Microsoft OEM Windows Server 2012 R2 Roadshow – Week 5 Q&A

This week I'll cover some of the questions that have been raised over Remote Desktop Services, from both a licensing and technical perspective.

Can I enable Remote Desktop Services on my Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials server?

No, because the Essentials server is a Domain Controller, Remote Desktop Services is not a supported role. The better option would be to purchase Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard, and use one of the virtual instances for Essentials Experience related functionality including Active Directory, and use the second virtual instance for Remote Desktop Services.

Why do I need to buy Remote Desktop CALs when using the Windows Server Essentials Experience role to access remote desktop enabled PCs inside my network?

This is because you are subject to the licensing conditions of Standard or Datacenter, which require RDS CALs when the Remote Desktop Gateway feature is utilised. In contrast, the 25 included users with Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials are covered as part of the server purchase. If a Remote Desktop Server is accessed in either deployment option you need to purchase RDS CALs.

What are the situations in which I should be looking at leveraging RemoteFX technologies with my RDS deployments?

When you your customer's requirements include support for graphically rich applications which benefit from GPU acceleration, advanced USB redirection capabilities, higher resolution display support, and higher session density per server by freeing up CPU resources by enabling the GPU to offload some capabilities. RemoteFX now assists in lower bandwidth situations, compared to the initial release which targeted LAN traffic rather than WAN traffic.

What are the considerations for choosing between using the new RemoteApp service inside of Microsoft Azure instead of using on-premises Remote Desktop Services?

At time of writing this there are two showstoppers for many SMB customers in Australia who may be interested in RemoteApp The first is that the minimum number of subscribers per month is 20, and the second is that this feature is not enabled in the Australian Azure datacenters yet. For many SMB customers this should be pointing them to keeping RDS enabled locally.

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