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Home / What is Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (RDS)?

What is Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (RDS)?

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Remote Desktop Services (RDS) is a term for Microsoft Windows Server features that allow users to remotely access graphical desktops and Windows applications through an RDS environment.

Remote Desktop Services are an important part of Windows Server that allows virtual communication with other devices. For example, it is possible to communicate with remote desktops, session-based desktops or data center applications from the Internet and a company network. Terminal Services was the name before they changed it to Remote Desktop Services.

Remote Desktop Services can be used to get access to a remote computer and control other computers via internet through a single device. RDS also ensures that private intellectual property is protected.

In addition, RDS offers the following benefits:

  • The ability to run an entire desktop or application on centralized servers;
  • You can manage applications, virtual machine- or session-based desktops on centralized servers;
  • The ability to secure remote access connections without establishing a VPN connection.

Components of RDS (Remote Desktop Services)

IT can implement Remote Desktop Services using multiple instances of Windows Server performing different roles.

The primary role of the workload, hosting desktops and Windows applications, is the Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH). RDSH includes session-based sharing capabilities that allow multiple users to simultaneously access desktops and applications on a single instance of Windows Server.

Remote Desktop Services infrastructure roles deployed in Windows Server include Remote Desktop Connection Broker, RD Gateway, RD License, and RD Web Access. Microsoft offers Remote Desktop clients for Microsoft Windows, Apple macOS, Apple iOS, Google Android and HTML5 compatible browsers. This way you can easily work with an RDS server.

Evolution of RDS (Remote Desktop Services)

Competitor products such as Citrix Virtual Apps and VMware Horizon Apps use the RDSH server role. Other products may offer their own brokers, display protocols, clients and management infrastructure. Remote Desktop Services supports virtualized graphics processing units (GPUs) to enable graphics-intensive applications. IT can install Remote Desktop Services on-premise, in public clouds over infrastructure as a service (IaaS), or in hybrid deployments.

Learn more about Windows Server Remote Device Services 2022 vs. 2019.

User CAL model

For most companies, the User-CAL option is the cheapest way, as they usually have employees accessing servers through different devices. Think of an employee who has access to his email on his desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone during a typical week. You must purchase four CALs to cover these four devices, or purchase a single user CAL to cover that user.

Device CAL model

The only time the Device CAL makes sense is when you have a large number of employees using a limited number of computers. Some examples of this are a kiosk in the mall with part-time employees who come in and out throughout the week, a maintenance team that uses a community computer to get in and out, or a company that operates 24/7. 7 with a day and night team the same PC.

What if you don’t know which option is best? You can always ask us for advice. We will try to provide you with expert advice as soon as possible.

Combination of CALs

You can also combine User CALs and Device CALs in the same environment. It is not recommended because it is difficult to know who is using a User CAL and who is using a Device CAL, but it is allowed. So if you have a group of employees who each use multiple devices and you have another group of employees who share a limited number of devices, you can buy User CALs for some of your employees and Device CALs for the others. You will just have to work hard to keep track of how these CALs are distributed, because as a company you need to be compliance (sufficiently licensed) in the event of an audit.

Read more about RDS 2022 (Device CAL and User CAL) here.

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