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Terminal Services Gets a Name Change

Buh-bye Terminal Services, hello Remote Desktop Services (RDS). Microsoft has made the name switch as it continues to evolve its virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) strategy.

RDS isn't any more interesting as a name, but it is more direct. It's also more comprehensive, since Microsoft needs to move beyond the model of users connecting remotely to one application at a time. What exactly is Microsoft's vision here? The blog entry explains:

"RDS enables a full-fidelity desktop or application experience and efficiently connects remote workers from managed or unmanaged devices. RDS helps keep critical intellectual property secure and simplify regulatory compliance by moving applications and data from the user's access device to the data center."

I like "full-fidelity"; it takes me back to the days of hi-fi stereos. Note that RDS is coming with Windows Server 2008 R2, meaning it'll be available in a couple of years. One of the interesting bits of information in the announcement is that R2 will include the Remote Desktop Connection Broker.

The industry go-to-guy for this stuff is Brian Madden. Here's his less-than-awestruck take on the broker:

"This is also a perfect example of the path that Microsoft usually takes with new products. Other companies invent the product and create / open / prove the market, and then when Microsoft thinks they can enter the arena and be successful, they make a product that is not better than the third-party products, but that's just good enough (and free) that people stop buying the third-party products."

Here's my take on Brian's take: he's absolutely right, but it's still a good thing for customers. The more Microsoft builds this stuff in, the fewer vendors Microsoft shops will have to deal with. It's definitely worth checking out what Leostream, Citrix et al. are doing and what they offer; often, Microsoft's version of features offered by third parties do the job at a very basic level, but don't go much beyond that. However, if your needs are that basic, it's good to know that you'll have built-in functionality. It's very similar to Hyper-V right now -- no, it's not VMware VI, not even close. But for many, it will be good enough.

Posted by Keith Ward on 11/11/2008 at 12:48 PM


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