This is a step-by-step guide to installing Remote Desktop Services 2016 and publishing your application collections. But, for those not familiar with Remote Desktop Services, let me explain it first.
Remote Desktop Services is a virtualization platform for providing end users with secure remote desktop access, to published applications and remote desktops. Remote Desktop Services offer various deployment options, such as on-premises (Windows Server 2016) or cloud-based (Microsoft Azure). Virtualization can be session-based, meaning Windows Server host will provide resources or desktop-based, meaning connecting a Windows client will handle the load.
By installing Remote Desktop Services 2016, you will opt-in for a significant improvement compared to older versions. Remote Desktop Services now supports second generation virtual machines and deployment of personal session desktops, which enable each user to get an assigned Remote Desktop Session Host. Also, the Windows Multipoint Services is now part of Remote Desktop Services 2016, and is no longer a separate product.
Installing Remote Desktop Services 2016:
From Server Manager dashboard screen, select “Add roles and features”.
In Add Roles and Features Wizard, select “Remote Desktop Services installation” installation type. This will start the full RDS configuration process. In case you need to manually add specific RDS roles and features to specific server from the pool, you can select “Role-based or feature-based installation” but it is not normally used when installing Remote Desktop Services for the first time.
Select “Standard deployment” to install Remote Desktop Services 2016 normally.
The “Quick Start” option is suitable for demonstrating or testing a virtual desktop solution. It installs the three essential RDS roles (RD Connection Broker, RD Web Access, and RD Session Host) on a single server and automatically builds basic application collection for the host server.
Select the “Session-based desktop deployment”, unless you want virtual machines running Hyper-V for virtual desktop deployment.
On this step, you are given the information regarding which roles will be installed and which account will be used to create the deployment.
For each of these steps, you select one of the servers to have the specific RDS role installed. For the RD Session Host role, you can select multiple servers that would be in the farm.
After selecting servers for each RDS role, you will come to the confirmation screen where you can review deployment options selected in previous steps. Just click “Deploy” and the installation will start.
The installation of RD Session Host requires the destination server to restart, so you can check “Restart the destination server automatically” to skip a manual restart.
After installing of Remote Desktop Services 2016, you will receive the notification in the Server Manager.
Installing additional roles for Remote Desktop Services 2016:
After Installing Remote Desktop Services 2016 using the wizard, the “Remote Desktop Services” tab will appear on Server Manager dashboard. Under that tab, you can see the RDS deployment information. You will also notice that RD Gateway and RD Licensing roles are not set-up and you can start configuring them by clicking on icons marked on the picture below.
The RD Gateway role enables remote users to enter your RDS environment from outside by using RDP over HTTPS. RD Licensing role, as expected, handles the licensing for RDS.
To install the RD Gateway role, you must first select the server from your server pool.
To encrypt the communications between Remote Desktop Services clients and RD Gateway server, you need an SSL certificate that can be self-signed by your CA and only then can you share it via group policy, or it can be from one of the SSL vendors.
To install RD Licensing role, just click the icon for RD Licensing and repeat the steps for the RD Gateway installation. At the end of the process, you RDS deployment overview should look like this:
Publishing applications in Remote Desktop Services 2016:
From the Remote Desktop Services dashboard, select “Create session collections”. If you have used the “Quick Start” deployment type then you’ll already have one application collection created with some basic Windows applications published.
Give the collection you’re creating a descriptive name and write a description.
Select RD Session Host servers on which you want to publish your collection.
Specify the user groups that should have access to your collection. The wizard will automatically allow all your domain users but you can remove them and specify more.
For each user connecting to your RD Host, the system can create a profile that will be stored on disk or the file share. In this step, you can choose the location for a user profile and allocate disk size.
Your newly created collection will be visible under the Remote Desktop Sessions dashboards. Open it and select “Publish RemoteApp programs” in order to select applications you want to publish.
In the Published RemoteApp Programs wizard, select the applications you wish to publish. If the generated programs list is missing specific applications then you can simply add it to the list.
After you have added applications to collection, you can easily edit properties for each of them or add even more applications. To do that, just click the “Tasks” dropdown menu and select the wanted action.
This was a brief guide on how to install Remote Desktop Services 2016, covering only the basics. Each RDS role can be additionally configured to fill specific requirements. After setting up RDS and application collections, end users will start connecting to your servers.
Please write down in the comments if you guys would like to see more complex environments and I would be happy to write that kind of tutorial as well.
BTW, if you need to monitor who the users that log on to your servers are then you can use SysKit. Please ping me for the feedback, I love to hear what matters as you need to track your users and applications.