Microsoft RDS - Relatively Decent Solution...
October 06, 2015

Microsoft RDS - Relatively Decent Solution...

Nathan Ziehnert | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 6 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Software Version

2008 R2

Overall Satisfaction with Remote Desktop Services

We are currently hosting three separate farms across approximately 20 servers. One farm dedicated to a published shared remote desktop (RDSH), one farm dedicated to hosing a number of RemoteApps (HEAT, Exchange Management Console, etc), and a dedicated RemoteApp farm for Elite Enterprise. In conjunction with the Remote Desktop Gateway server, Remote Desktop Connection Broker, and Remote Desktop Web Access server, we give users the ability to do their work from wherever they are most comfortable and ease the upgrade burden on our staff when it comes to upgrading particularly cumbersome software like Elite Enterprise. The applications available to our users via our RDS platform cover about 30-50% of our employees with plans to potentially expand that further as budget and time dictate.
  • Relative ease of setup: in comparison to some of the other solutions on the market (Citrix, etc.), Remote Desktop Services is rather easy to set up and get configured in your environment.
  • Feature set: Microsoft offers a good deal of the same features many competitors offer in the same space including a mobile app and the ability to have a "native" app feel for a remote application.
  • Inexpensive Licensing: in comparison to other solutions on the market Remote Desktop Services is inexpensive.
  • Move LOB applications closer to their server counterparts: this goes for all remote solutions, but if you have a line of business application that makes a great deal of calls across the network to your data center, your remote office users will likely benefit from the performance and stability side by moving those client side applications into the data center.
  • No centralized management: unlike other products on the market, Remote Desktop Services in 2008r2 provides no single management console. Users are managed through a console on the connection broker, web apps are managed on a per server basis (even when those servers belong to a farm).
  • Image Management: because no use of an agent like PNTools is made, bringing up servers and adding them to the farm is inconvenient. Static IPs are a must and round-robin load balancing is really your only option with the connection broker. Updating a farm of 5+ servers becomes a chore, but still easier than updating 2000+ machines.
  • Still a very green product: while Microsoft offers a lot of the same features as the big guys, it's obvious that Remote Desktop Services is still in it's infancy and has a lot of room for growth. I have discovered and requested fixes for a number of bugs in the mobile app alone - something about the QA process for these apps seems to be lacking.
  • Reduced management of applications sets for workstations - because the applications are centralized to a couple of devices rather than the user workstations, updating these applications requires less testing and less hours worked.
  • Certain applications work better when inside the data center next to their database or application server - performance and stability increases for those applications mean more effective workers.
  • Lower instances of support calls for applications - because the applications are not reliant on the user's workstation to be functioning as expected, we see less calls related to these applications.
We selected Remote Desktop Services based upon price alone. Other solutions on the market are significantly more expensive, but if your company can foot the bill you should seriously consider products that have been on the market for longer. The lack of an ability to easily upgrade farm servers has been a challenge for us - although it is still faster than updating an application on 2000+ machines. The lack of a centralized management console in 2008 R2 is also challenging, but you get by with the tools available to you. If you don't have the money to spend on Citrix or VMWare Horizon, Remote Desktop Services is a decent replacement.
- Do you have a well developed and managed application list? Without an understanding of the applications that are actually in use in your environment on a day to day basis, a shared remote desktop will not be very useful for your end users and will end up not providing a very good ROI.
- Are there applications that your users would benefit from being able to access from anywhere, or are there applications in your environment that are installed on a significant amount of machines and are cumbersome to update? In both cases you may see benefits to migrating those applications to a virtual environment.
- Is your network connectivity good across all sites - including low latency? RDS and remote desktop in general rely on solid network connections to maintain peak performance, although low bandwidth and high latency still work.