Terminal Server Configuration Setup Guide: Fast Start Environment

Organizations can use Windows Terminal Services to provide employees with access to Windows applications from virtually any device irrespective of the geographic location. Terminal Services, now known as Remote Desktop Services (RDS), is a server role in Windows Server that enables the server to host multiple, simultaneous client sessions to Windows desktops and applications.

This provides organizations with a highly secure and cost-effective solution to manage and deploy desktops and applications to many users regardless of the device in use rather than having to manage PCs individually. Users access applications, desktops and data from desktop PCs, mobile devices or thin clients without installing any software. By adopting this model, organizations benefit from easy application deployment and updates, cross-platform support, heightened security, mobility and simplified IT support. With tools such as the Terminal Services Manager, you can monitor and manage the infrastructure from a centralized dashboard.

Terminal Services Components

Terminal Services (TS) has nine components:

Terminal Server Configuration: Challenges Faced

However substantial the benefits may be, administrators face certain challenges with terminal services configuration when setting up terminal servers, publishing applications and rolling out client software to end-users.

Terminal Server configuration is not a straightforward process. There are many steps required to reach a working solution. For example, the terminal server and Terminal Server Licensing roles need to be installed and enabled. Users and groups then need to be added to the Terminal Server and the Terminal Services license server activated. Following this, the Terminal Services Client Access Licenses (CALs) must be installed. That’s just to get the terminal server configured for local users or remote users using a VPN to connect to a desktop. You have to configure application publishing after completing the Terminal Services configuration.

Application publishing is also not simple. Once the Terminal Server configuration is completed, the administrator needs to add TS RemoteApp programs as well as configure global deployment settings. Citrix XenApp, now known as Citrix Virtual Apps, for example, can take hours to configure correctly for application publishing.

Once the terminal server is configured and applications published, the next hurdle is to get the connected applications to users. This requires the installation and configuration of client software on employee devices. Fifty employees mean 50 different devices to install and configure the client software on. With TS RemoteApp, you can extend Windows applications to any remote device while restricting users to a specific program. However, terminal server licensing costs have to be considered. In addition to Terminal Services licensing, you need to buy licenses for the number of users connecting to a TS RemoteApp. These TS CALs are limited by the number of users.

Microsoft offers a desktop management tool called Terminal Services Manager, which allows IT administrators to check which users are connected to each host, what processes are running, and how many server resources are in use. This data is displayed in a table format as well as graphs. Terminal Services Manager is installed by default. However, it offers limited functionality and doesn’t support cross-platform devices.

Terminal Server Setup: The Guided Method with Parallels RAS

Parallels® Remote Application Server (RAS) is an all-in-one remote working solution that enables access to virtual applications and desktops on any device, anytime, anywhere.

The Parallels RAS Console enables the configuration and administration of Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) infrastructures and Parallels RAS farms from a single pane of glass. With its interactive dashboard showing the statuses of your infrastructure’s various components, administrators can revert and track changes, scroll through different settings, search components using filters, set automated trigger notifications and schedule self-executing custom scripts.

From the Parallels RAS Console, IT administrators can use templates to automatically generate and deploy virtual desktops or RD session hosts on-demand, allowing several VMs to be deployed simultaneously, and saving precious time and lowering TCO in the process.

IT administrators use the Parallels RAS Console to deploy servers, publish applications and desktops, monitor resources, manage connected devices, and define security policies. Other features allow effortless management of multiple customers or tenants, making it easy for administrators to divide standard components such as gateways and load balancers among customers, and maximizing resource usage and securing customer data at the same time.

The Parallels RAS Console is also available as a web-based application for troubleshooting user sessions, resetting sessions, killing running processes, and logging off users. With the web-based tool, administrators can gain full access to a Windows desktop on the device and control both remote applications as well as applications running locally on the device.

Parallels RAS offers guided terminal server setup, application publishing and automated user setup wizards that provide organizations with efficient tools to implement their own RDS/Terminal Services environment.

At the initial startup, administrators run a setup wizard that allows easy selection of multiple Terminal Servers available within the network and automatically installs RDS roles, adds firewall rules, and restarts the server when completed.

Publishing applications is even easier. Using the Publish Applications Wizard, administrators can select one or more applications available on a list and publish them to the Terminal Server with one click.

Finally, the Invite Users Wizard walks the administrator through configuring an SMTP server and sending domain users an email containing installation and configuration information.

To get started with Parallels RAS, download your free trial.