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Windows Server 2008 R2 Thread, Server 2008 RD Connection broker - preferred server in Technical; Hi everyone, Although I've now left education, I still think edugeek is the best support forum going, so here's a ...
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    Server 2008 RD Connection broker - preferred server

    Hi everyone,

    Although I've now left education, I still think edugeek is the best support forum going, so here's a puzzler for you:

    3 Server 2008 r2 servers.

    ts-gateway - gateway service, session host (redirection mode), connection broker
    ts01 - session host joined to connection broker farm
    ts02 - session host joined to connection broker farm

    users connect to ts-gateway and are redirected to an appropriate server based on the number of active sessions, or reconnected to an existing session. This works fine.

    ts01 contains some apps that we don't have licenses for to be able to install on ts02.

    Ideas:
    1: What we would like to do is when members of g_managers (who need app on ts01) connect to the gateway, they are automatically directed to ts01. In event of TS01 failure they would be directed to TS02.
    From what I can find it is impossible to set a preferred server in the gateway or connection broker services.

    2: My next idea was to perhaps on ts01 have 2 network adapters, join nic1 to the cluster and leave nic2 separate. Have a different external address for managers to connect to, and then in the event of a server failure they would need to manually go to the connection broker farm. However, although I can create a separate RDP listener on the additional NIC the connection broker settings are not connection specific but correspond to the whole system.

    3: Have all users connect to the ts_gateway and be redirected to whatever server is next, and then have a remote app on their redirected desktop to the specific program. The only concern with this is that in theory a user could then have sessions on each individual server.

    Does anybody have any ideas on how to get options 1 or 2 working? I'm at a stage that I think option 3 is the only real option.

    Thanks,

    Lee

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    I'd love to know how to do this but im 95% sure you can't do it. Clustered/Farmed rd host servers only work in that capacity. Although it seems like you connect to the broker and it sends you to a free host, thats not actually how it happens. You actually connect to a random host, it checks with the broker and either accepts your connection or forwards it to another host. THis means that even when you specify a specific host rather than the farm name, you have no guarantee of actually getting a login in on that server.

    I'm not sure what kind of license would allow you to install an application on a terminal server so unlimited users could run it at the same time but not on 2 servers though.

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    The ts-gateway is actually handling all incoming connections at present. Our router directs external access on port 3389 to x.x.x.8 which is my ts-gateway. The remote computer name in the RDP settings is set as ts-farm. The ip address of ts-farm is the same as ts-gateway (x.x.x.8 - other hosts are not given same IP address). The documentation on dedicated redirection is here: About Dedicated Farm Redirection and Virtual Machine Redirection although it doesn't specifically state to remove any round robin entries for the other servers on the farm name I don't see what the point of dedicated redirection would be if it would only get the connection 1/3 times.

    It would be a nice feature to have a "home" or preferred server for particular groups, or the ability to have a connection broker tied to a particular RDP connection defined in RD session host config.

    I'm beginning to think that option 3 is the only way. Certain programs such as NitroPDF are able to be installed on a terminal server, but limited to a number of users. I've not asked them whether our TS license allows us to install on multiple servers though. There are a couple of other smaller programs too. Maybe an easier task is to look at the licensing on those servers and ensure that they have any extra licenses to cover multiple servers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee_K_81 View Post
    The documentation on dedicated redirection is here: About Dedicated Farm Redirection and Virtual Machine Redirection
    This states it is for creating a dedicated session host within a large farm rather than having the members of the farm handling the session redirection after a client connects. It will just stop a host from accepting RDP sessions itself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DMcCoy View Post
    This states it is for creating a dedicated session host within a large farm rather than having the members of the farm handling the session redirection after a client connects. It will just stop a host from accepting RDP sessions itself.
    Yep. Only my farm is 2 machines rather than 20.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee_K_81 View Post
    Yep. Only my farm is 2 machines rather than 20.
    But why? it's not giving you any more options. I'm not quite sure I understand 3 either. Do you want to remote app into ts01? It may work I guess, but remote apps published from a farm should be installed on all the RDSH servers within it, because as it's just RDP with a border it hits the broker just like a normal RDP session.

    What you could do is use a remote app server just for these applications, outside the farm, that can be connected to from it. You only lose redundancy for those specific apps then.
    Last edited by DMcCoy; 16th November 2012 at 12:54 AM.

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    Here's the full story to help give an idea of where we're at and why.

    TS01 - originally set up before I started as App Server, connection broker, Session host and gateway. App server, connection broker and gateway aren't used and people remotely connect using rdp.

    Company wants to have redundancy on the server so wants a second server put in and load balanced.

    During testing we've been able to get 2 servers load balanced with connection broker. rdp'ing internally to ts-farm (ip address of both servers have dns a records for ts-farm) works fine. Externally, our router only re-directs to 1 ip address (ts01) which is fine if the user has an existing session on ts01 or would be assigned to ts01 based on load. The problem occurs when they should be re-directed to ts02. In the "use ip address for reconnection" only an internal ip address can be used. This is then passed back to the external client, who can't connect to the server on it's internal address.

    To get around this a gateway needs to be used. The gateway can be set up on one of the existing server (ts01 for example) however we're then in the issue that in the event of TS01 going down, as it holds the gateway service, any other connections would be rejected (remember router can only forward connections to one ip address. To ensure this doesn't happen I've separated the gateway from the session hosts. As all this server is doing is hosting the gateway service and acting as rd connection broker, I figured I would make it a session host running in re-direction mode. No extra features, but no real disadvantages to it.

    That explains the setup I hope. Unfortunately the company aren't willing to spend too much cash generally, and don't really want to go shelling out on extra licenses for software, so asked if it was possible for users to have a preferred server. All my research and responses here indicate it isn't so the option would be remote apps from server ts01 to server ts02 or they shell out for extra licensing on the software that is causing the issue.

    Unless anyone has any other ideas?

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    *as an aside, much of what was set up here before I started isn't best practice and in some cases not even fit for purpose (non-raided storage server with no backups i'm looking at you) and I'm trying to fix things as I go, without trying to make things cost too much or cause extensive down time while things are brought up to scratch.

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    "Relative weight" of Session Hosts, which is set in the Session Host RDP-Tcp properties under the RD Connection Broker tab, allows you to shift the majority of connections onto a host when you set the weight of the preferred host to '100' and the secondary host to '1'. However this still means there is a very slight chance that TS02 will allow at least one client connection.

    Since you don't need a Connection Broker in this case (which is normally used for load-balancing), you could use MS NLB, which would allow TS02 to only be used if TS01 fails. You can either set it up with no load-balancing at all (in your case), or load-balance traffic arriving on specific TCP/UDP ports. All it needs is a single virtual IP on the existing network connections on the RD Session Hosts, mapped in DNS eg. TSFARM, and NLB can failover your server connections in seconds. This creates High Availability for your Session Hosts, better than a Connection Broker that uses Round Robin DNS (which still allows client connections to failed servers, causing connection errors).

    In this scenario you should be able to install the same software licenses on both Session Hosts because only one of them is being used at any one time. Also, if frequently-updated data is being stored on TS01, then as long as the data is being replicated (DFS?) from TS01 to TS02 you don't need to worry about staff losing their data if TS01 fails.



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