Microsoft Remote Desktop Session Host Server – The Ultimate Guide for Devs

You are a developer, and you need to host remote desktop sessions for your clients or team members. The Microsoft Remote Desktop Session Host Server can help you with that. But what is it, and how does it work? In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about the Microsoft Remote Desktop Session Host Server. Let’s get started!

What is Microsoft Remote Desktop Session Host Server?

The Microsoft Remote Desktop Session Host Server, or simply Session Host Server, is a server role in Windows Server that allows multiple remote sessions to run on a single server. In other words, it enables multiple users to connect to a single server and run applications or desktop sessions simultaneously. This can be useful for remote collaboration, telecommuting, or remote troubleshooting.

To use Session Host Server, clients need to have a Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) client application installed on their device. They can then connect to the Session Host Server using the RDP protocol, which provides a graphical interface to the remote desktop or application.

How does Microsoft Remote Desktop Session Host Server work?

The Session Host Server works by hosting the remote sessions of users who connect to it. When a user connects to the server, the server creates a new session for the user and assigns resources such as CPU, RAM, and disk space to that session. Each session runs in its own isolated environment, so that multiple users can coexist on the same server without interfering with each other.

The Session Host Server also provides load balancing and failover capabilities. When multiple Session Host Servers are deployed in a farm, the Remote Desktop Connection Broker can distribute user connections across the servers, balancing the load and providing redundancy in case of server failure.

One of the key benefits of Session Host Server is that it enables a session-based desktop or application delivery model. Rather than installing applications on each user’s device, the applications are installed on the Session Host Server, and users connect to them remotely. This can make it easier to manage applications and updates, as well as improve security by keeping sensitive data on the server.

Why use Microsoft Remote Desktop Session Host Server?

Now that we know what Session Host Server is and how it works, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of using it for remote desktop and application delivery.

1. Centralized application management

By hosting applications on a central server rather than installing them on each user’s device, you can more easily manage updates, patches, and licenses. This can save time and reduce IT overhead, as well as ensure that all users are running the same version of each application.

2. Remote access from anywhere

With Session Host Server, users can access their desktops or applications from anywhere, as long as they have a reliable internet connection. This can enable remote collaboration, telecommuting, or troubleshooting, without the need for physical on-site visits.

3. Enhanced security

When applications and data are hosted on a central server, they are easier to secure than when they are distributed across many user devices. This can reduce the risk of data breaches, malware infections, or other security threats. Session Host Server also supports RemoteFX, which can provide a virtualized desktop experience with enhanced graphics and multimedia capabilities.

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4. Scalability and reliability

By deploying Session Host Servers in a farm and using Remote Desktop Connection Broker for load balancing, you can scale your remote desktop infrastructure to meet growing demand. This can ensure that users have access to the resources they need, and can improve uptime and reliability by providing redundancy in case of server failure.

How to install Microsoft Remote Desktop Session Host Server?

Now that we know why Session Host Server is useful, let’s take a look at how to install it on a Windows Server machine.

Step 1: Install the Session Host Role

To install Session Host Server, you need to first install the Remote Desktop Services (RDS) role on a Windows Server machine. This can be done using the Server Manager console or PowerShell. Once RDS is installed, you can add the Session Host role using the Add Roles and Features wizard.

Step 2: Configure Remote Desktop Licensing

If you plan to use Session Host Server in a production environment, you will need to configure Remote Desktop Licensing. This involves installing and activating the Remote Desktop Licensing role on a separate server, and then specifying the licensing server in the Session Host configuration.

Step 3: Configure Remote Desktop Connection Broker

If you plan to deploy multiple Session Host Servers in a farm, you will need to configure Remote Desktop Connection Broker. This involves installing the Connection Broker role on a separate server, and then specifying the Connection Broker in the Session Host configuration.

FAQ: Microsoft Remote Desktop Session Host Server

Question
Answer
What operating systems are supported by Session Host Server?
Session Host Server is available on Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, and Windows Server 2016.
How many users can connect to a Session Host Server?
This depends on the hardware resources of the server and the number of applications running on it. Generally, Session Host Server is designed to support multiple simultaneous users.
What kind of hardware is required for a Session Host Server?
Session Host Server can run on a wide range of hardware, from single server instances to large-scale server farms. However, the hardware should be capable of supporting multiple simultaneous users and applications.
What kind of network connection is required for Remote Desktop?
Remote Desktop requires a reliable and fast network connection with low latency. Users should have a high-speed internet connection or LAN connection to the Session Host Server.

Conclusion

In this guide, we covered everything you need to know about the Microsoft Remote Desktop Session Host Server. We learned what it is, how it works, why it’s useful, and how to install it. We also provided a FAQ section for common questions about Session Host Server. By using Session Host Server, you can enable remote desktop and application delivery for your team or clients, improve application management and security, and scale your remote desktop infrastructure to meet growing demand. With Session Host Server, the sky’s the limit!