I'm investigating the Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials product for a client, but it's unclear if it supports multiple concurrent remote desktop users, or even remote desktop at all. It mentions "remote access" on Microsoft's site, but doesn't elaborate.

Does Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials in fact support multiple concurrent remote desktop users? If so, can you provide a link to where this information is stated?


Small Business Server (since 2003 I believe) supports Remote Web Workplace: basically a Web-based authentication front-end to allow users to authenticate on the domain and herd them to their desktops for Remote Desktop sessions or a Terminal Server.

Ties it all up nicely into an Outlook Web Access, file sharing (new with SBS 2011), and SharePoint portal as well. Have the 2011 version installed at about four clients at this point. Can't beat it for a server OS for a small business (say < 75 users).

The users would not be Remote Desktop'ing into the server though; it doesn't work like a Terminal Server in that sense.

  • The specific setup they have is a few Macs that use Microsoft Remote Desktop to connect to a Windows 7 VM running on a Mac mini server to access Quick Books. Previously they used a RackSpace server that had Windows Server 2008. This allowed them to connect simultaneously with multiple clients. The Windows 7 VM only allows one client at a time. We need to install a version of Windows that allows this, but the $1000 license for Server 2008 and 2011 Standard is too high for such a simple application. Would 2011 SBS Essentials allow us to do this? – Ben Baron Jan 3 '12 at 19:52
  • In short, no. You'd need Terminal Server licensing and a Terminal Server for more than two concurrent sessions. – gravyface Jan 3 '12 at 21:12
  • what about a hosted/cloud instance of Quickbooks? A Google search brings up quite a few. – gravyface Jan 3 '12 at 21:14
  • They're specifically trying to move away from that. They were using a RackSpace hosted solution before, they want it local. – Ben Baron Jan 4 '12 at 1:11
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    Then you'll need a Terminal Server and appropriate user CALs. – gravyface Jan 4 '12 at 15:18

The macs (and any client) should be able to do this through an HTTPS session to the SBS Remote Workplace public site ("Remote Web Workplace" in 2008, "Remote Web Access" in 2011), rather than through RDP/Terminal Services directly. It's basically the same thing encapsulated in a secure web session. The only trick is maybe you have to be using Internet Explorer.

2008 still has Remote Desktop, in 2011 this is cut down to two admin connections only - unless you get the "Premium" add-on,

Keep in mind that Quickbooks will only support Remote Terminal access with the Enterprise version.

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