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Are Windows Server 2008 Terminal Services Good Enough For Me?

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Update: Ericom has released PowerTerm WebConnect for Windows Server 2008. This is a free package that enhances the capabilities of Windows Server 2008 Terminal Services, adding several significant capabilities to that platform. If you are considering Windows Server 2008 Terminal Services for your Server Based Computing needs, I highly recommend that you give PowerTerm WebConnect for Windows Server 2008 a try.

Update: I’ve just posted Part 2 which contains more information to help you decide if Windows Server 2008 Terminal Services are good enough for you Server Based Computing needs.

With Windows Server 2008 release drawing closer one question people are asking is: will we still need products such Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect and Citrix Presentation Server or will Windows Server 2008 Terminal Services be enough? I’ve already written about this subject in the past but since the question keeps coming up I’ve decided to address it again. Windows Server 2008 may be good enough for you if:

  • Your needs are simple, e.g. you do not need central management of the Terminal Servers
  • You plan to upgrade all your clients to Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) or Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3). No, Windows CE 6.0 won’t do.

The reason you will need either Vista SP1 or XP SP3 on the client-side is that Windows Server 2008 requires the most recent update to the Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) client software for many of its new features to work. While Windows Server 2008 is compatible with older clients, these clients will not be able to utilize these new features. In other words, these clients will receive more-or-less the same level of service from Windows Server 2008 as they do from Windows Server 2003.

Here are some of the features that will only be available for clients using the latest versions of Vista or XP:

  1. TS RemoteApp – application publishing with seamless windows
  2. TS Gateway – HTTPS gateway for RDP
  3. TS Web Access – web interface
  4. TS Easy Print – universal printing – requires .NET Framework 3.0 SP1
  5. Plug-and-Play device support – requires Vista
  6. Single Sign On – requires Vista

Get the picture?

Update: I just found a very interesting post over at Thincomputing.net. According to this post Microsoft have removed AD integration from TS Web, the new web interface for Terminal Services, in Windows Server 2008 RC0. AD integration is required to present each user with only those applications he or she is permitted to use. Without this feature all users will essentially see all the published applications. Assuming this feature will also be missing from the official release, TS Web will be significantly less functional than was previously hoped for. I will attempt to find out more about this, and will post such findings when I have them.

Profile:
Dan Shappir is responsible for all aspects of product design, software development and maintenance of the Ericom's product lines. Mr. Shappir joined Ericom in 2001 and brings over 15 years experience in computer programming, and in the design and architecture of software products. Mr. Shappir holds a B.Sc. in Computer Science (with honors) from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel and an M.Sc. in Computer Science (with honors) from Tel Aviv University, Israel. | Ericom Software
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