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168 posts

Master Geek

#175105 17-Jun-2015 14:56
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So we had a system setup to act as a terminal server to share some quite specific software that is designed to be run in that manner.

The person who set it up used windows 7 with the termserv hack to allow 6 users to log in with Remote Desktop mostly due to cost at the time.

We are now looking to upgrade the system due to lots of random issues associated with a crypto locker infections but that's a different story.

We were thinking the best way to go would be to use server 2012r2 but the licensing is confusing at best. I can't quite work out if essentials is going to work for us or if we need to go up a level?
I read essentials has a limit of 2 remote users and they must be admin so does that mean we can't by user cals that work with essentials?

Thanks in advance

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2092 posts

Uber Geek

  #1326550 17-Jun-2015 14:58
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Essentials only supports 2 Active sessions, regardless of how many RDS CALs you own.


In order to use Server 2012 RDS the way it was intended, you need to have a 2012 server joined to a domain (not a DC).  This implies a minimum of two servers, one for a DC, and one for RDS, which both can be VMs.


You could install Server 2012 Standard and install the RD Session Host and RD Licensing Role Services without joining it to a domain, but you will not be able to use the Server Manager RDS gui to manage it, or publish RemoteApps, or have collections, as well as some other features will not work.  You will need to use a combination of local group policy, wmi, registry edits, etc., to configure settings.  In this scenario there is no need for hyper-v to be installed

So Nope.

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Uber Geek


  #1326577 17-Jun-2015 15:11
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can you run it offsite?  Considered something like Microsoft Azure?

populism, the most important and misunderstood movement of our time


92 posts

Master Geek

  #1326855 17-Jun-2015 22:07
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All windows server operating systems allow 2 concurrent users at once to log in via Remote Desktop. To increase this limit (legally) you need to install the remote desktop services role on Windows Server (2008, 2008 R2, 2012, 2012 R2). This however requires TS CALs (Terminal Services client access licenses) to be installed on the server, otherwise it stops working. 

If your users are remoting on to the system one at a time any windows OS will do (7, 8, Server 2012 etc). Windows Desktop OS allows 1 user to connect remotely at once, whilst Server will allow 2. All you need to do for this is to add each user to the "remote users" group. 

Going the terminal services route is fairly long winded, but there are tonnes of guides on the internet. If you (or anyone who works with you) has a fair idea on the Windows Server operating system you can easily follow a guide online to install it within your premises. Otherwise you most likely will have to outsource the job. 

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Master Geek

  #1326860 17-Jun-2015 22:22
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Licensing at a minimum would be 1x Server 2012 R2 standard license and 6x TS Cals.  This assumes you already have a Microsoft network running Active Directory and the necessary CALs for devices/users. 

There are 3 types of licenses in play here. Server OS license, CAL (user or device) and TS CAL (user or device). 1x Terminal services user will require a normal OS CAL plus a TS Cal

Server 2012 R2 License = 1 Physical Server running Server 2012 OR 2x Virtual Instances (either on Hyper-V or VMWare) or 1x Virtual host running on 1x Physical Server with 2012 R2 installed.

1x CAL which is either User or Device based. If you have 10 Desktops/laptops and 40 users the cheapest way is to buy 10x Device cals which will cover all 40 users connecting on those 10 desktops laptops (great for where you have shift workers, or volunteers that dont all work on the same day). Get User CALs if you have users that use more than 1 device (ie users work in multiple locations, or users have a desktop and a laptop). 

TS Cals are only required when using Terminal services. This comes in User or Device licensing as above, but the terminal server can only accept either 1 or the other. So if you have a mixture you need to work out what is more beneficial for you during growth. 

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Uber Geek

  #1327176 18-Jun-2015 11:47
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If the remote TS users need to use MS Office, add that to the cost  . Some Retail,OEM versions of  MS Office wont be usable via a TS connection.

It wont be cheap, all up. When Ive priced it up in the past, the customer balked at the total cost.

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Uber Geek


  #1327189 18-Jun-2015 11:55
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balk at the cost of paying for IT, so just pirate it and she'll be right mate.

Sounds like this is a business scenario for the OP.  Businesses should be making money, they are not a charity.  Just like commercial software companies.

populism, the most important and misunderstood movement of our time

130 posts

Master Geek

  #1327227 18-Jun-2015 12:32
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If the server does not have to be located in your office (or NZ) for regulatory reasons, looking at public cloud will be a good option to save some money.


Amazon Web Services Windows AMI's come with the Server License built into the hourly cost. Real saving can be made if you only run your server during business hours, and have it switched off at other times - you only pay compute costs while the server is running.


To give you a feel for the cost to run a server in AWS:

Sydney region (closest AWS region to NZ)


Server 2012 R2 (datacenter edition)


2 vCPU, 8GB RAM, 100GB SSD Disk

40 hr's / week.


$US 67.39 per month to run this server.


You also have the ability to resize the server up or down to meet increased / decreased resource requirements. If you need to terminate a hardware IPSec VPN for private communication to the server, add another $36.60 / month

That leaves plenty of money for your RD CAL's, and no pirating or hacks required.


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Uber Geek

  #1327785 19-Jun-2015 11:39
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nathan: balk at the cost of paying for IT......

Yep, thats what its often like in the real world, with some small/med companies (not all)

They see IT as just another cost, and wont work out that over 5 years that cost really isnt that bad.
Thats why there are STILL so many XP PC's out in the real world, why some staff struggle with systems that are literally barely usable & only call
in IT when something actually dies.
Thats why they go to Noel Lemmings & buy the cheapest Win7 Home PC , then wonder why it wont connect to their server.
To save money they change their ISP, & dont bother informing their IT support untill email stops coming in due to static IP change

Friday rant, sorry

5346 posts

Uber Geek


  #1333023 28-Jun-2015 17:14
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I recall when I wanted to provide a limited remote access solution for staff who had forgotten to leave their desktop PC's they could RDP to via a VPN, I initially just left a machine on all the time for staff to remote to. Of course that didn't work when more than one person wanted access.

I am hazy on the details but I ended up using some commodity hardware (HP EliteDesk 800 i7, 32GB RAM, 500GB SSD and 1TB 7200 drive), put Hyper-V on it and then a couple of 2012R2 hosts. They were all connected to the domain.

Finally installed Remoteapps on it and published the main Office applications including Outlook, Word etc.

Users accessed the network via a VPN and then a browser to the Remoteapps server. I could have hosted an external gateway to avoid the use of the VPN but then I could have had to setup 2-factor authentication for the gateway which was a bridge too far me and the team at the time. Since staff knew hows to use 2-factor on the VPN anyway, it was easier to have them access the server "internally".

It worked pretty well as you can imagine but Microsoft licensing wasn't cheap. Needed a copy of 2012R2 which provides 3 instances of the OS (one for the Hyper-V and 2 guests) and then a bunch of CALs for each user logging on. I think I purchased a ten user CAL block.

Staying in Wellington. Check out my AirBnB in the Wellington CBD.  Mention GZ to get a 10% discount


System One: Popcorn Hour A200,  PS3 SuperSlim, NPVR and Plex Server running on Gigabyte Brix (Windows 10 Pro), Sony BDP-S390 BD player, Pioneer AVR, Raspberry Pi running Kodi and Plex, Panasonic 60" 3D plasma, Google Chromecast

System Two: Popcorn Hour A200 ,  Oppo BDP-80 BluRay Player with hardware mode to be region free, Vivitek HD1080P 1080P DLP projector with 100" screen, Denon AVRS730H 7.2 Channel Dolby Atmos/DTS-X AV Receiver, Samsung 4K player, Google Chromecast, Odroid C2 running Kodi and Plex



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