Desktop virtualization admin's guide to Windows Server 2012

Virtual desktop admin's Windows Server 2012 guide

Everything you need to know about Remote Desktop Services provisioning, management and all the changes in Windows Server 2012.

Windows Server 2012 brings some exciting updates for desktop virtualization administrators. Here’s what's new and how to install this version.

Windows Server 2012 Remote Desktop Services (RDS) makes it easier to create virtual desktop collections and comes with a new stateless pooling mechanism. Plus, the RemoteFX remote display protocol technology adds adaptive graphics and multi-touch features.

Once you wrap your head around the changes, you can determine whether it's time to upgrade. Learn how to install Windows Server 2012 RDS, improve high availability and take advantage of RemoteFX improvements in this guide.

Table of contents:

What's new in Windows Server 2012 RDS

New RDS provides simpler management
In Windows Server 2012 Remote Desktop Services, you can now create virtual desktop collections without using System Center Virtual Machine Manager. In addition, a new stateless pooling mechanism automatically returns virtual desktops to a pristine state regardless of what users did during their session.

Configuring Windows Server 2012 RDS for high availability
To keep your virtual desktops up and running, you need to make sure RDS is highly available. Windows Server 2012 has improved connection broker high availability by adding Active/Active clustering and support for both RD Session Host and VDI desktop collections.

RemoteFX updates
RemoteFX in Windows Server 2012 RDS offers multi-touch support for users accessing a desktop from a device without a keyboard and mouse. It also offers adaptive graphics, a feature that improves graphics rendering for remote sessions. Finally, RemoteFX for WAN improves desktop delivery over the wide area network (WAN).

RemoteFX requirements for Windows Server 2012
With the changes to RemoteFX come a few new requirement alterations. For instance, the new version does not need a supported physical GPU. In addition to some other new hardware requirements, you need to configure Hyper-V VMs with a minimum amount of RAM.

Implementing Windows Server 2012 RDS

Deciding whether to upgrade to Windows Server 2012 RDS
Customers interested in optimizing WAN connections will see the most benefit from upgrading to Windows Server 2012 RDS. The new version uses the User Datagram Protocol by default for high-latency networks, improving the remote end-user experience.

How to install Windows Server 2012 Remote Desktop Services
Get to know the Remote Desktop Services roles before you install. In Windows Server 2012, you can use the new Server Manager to install all the RDS roles from a single server. Once you decide whether to do a Standard or Quick Start Deployment, you can do a virtual-machine-based or session-based desktop installation.

Watch out for Windows Server 2012 automatic updates
Some users have experienced sudden automatic updates on Windows Server 2012 that caused their desktop to shut down without much warning. This is an issue to be aware of because it could bring RDS desktops offline.

Quiz: Are you ready for the new RDS?
If you want to deploy and manage virtual desktops with Remote Desktop Services, test your knowledge of the new version with this quiz. You'll be glad you brushed up on RDS in Windows Server 2012 -- it's not quite the same.