What is the purpose of Remote Desktop Services (RDS) in Windows Server environments?

Remote Desktop Services (RDS) in Windows Server environments serves the purpose of enabling users to remotely access desktops, applications, and data hosted on a centralized server. It provides a platform for delivering virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and RemoteApp programs to users across a network, allowing for centralized management, increased security, and improved accessibility.

  1. Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH):
    • Formerly known as Terminal Services, RDSH allows multiple users to access desktop sessions simultaneously on a server. Each user's session is isolated from others, providing a personalized desktop experience.
    • RDSH hosts the user's session environment, including applications and data, while the client device (such as a PC or thin client) displays the remote desktop interface.
  2. Remote Desktop Virtualization Host (RDVH):
    • RDVH enables the deployment of virtual desktops using Hyper-V virtualization technology. It hosts multiple virtual machines (VMs), each running a separate instance of a desktop OS, such as Windows 10 or Windows 11.
    • Users connect to these virtual desktops using Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) from their client devices, providing a full desktop experience similar to accessing a physical desktop.
  3. Remote Desktop Gateway (RD Gateway):
    • RD Gateway acts as a secure entry point for remote users to access RDS resources from outside the corporate network. It establishes encrypted RDP connections over HTTPS, providing secure remote access without the need for a VPN.
    • RD Gateway performs endpoint authentication and authorization, ensuring that only authorized users and devices can connect to RDS resources.
  4. Remote Desktop Connection Broker (RDCB):
    • RDCB is responsible for brokering connections between remote users and virtual desktops or session-based desktops. It maintains information about available resources and user sessions, directing incoming connection requests to the appropriate host.
    • RDCB provides load balancing and session reconnection capabilities, optimizing resource utilization and ensuring high availability for users.
  5. Remote Desktop Web Access (RD Web Access):
    • RD Web Access provides a web-based portal for users to discover and launch RemoteApp programs and virtual desktops from a web browser. It presents users with a customizable interface listing available resources, simplifying access to RDS applications and desktops.
    • Users can access RD Web Access from any device with a compatible web browser, making it convenient for remote and mobile users to connect to RDS resources.