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I have a customer who would like to add remote employees to his company, but would rather not get a computer for each new employee (would effectively need 2 per employee....one with the employee, one at the remote office to RDP into). VPN is not the right fit, as varying Internet connection speeds make some of their data heavy applications unusable, plus they need multiple locally installed programs.

All that to say, which RDS setup makes more sense for this growth? We are only talking a few people, so should I:

  1. Buy a Windows Server 2008 with RDS and have people remote into the server, each with their own session?

  2. Buy Windows Server and use Hyper-V to create Windows 7 VMs for them to log into?

  3. Has anyone used RemoteApp, and would that be a better fit? My understanding is that RemoteApp does all the work remotely, so this would get around the VPN/Internet speed being the bottleneck during processing.

Any ideas/advice/experience would be much appreciated!

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2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

RemoteApp is the same thing as terminal services, rebranded. It would definitely get around your problem of not being able to use a VPN solution to let the users run their work applications on their own computers. However, you would still want to consider using a VPN to give them access to the terminal server, for security considerations. Citrix is also a good solution for this if you are really big, as it has better load balancing functionality and greater flexibility in configuration generally.

You will probably find that windows server 2008 with RDS (basically a terminal services license) is vastly cheaper than creating virtual desktops for them to log into, and consumes way less resources. Also, if you use TS (RDS), you don't need to instantiate additional VMs every time you want to add additional users; in many cases you can simply add licenses.

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I agree with requiring a VPN connection for security reasons, but then having them use RDS or RemoteApp after that so that the "work" happens on the remote LAN, and not across the VPN connection. Do you think it makes more sense for them to remote in and get a Windows Server 2008 desktop to do their work, or should I take a look at RemoteApp and just present them with the program shortcut? –  Silky May 3 '12 at 16:48
    
That definitely depends on your specific environment. My rule is that if they are usually using more than one application, they should get a remote desktop, but if they only ever use one at a time (and don't need to make configuration changes or browse the filesystem outside the program) remoteapp is good. –  Falcon Momot May 3 '12 at 16:56

I run a terminal server environment for about 400 overseas users. It is configured using a terminal server gateway, NAP and a single remote application.

The end result is people hit a web page, click on a link to specific application desired. The TS client (XP SP3 or higher required) which then sends a set of parameters back to my server. This lets me verify that I have all required windows updates, antivirus, etc running on my client systems.

Once authorized this will open directly into the specific application desired.

This same thing can be applied on a much smaller scale and expands rather cost effectively.

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