Windows Server 2016 – Removing an RD Session Host server from use for maintenance

Installing an FTP server

Occasionally, you will have to perform some maintenance on your RDSH servers. Whether it is for installing updates, installing new applications, or taking them down for some physical maintenance, it will happen sooner or later. If you have multiple RDSH servers in a collection and simply take one offline, user loads will eventually sort themselves out as the RD broker will send new connections to the RDSH servers that are still online, but you will have caused frustration and headaches for any users who were logged in when you shut it down. It is much more user-friendly to flag an RDSH to make it unable to accept new user connections and let the existing ones dissolve naturally over a period of time. This is kind of like a drain stop in the NLB world.

Let’s take a look at the setting included in RDS that allows us to flag an RDSH as unusable and force the broker to keep new connections from coming through to it. We’ll also reverse that change to make sure it starts accepting user connections again after our maintenance is complete.

Getting ready

We have an RDS environment configured with two RDSH servers. These are called RDS1 and RDS2, and we are required to do some maintenance on RDS2. All of our work will be accomplished from inside the Remote Desktop management console on RDS1.

How to do it…

To stop new user connections from flowing to RDS2:

  1. Open Server Manager and click on Remote Desktop Services in the left window pane.
  2. Navigate to Collections | MyDomain RDSH Servers. This is the name of the collection in my environment; you will need to click on whatever the name of your collection is.
  3. Scroll down to the bottom, where you can see the Host Servers section. This is a list of the RDSH servers that are part of your collection.
  4. Right-click on the RDSH server that we need to perform some maintenance on. In our case, it is RDS2.
  5. Click on Do not allow new connections:
  1. This will cause any new connections to be sent over to RDS1 or whatever other RDSH servers you have in your collection. Then, once your maintenance is complete and you are ready to reintroduce RDS2 back into the collection, simply right-click on its name here again and this time choose Allow new connections:

How it works…

This simple option can be a very helpful utility when considering maintenance within your RDS infrastructure. Remember, disallowing new connections to a particular RDSH does not mean that it is immediately available for maintenance because existing users will still be logged in to it. We have only set it so that no new connections will flow there. You can give it some planned time to naturally drop the remaining connections that do exist on the server before performing your maintenance.

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