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Windows Server Foundation 2012 - will RDS work as a standalone server for SMB

    Question

  • I read all the forums on this topic and can't come to a conclusion as they seem to have conflicting information (there is one post regarding this subject with different conflicting answers but it wouldn't allow me to post in there):

    Can someone please confirm with certainty (hopefully has done it) whether Windows Server Foundation 2012 can run RDS as a sole server in an SMB environment.  I have read for days and still do not know since Windows Server 2012 Foundation is only available through OEMs and thus I can't test it.

    It seems there are two conflicting arguments:

    1) The documentation I read says that Windows Server Foundation 2012 has Remote Desktop Services "available" as well as Active Directory Domain Services. I also read that it has to be a member of a workgroup for RDS to work (or be part of a domain but let's assume we only want to buy one server and there is no existing domain).

    2) In order to manage RDS (and get it to work) on Windows Server Standard 2012, it cannot be a Domain Controller for security, etc.

    So it seems there are a few possible scenarios:

    a) Possibly Microsoft made changes to allow RDS to work under Foundation with it being a DC and the only server

    b) RDS works on Foundation in a WORKGROUP environment - they somehow fixed the ability to license, administer, etc. using the Dashboard without being part of a domain

    c) Foundation has to be joined to a Domain for RDS to work and thus requires a second server - not a good solution for SMB

    Which is it?  I just need a solution for small customers who want their first server and don't want to buy two and the associated licenses. I know you need to purchase RDS CALS in all cases as well. Thanks in advance.


    Tod Percle SMB IT Consultant



    • Edited by Tod Percle Sunday, January 20, 2013 7:58 AM
    Sunday, January 20, 2013 7:54 AM

Answers

  • We would like suggest you run the Server Foundation 2012 RDS in domain. Even you could install RDS role on a workgroup Server Foundation 2012, but Server Foundation 2012 RDS is designed to work in domain.

    The reason for this are 1) the legacy Remote Desktop manage tools, including Remote Desktop Services Manager, Remote Desktop Session Host Configuration, and the Connection Manager interface for configuring Connection Broker have been replaced in Windows Server Foundation 2012 with the RDMS administration console. Remote Desktop Management server needs to work in domain.

    2) Collections is designed to manager virtual machine-based or session-based desktop in Windows Server Foundation 2012, you could only run collections in domain environment.

    3) RD Connection Broker needs to work in domain.

    4) Most of the old PowerShell commands and GUI programs that would have allowed you to configure/manage a standalone RDSH server have been removed.


    Bob Lin, MVP, MCSE & CNE Networking, Internet, Routing, VPN Troubleshooting on

    http://www.ChicagoTech.net

    How to Setup Windows, Network, VPN & Remote Access on

    http://www.howtonetworking.com

    Sunday, January 20, 2013 3:44 PM

All replies

  • We would like suggest you run the Server Foundation 2012 RDS in domain. Even you could install RDS role on a workgroup Server Foundation 2012, but Server Foundation 2012 RDS is designed to work in domain.

    The reason for this are 1) the legacy Remote Desktop manage tools, including Remote Desktop Services Manager, Remote Desktop Session Host Configuration, and the Connection Manager interface for configuring Connection Broker have been replaced in Windows Server Foundation 2012 with the RDMS administration console. Remote Desktop Management server needs to work in domain.

    2) Collections is designed to manager virtual machine-based or session-based desktop in Windows Server Foundation 2012, you could only run collections in domain environment.

    3) RD Connection Broker needs to work in domain.

    4) Most of the old PowerShell commands and GUI programs that would have allowed you to configure/manage a standalone RDSH server have been removed.


    Bob Lin, MVP, MCSE & CNE Networking, Internet, Routing, VPN Troubleshooting on

    http://www.ChicagoTech.net

    How to Setup Windows, Network, VPN & Remote Access on

    http://www.howtonetworking.com

    Sunday, January 20, 2013 3:44 PM
  • Thanks.  So just a quick recap:  It looks like for a small busines to get into Windows Server 2012, this would be a minimum configuration (2 physical servers):

    1a. Windows Server Foundation 2012 - a "slim" machine acting as Domain Controller, OR

    1b. Windows Server Essentials 2012 - a "slim" machine acting as Domain Controller and RDS Gateway (only RDS role supported on Essentials)

    2. Windows Server Foundation 2012 - a "fat" machine joined to the Domain not running AD DS and running all other RDS server functions available

    No Core CALS required just RDS CALS on RDS Foundation since it is providing the GUI to the user

    Fat = large memory, decent processor, decent disk - because this machine will be running multi-user Quickbooks Enterprise and other add-ons under RDS that are typically memory intensive (10 users)

    If we wanted to go the virtual route, I guess we could accomplish this with 2012 Standard running two VMs as well.

    Any thoughts or confirmation?  


    Tod Percle SMB IT Consultant

    Sunday, January 20, 2013 8:04 PM
  • We have helped many small companies to setup Windows 2012 with just one physical server with two VM as you stated 2012 Standard running two VMs. This is the design details.

    Network Design for Small Business - Step by step with screenshots

    Network Design for Small Business - Step by step with screenshots. As you may
      know, "Windows SBS 2011 Standard, which includes Exchange Server and ...

    www.howtonetworking.com/win8&2012/w2012sbs1.htm

     

    Bob Lin, MVP, MCSE & CNE Networking, Internet, Routing, VPN Troubleshooting on

    http://www.ChicagoTech.net

    How to Setup Windows, Network, VPN & Remote Access on

    http://www.howtonetworking.com

    Monday, January 21, 2013 3:33 AM
  • This question remains fundamentally unanswered here, and I can't find a straight answer from Microsoft either.

    This is an important issue for any small business to run a single Windows Server 2012 (Foundation or Essentials) and use more than two remote desktop sessions.

    It is ridiculous for such a small business to have to run multiple servers just to use RDS.

    Using virtual machines is merely a workaround that adds complication and bloat that are best avoided.

    Wednesday, May 01, 2013 7:35 PM
  • I totally agree but had an unofficial conversation a few months ago with a Microsoft Employee that basically said they are "pushing" this segment of the market to the "cloud".   My eventual implementation consisted of Windows Server 2012 running Hyper-V with 2 VMs (one as a Domain Controller and one as RDS and App Server).   I installed another PC as a temporary backup DC but cannot afford it going forward because of licensing costs.  

    BTW: We replaced a cloud solution for about 1/3 of the cost and are getting about 3-5 times the performance.   Good luck.


    Tod Percle SMB IT Consultant

    Wednesday, May 01, 2013 7:46 PM
  • I totally agree with you. I am in the same boat and have come up against the same walls and ambiguity. This isn't a small nudge for small business to move to the cloud they are trying to do it with an arm around our necks. On top of that even trying to get quotes on possible purchases is like going through a maze. I am on representative number 3 and I still don't have an answer.  
    Thursday, October 03, 2013 6:09 AM