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I would like to load balance the Remote Desktop Sessions (no RemoteApp, just plain vanilla Remote Desktop Sessions) over multiple Session Hosts that have the same configuration.

I am using Windows Server 2008 R2 and have an Active Directory for authentication in place. I set up a Remote Desktop Connection Broker and added my Session Hosts to a farm.

Well, I am kind of stuck in this step, as all manuals/guides I found stop here. But to which server should my Remote Desktop users connect now to get "load balanced"?

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We have two remote access servers here and clients connect to a gateway who then passes the connection to TS01 or TS02...although I wouldnt be sure how this was set up and if the balancing is done through the gateway or another method. –  tombull89 Nov 18 '11 at 10:32

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

You'll need to use DNS round robin or NLB to distribute the incoming connections. An incoming connection will be routed to one of the servers (based on whatever mechanism you choose), the server receiving the incoming connection will query the Session Broker server to find out if the user has a disconnected session and will direct the connection to that server, or if no disconnected session exists the connection will be directed to the least loaded server.

Session Broker load balances the sessions, but it doesn't load balance the incoming connections. That's what DNS round robin or NLB is for. If you use DNS round robin then you'd create a dns A record for every TS server, using the Session Broker farm name for the A record.

So if you use DNS round robin, for instance, and your Session Broker farm name is "Farm", then you'd create two A records for farm with the ip address of each RDS server:

Name----Type-------Data

farm----A (Host)---192.168.1.1

farm----A (Host)---192.168.1.2

Users would connect to "farm" and the ensuing connection would be directed to one of the RDS servers based on the DNS round robin, which would then query the Session Broker server, which would then direct the connection to one of the servers (as described above).

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If I use NLB, will the user session still be redirected, or does NLB already recognize to which session host to route? –  Heinrich Nov 18 '11 at 14:06
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NLB only load balances the incoming connections. Session Broker load balances the actual sessions. NLB is a layer 3 load balancer, Session Broker could be considered a layer 7 load balancer. –  joeqwerty Nov 18 '11 at 14:41

Might you be able to substitute a hardware load balancer for the NLB?

Of course if your configuring a hardware load balancer with token redirection (ensure it is compatible with 2008 R2 RDS token redirection) versus IP redirection, there are further configuration changes on your RD Host Session servers. IP redirection is the default for your RD Connection Farm.

Optimally, this can also be done with a GPO instead.

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