Windows Server 2016 – Building a single server Remote Desktop Services environment

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If you aren’t coming into an environment where RDS is already up-and-running, it will be helpful to understand where the roles come from and how they are put into place. In this recipe, we are going to combine a number of Remote Desktop roles onto a single server so that we can take a look at that installation process. When we are finished, we should have an RDS server that will allow users to connect and utilize a Remote Desktop session.

Getting ready

We will be using a Windows Server 2016 machine to install the RDS roles. This server is already joined to our domain.

How to do it…

The following steps will direct you through installing the roles necessary for starting your first simple RDS server:

  1. Open up Server Manager and click on the Add roles and features link.
  2. Click Next, which will bring you to the Installation Type screen. This is where we differ from normal as far as role installations go. For the majority of roles, we tend to blow right through this screen without a second thought. For Remote Desktop Services, though, we need to make a change on this screen.
  1. Choose the option for Remote Desktop Services installation. Then click Next:
  1. Leave the default setting as Standard deployment and click Next. On this screen, we could choose the Quick Start option since we are intending to only configure a single server at this time. I am choosing not to take this shortcut route because we want a good look at the different services that are going to be installed, and want to leave our installation open to having multiple RDS servers down the road.
  2. With this RDS server, we are planning to provide access to traditional desktop sessions, not integration with Hyper-V. So, on the Deployment Scenario screen, choose Session-based desktop deployment:
  1. We now see a summary of the role services required for our installation. Based on the options we have chosen, you should see RD Connection Broker, RD Web Access, and RD Session Host in this list. The next few screens will be used to define which servers are going to be used for these roles.
  2. Since we are installing everything onto a single server, for now, we only have one option in the Server Pool list and we simply move it over to the right column. Go ahead and click the arrow to do this on the RD Connection Broker page:
  1. Now do the same thing on the next two screens. In our example, we are using the server named RDS1, so I am going to use it as both the RD Web Access server as well as the RD Session Host server.
  2. Now you should be up to the Confirmation screen, which gives you a summary of the actions about to be performed. For us, all three RDS services are being installed onto the RDS1 server. We must now check the box that says Restart the destination server automatically if required and then press the Deploy button:

How it works…

We can follow this recipe to get our first simple RDS environment up-and-running. Our server will now allow users to connect and access virtual sessions that are hosted right on this RDS1 server. To log in, users may either launch the Remote Desktop Connection tool on their client computer and type in the RDS1 name of our server or open up a web browser and head over to https://rds1/rdweb. Either way, they will land inside a desktop session that looks and feels pretty similar to a Windows 10 desktop. Inside this desktop provided by the RDS server, they are able to launch applications and save documents, having everything run and stored right on the server itself rather than their local desktop computers. From this simple, single server RDS implementation, we can build and grow out to provide additional RDS roles on more servers, or for the purposes of handling additional user loads.

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