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I have a quick question regarding Microsoft Remote Desktop Services in a virtualized environment using VMWare. This environment will actually be hosted in a large data center with in a cloud that is offered. This particular data center has the ability to establish high speed point to point connections with customers via metro-ethernet who are hosted in the cloud. The result is that customers can actually host their corporate domain in the data center's cloud.

Put the merits of such a configuration aside for the time being. Believe me when I say that the cloud is stable and had enough hardware behind it to rival a dedicated cabinet. My question has to do with RDS in a virtual environment, which would amount to virtual desktops hosted on a virtual server. I've read that this works without issue using Hyper-V and VMWare. But before I take the plunge I wanted to get some feedback from the community.

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Remote desktop services with many users can make good use of multiple CPUs, If you are using an older version of ESXi, there were processing scheduling issues when you had VMs with more then one vCPU. serverfault.com/questions/218823/… The scheduling issue, is supposedly somewhat resolved and much less of an issue then it was in the 3.5 days. –  Zoredache Aug 16 '12 at 4:48
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3 Answers

Using "cloud" infrastructure is a very cost efficient way of deploying virtual desktop infrastructure. To be honest, usually it's in a private "cloud" (i.e. a collection of servers running under vSphere, SCVMM, or some other hypervisor management solution, on the clients site).

The biggest issue you will have is latency; and this has very very little to do with the platform, and far more to do with the links to the server.

For what it's worth we have many terminal servers running on ESXi. Everything from a small 3-user terminal server with 3Gb of RAM up to large terminal servers with 64Gb of RAM that have close to a hundred people on them.

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I run 3 servers in a VMWare ESXi on 5 year old hardware and RDP works well. Multiple (8 users) work daily on one of the virtual servers and the only issue we had was the need for 2 GB of extra memory.

This scenario however is locally hosted in our premises.

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We've been doing the same for 4 years now with great success! Our use case is a development environment for geographically distributed developers.

Our ESX machine is collocated. Developers connect to our virtual infra via VPN. Originally we had a physical VPN device, but after that died we now have a virtual firewall as well (pfSense).

Each developer gets their own Windows Server VM. They login to this via RDP.

One great feature of RDP is the ability to "remote control" another session. But, because this doesn't disable the keyboard, mouse and screen of the original user, it allows for XP (Extreme Programming) style development!

Our developers communicate via Skype and email.

All in all, it has been a very cost effective solution. Hardware and Software is now rather dated (2 quad core Xeon processors, 40Gb RAM, 6* 750Gb SATA drives in RAID6 configuration, ESX 3.5u2, Windows Server 2003 R2), but that has added to the cost effectiveness.

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