A multiuser, thin client environment for Windows servers from Microsoft. The user's machine functions like an input/output (I/O) terminal to the central server. Software installation, configuration and updating is easier to control when the users' desktops run in a centralized datacenter, rather than in each user's PC. In addition, users can access their desktops from any computer running Remote Desktop Services (RDS).
Client machines can be fully loaded PCs, bare-bones PCs or dedicated terminals. Introduced in 2009 with the release of Windows Server 2008 R2, following are the major components of Remote Desktop Services (RDS).
Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP)
Microsoft's RDP is used to transfer keyboard and mouse movement from the user to the server and screen changes back to the user.
Shared Sessions - Terminal Services
Formerly known as Terminal Services, multiple users share the same OS and applications running in the server, known as the "RD Session Host." Shared sessions is the way Terminal Services handled thin clients; however, while RDS supports shared sessions, it also supports virtual desktops (see next paragraph). See Terminal Services
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)
Each user's "personal desktop" runs in its own virtual machine (VM) in the server (the RD Virtualization Host). It provides complete separation of desktops from each other to avoid conflicts. In cases where a personal desktop is not required, "pooled desktops" let groups of users share the same virtual machine (VM). For details of the virtual machine process, see virtual machine
Rather than deliver the entire desktop, the RemoteApp feature allows a single application to be delivered to the user's machine in a separate window. For Remote Desktop Services versions, see Microsoft VDI
. See thin client
Remote Desktop Services Modes
Session virtualization (formerly Terminal Services) and VDI provide the two major thin client modes of operation for Windows servers.