Gateway) enables authorized users to connect to virtual desktops, RemoteApp programs, and session-based desktops on an internal corporate network from any Internet-connected device.

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