A step by step guide to build a Windows 2012 R2 Remote Desktop Services deployment.
Part 3 – Adding Session Hosts and Load Balancing session collections.
In part two I detailed how to do an advanced installation, using separate servers for each role. In case you missed it, or want to check it out, look at this post: https://msfreaks.wordpress.com/2013/12/23/windows-2012-r2-remote-desktop-services-part-2/
In part one I detailed how to do a single server installation. In case you missed it, or want to check it out, look at this post: https://msfreaks.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/windows-2012-r2-remote-desktop-services-part-1/
In this step by step guide we’ll be adding an extra RD Session Host server:
ITWRDS05 will be the extra server. I used the same specs as in step 2 in this guide for the member servers, and used IPv4 192.168.66.25/24 and made it a member server of the domain.
If you’re building along and want to continue doing so for the next parts in this complete series, make snapshots of the servers before adding this extra server.
Software used in this guide:
Windows Server 2012 R2 ISO (evaluation can be downloaded here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/dn205286.aspx)
This guide will not focus on adding a member server to the domain.
And again some basic knowledge is assumed in this guide.
Installing the Remote Desktop Services Roles
Log on to the Domain Controller, and in Server Manager right-click the All Servers node and add the new server using the Add Servers command (or select the All Servers node, click Manage and click Add Servers).
In Overview, right-click RD Session Host and click Add RD Session Host Servers.
Note that the Remove RD Session Host servers option is used to remove one or more Session Host servers from the deployment. This will not uninstall the RD Session Host role service from the selected server(s), unless you choose to do so in the wizard.
Select a server
Click the newly added server and click the Add button.
Notice here that the only server missing to choose from is ITWRDS04, which is of course because this already is a RD Session Host in the current deployment.
If you want Web Access users to be able to log on to this server, you need to add this server to the Resource Group for which we configured a policy on the RD Gateway server in the previous guide.
On the RD Gateway server, open the RD Gateway Manager tool and expand the server node, expand the Polices node and click the Resource Authorization Policies node.
Type the name of the new server and click Add.
The Note you see here refers to the Remote Desktop Session Host server farm principle in case you also publish Windows 2008(R2) Remote Desktop deployments. In Windows 2012(R2) the farm concept is handled by the RD Broker and the RD Session Collections.
Click OK to apply the settings to the resource group and click Close to close the group manager.
Now let’s see what we can do if we have multiple Session Hosts in our deployment.
Of course you could add a new collection using the new session host server, but that’s no different than what I explained in step 2 of this guide collection.
Let’s do some new stuff with the new session host instead.
Load balancing an existing collection
In Server Manager click Remote Desktop Services, and then click the existing collection “Full Desktop”. Scroll down to Host Servers if this section is not immediately visible.
Specify RD Session Host servers
Since there’s only the new server in the deployment which has the role but isn’t assigned yet, that’s the only server we see here.
Select the server and click the add button.
That’s it. The Full Desktop collection is now load balanced over 2 Session Hosts.
To confirm this, and see how we can influence the load balancing properties go back to Server Manager and click Remote Desktop Services, then click the Full Desktop collection.
In this load balancing setup both servers are equally weighted for sessions. You could re-balance this if hardware resources are not the same across all servers in the collection.
While you’re in this screen, review the other properties of this session collection.
In this example we load balanced a Full Desktop session collection, but the steps to take for doing so is exactly the same for load balancing a RemoteApp program collection.
Managing a load balanced collection
Load balancing a collection makes it possible to do maintenance on your servers without annoying your users. You can put a server in maintenance without disrupting functionality.
In the Host Servers section for the collection right-click the server you want to do maintenance on.
Then select Do not allow new connections.
Of course, you will have to wait until existing sessions are completed, or instruct users to log off and log back on, in which case they will be redirected by the RD Broker to the other server. Yes, this is a new session, there is currently no way to migrate sessions to other hosts without annoying the user.
If you want to continue building along with this series, remove everything that’s installed in this guide. You can revert to snapshots, or remove everything manually.
– Remove the server from the session collection.
– Remove the server from the RD deployment, removing the role services as well.
– Remove the server from the RD Gateway Resource group
– Remove the server from the domain
And I will see you in the next part in which I will finally show a step by step guide on deploying and publishing a RemoteApps program collection.
Update: Part 4 – Publishing RemoteApps is now published.