Why use Remote Desktop?
If you deploy a program on an RD Session Host server instead of on each device, there are many benefits. These include the following:
- Application deployment: You can quickly deploy Windows-based programs to computing devices across an enterprise. Remote Desktop Services is especially useful when you have programs that are frequently updated, infrequently used, or difficult to manage.
- Application consolidation: Programs are installed and run from an RD Session Host server, eliminating the need for updating programs on client computers. This also reduces the amount of network bandwidth that is required to access programs.
- Remote access: Users can access programs that are running on an RD Session Host server from devices such as home computers, kiosks, low-powered hardware, and operating systems other than Windows.
- Branch office access: Remote Desktop Services provides better program performance for branch office workers who need access to centralized data stores. Data-intensive programs sometimes do not have client/server protocols that are optimized for low-speed connections. Programs of this kind frequently perform better over a Remote Desktop Services connection than over a typical wide area network.
Remote Desktop Services is a server role that consists of several role services. In Windows Server 2008 R2, Remote Desktop Services consists of the following role services:
- RD Session Host: Remote Desktop Session Host (RD Session Host), formerly Terminal Server, enables a server to host Windows-based programs or the full Windows desktop. Users can connect to an RD Session Host server to run programs, to save files, and to use network resources on that server.
- RD Web Access: Remote Desktop Web Access (RD Web Access), formerly TS Web Access, enables users to access RemoteApp and Desktop Connection through the Start menu on a computer that is running Windows 7 or through a Web browser. RemoteApp and Desktop Connection provides a customized view of RemoteApp programs and virtual desktops to users.
- RD Licensing: Remote Desktop Licensing (RD Licensing), formerly TS Licensing, manages the Remote Desktop Services client access licenses (RDS CALs) that are required for each device or user to connect to an RD Session Host server. You use RD Licensing to install, issue, and track the availability of RDS CALs on a Remote Desktop license server.
- RD Gateway: Remote Desktop Gateway (RD Gateway), formerly TS Gateway, enables authorized remote users to connect to resources on an internal corporate network, from any Internet-connected device.
- RD Connection Broker: Remote Desktop Connection Broker (RD Connection Broker), formerly TS Session Broker, supports session load balancing and session reconnection in a load-balanced RD Session Host server farm. RD Connection Broker is also used to provide users access to RemoteApp programs and virtual desktops through RemoteApp and Desktop Connection.
- RD Virtualization Host: Remote Desktop Virtualization Host (RD Virtualization Host) integrates with Hyper-V to host virtual machines and provide them to users as virtual desktops. You can assign a unique virtual desktop to each user in your organization, or provide them shared access to a pool of virtual desktops.
What is RD Session Host?
An RD Session Host server is the server that hosts Windows-based programs or the full Windows desktop for Remote Desktop Services clients. Users can connect to an RD Session Host server to run programs, to save files, and to use network resources on that server. Users can access an RD Session Host server by using the Remote Desktop Connection client or by using RemoteApp programs.
For more information about RD Session Host, see the Remote Desktop Services page on the Windows Server 2008 R2 TechCenter (
What is RD Web Access?
RD Web Access enables users to access RemoteApp and Desktop Connection through the Start menu on a computer that is running Windows 7 or through a Web browser. RemoteApp and Desktop Connection provides a customized view of RemoteApp programs and virtual desktops to users.
When a user starts a RemoteApp program, a Remote Desktop Services session is started on the RD Session Host server that hosts the RemoteApp program. If a user connects to a virtual desktop, a remote desktop connection is made to a virtual machine that is running on an RD Virtualization Host server.
To configure which RemoteApp programs and virtual desktops will be available through RemoteApp and Desktop Connection, you must install the RD Connection Broker role service on a computer that is running Windows Server 2008 R2, and then use the Remote Desktop Connection Manager tool.
You can also use RD Web Access if you only want to make RemoteApp programs on an RD Session Host server available to users through a Web browser.