Choose a VDI Deployment Scenario

Applies To: Windows 8.1

Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) deployments in education allow you to use virtual machine-based or session-based desktop deployment options to build a comprehensive VDI deployment solution for your organization.

Windows Server 2012 R2 offers the following deployment scenarios:

  • Virtual machine (VM)–based. In this scenario, Windows 8.1 VMs run in a Hyper-V infrastructure. You use Remote Desktop Services to provide users remote connectivity to the VMs. You can use the VM-based deployment scenario with pooled or personal VM collections. For more information about the VM-based deployment scenario and pooled and personal VM collections, see the Virtual machine–based desktop deployment section in this guide.

  • Session-based. In this scenario, remote users connect to Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server 2012 R2 and run their application in Windows Server 2012 R2 sessions. Only Remote Desktop Services is required for this scenario. For more information about the session-based deployment scenario, see the Session-based desktop deployment section in this guide.

Figure 1 provides a high-level comparison of the VDI deployment scenarios in Windows Server 2012 R2. Use the information in Figure 1 to identify the high-level differences between the VM and session-based desktop deployment scenarios.

Figure 1. High-level Comparison of VDI Desktop Deployment Scenarios

Table 1 provides a more detailed comparison of the VDI desktop deployment scenarios and Windows MultiPoint Server 2012. Use the information in this table to choose the right combination of VDI deployment solutions for your institution. You can use any combination of these scenarios to create a comprehensive VDI deployment solution.

Table 1. Detailed Comparison of VDI Desktop Deployment Scenarios and Windows MultiPoint Server 2012

Session-based Desktop Deployment Windows MultiPoint Server 2012 VM-based Desktop Deployment

User operating system experience

Windows Server 2012 R2

Windows 8.1

Windows 8.1

Support for full-fidelity video, with coverage for all media types and highly synchronized audio, rich media support, Microsoft Silverlight, 3D graphics, and Windows Aero

Microsoft RemoteFX

Requires direct video–connected stations, USB zero client–connected stations, USB-over-Ethernet zero clients, or RDP–over-LAN with RemoteFX

Requires RemoteFX

Directly connect the VDI session to client USB devices

  • Standard RDP connection provides limited support of USB device

  • RemoteFX required for broader support of USB devices

  • Standard RDP connection provides limited support of USB device

  • Direct video–connected stations, USB zero client–connected stations, USB-over-Ethernet zero clients, or RDP-over-LAN with RemoteFX required for broader support of USB devices

  • Standard RDP connection provides limited support of USB device

  • RemoteFX required for broader support of USB devices

Supported client devices

Any device that supports RDP or RemoteFX (including Windows Thin PC)

Supports the following:

  • Direct video–connected stations

  • USB zero client–connected stations

  • USB-over-Ethernet zero clients

  • Any device that supports RDP or RemoteFX

Any device that supports RDP or RemoteFX (including Windows Thin PC)

Scaling

As many as hundreds of users for each server, but multiple servers can be added to scale to higher numbers

As many as 20 users

Up to hundreds of users for each server, but multiple servers can be added to scale to higher numbers

High availability

Supports load balancing and clustering of resources

Unavailable

Supports load balancing and clustering of resources

Additional resources

Virtual machine–based desktop deployment

Figure 2 illustrates the high-level components in a VM-based desktop deployment. You can run these components all on one server or on even more servers to provide additional scaling and high availability.

Figure 2. Components in a VM-based Desktop Deployment

The following is a description of the components in a typical VM-based desktop deployment:

  • Remote Desktop Connection Broker. This role service manages connections between the clients and the VMs running on the Remote Desktop Virtualization Host.

  • Remote Desktop Virtualization Host. This role service integrates with HyperV to provide VMs. It uses the Remote Desktop Connection Broker role service to determine the VM to which the user is redirected.

  • Remote Desktop Web Access. This role service enables users to access VMs through a web browser.

  • Client. The client provides access to the remote desktop. it can be a traditional device running the Remote Desktop Client in Windows, an app that supports RDP and RemoteFX, a thin or zero client that supports RDP (such as Windows Thin PC), or a RemoteFX-enabled device. For institution-owned devices, the client device may or may not be a member of an Active Directory domain. For personally owned devices, the client will not be a member of the Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) domain.

  • Domain Controller and Other Network Infrastructure Services. These services include AD DS, Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), Domain Name System (DNS), and routing.

For more information about these components, see “Additional resources” at the end of this section.

Windows Server 2012 R2 introduces the concept of virtual desktop collections. A virtual desktop collection consists of one or more virtual desktops used in a VDI deployment scenario. You can choose to deploy pooled or personal collections with the method you select, depending on your environment and preferences, as described in Table 2.

Table 2. Comparison of Pooled and Personal Virtual Desktop Collections

Pooled Personal

Changes are made to

Transient virtual hard disk

VM virtual hard disk

Changes saved after session ends

No (except for user profile changes)

Yes

VM instances

Single VM master image that all users in the collection share

Separate VM instances created from a mater VM for each user

Number of images to manage

One master image

An image for each user (after the VM instance is created)

Infrastructure services

  • Managed network

  • Remote Desktop Services

  • HyperV

  • Managed network

  • Remote Desktop Services

  • HyperV

Network connectivity

  • Support standard Remote Desktop Services by using low-bandwidth connections

  • RemoteFX connection requires medium- to high-bandwidth connections (depending on content being displayed)

  • Support standard Remote Desktop Services by using low-bandwidth connections

  • RemoteFX connection requires medium- to high-bandwidth connections (depending on content being displayed)

Storage requirements

  • Storage for master image and transient virtual hard disks

  • Storage for each User Profile Disk (if used)

Requires separate VM storage for each user; if the average storage for the master VM is 100 GB and there are 100 users, 10 TB of storage will be required

Manageability

Only one image to manage, so use stand-alone image-management tools; changes to the master image are reflected the next time a session is initiated

Manage by using technologies and products such as Group Policy, Windows Server Update Services, or Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager

User flexibility

  • Users cannot install apps

  • Users cannot be an administrator on their VM

  • Users can install apps

  • Users can be an administrator on their VM

User profile storage

  • Transient virtual hard disk (VHD; user profile changes are lost)

  • User Profile Disk (user profile changes are retained)

Stored and retained in the VM VHDs

User, operating system, and app configuration management

  • Roaming Profiles

  • Folder Redirection

  • Microsoft User Experience Virtualization (UE-V)

  • Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V)

  • User Profile Disk

  • Roaming Profiles

  • Folder Redirection

  • UE-V

  • App-V

  • Locally stored on VM

You can deploy both pooled and personal collections as:

  • Managed. This deployment option lets Remote Desktop Services automatically manage the virtual desktops within the collection.

  • Unmanaged. This deployment option lets you manually manage the virtual desktops within the collection.

The high-level steps for deploying VM-based desktop deployment are:

  1. Deploy Windows Server 2012 R2 on the Remote Desktop Connection Broker server.

  2. Deploy Windows Server 2012 R2 on the Remote Desktop Web Access server.

  3. Deploy Windows Server 2012 R2 on the Remote Desktop Virtualization Host server.

  4. Ensure that all servers are members of the same AD DS domain.

  5. On the Remote Desktop Connection Broker server, use Server Manager to add all the servers to the server pool.

  6. On the Remote Desktop Connection Broker server, use Server Manager to install the following role services for the Remote Desktop Services Installation server role:

    • Remote Desktop Connection Broker

    • Remote Desktop Web Access

    • Remote Desktop Virtualization Host

Note

Although you are running Server Manager on the Remote Desktop Connection Broker server, Server Manager prompts you for the names of the servers running the other Remote Desktop Services role services.

  1. Add the virtual desktop template to the Remote Desktop Virtualization Host server.

  2. If deploying a pooled collection, create a network shared folder in which to store the User Profile Disk (typically on the Remote Desktop Connection Broker server).

  3. Create the collection (pooled for a pooled collection or personal for a personal collection).

  4. Verify that the virtual desktop collection works correctly.

Additional resources

Session-based desktop deployment

Figure 3 illustrates the high-level components in a session-based desktop deployment. You can run all of these components on one server or on even more servers to provide additional scaling and high availability.

Figure 3. Components In a Session-based Desktop Deployment

The following list provides a description of the components in a typical session-based desktop deployment:

  • Remote Desktop Connection Broker. This role service manages connections between the clients and the remote desktop sessions running on the Remote Desktop Session Host.

  • Remote Desktop Session Host. This role service runs RemoteApp programs or session-based virtual desktops. This role servers is ultimately where the users connect to run programs, save files, and use other resources. It uses the Remote Desktop Connection Broker role service to determine the remote desktop session to which the user is redirected.

  • Remote Desktop Web Access. This role service enables users to access the remote desktop sessions through a web browser.

  • Client. The client provides access to the remote desktop. it can be a traditional device running the Remote Desktop Client in Windows, an app that supports RDP and RemoteFX, a thin or zero client that supports RDP (such as Windows Thin PC), or a RemoteFX-enabled device. For institution-owned devices, the client device may or may not be a member of an AD DS domain. For personally owned devices, the client will not be a member of an AD DS domain.

  • Domain Controller and Other Network Infrastructure Services. These services include AD DS, DHCP, DNS, and routing.

For more information about these components, see “Additional resources” at the end of this section.

The high-level steps for deploying session-based desktop deployment are:

  1. Deploy Windows Server 2012 R2 on the Remote Desktop Connection Broker server.

  2. Deploy Windows Server 2012 R2 on the Remote Desktop Web Access server.

  3. Deploy Windows Server 2012 R2 on the Remote Desktop Session Host server.

  4. Ensure that all servers are members of the same AD DS domain.

  5. On the Remote Desktop Connection Broker server, use Server Manager to add all of the servers to the server pool.

  6. On the Remote Desktop Connection Broker server, use Server Manager to install the following role services for the Remote Desktop Services Installation server role:

    • Remote Desktop Connection Broker

    • Remote Desktop Web Access

    • Remote Desktop Session Host

Note

Although you are running Server Manager on the Remote Desktop Connection Broker server, Server Manager prompts you for the names of the servers running the other Remote Desktop Services role services.

  1. Create a network shared folder in which to store the User Profile Disk (typically on the Remote Desktop Connection Broker server).

  2. Create the session collection.

  3. Verify that the session collection works correctly.

Additional resources

Windows MultiPoint Server 2012

Windows MultiPoint Server 2012 enables multiple users to share one computer and provides a low-cost alternative to traditional computing scenarios in which each user has their own computer. Windows MultiPoint Server 2012 also provides an easy management solution for Windows MultiPoint Server 2012 system administration called MultiPoint Manager and an easy management solution for day-to-day administration called MultiPoint Dashboard.

Windows MultiPoint Server 2012 is available in Standard and Premium versions. Use the information in Table 3 to select the appropriate versions for your educational institution.

Table 3. Comparison of Windows MultiPoint Server 2012 Standard and Premium

Standard Premium

Number of simultaneously connected stations

10

20

Can be joined to a domain?

No

Yes

Virtualization support as a host or guest operating system?

No

Yes

Windows MultiPoint Server 2012 can only be deployed on a single computer. You can scale Windows MultiPoint Server 2012 only through the addition of Windows MultiPoint Server 2012 instances: It has no inherent high availability. However, you could run virtualized instances of Windows MultiPoint Server 2012 on highly available HyperV clusters.

The user endpoints that connect to the computer running Windows MultiPoint Server 2012 are called stations. Windows MultiPoint Server 2012 supports the following station types:

  • Direct video–connected stations. The computer running Windows MultiPoint Server 2012 can contain multiple video cards, each of which can have one or more video ports. This allows you to plug monitors for multiple stations directly into the computer. Keyboards and mouse devices are connected through USB hubs associated with each monitor. Use a combination of all of these technologies to create a direct video–connected station.

  • USB zero client–connected stations. USB zero client–connected stations use the USB zero client as a station USB hub (also referred to as a multifunction USB hub with video). These stations connect to the Windows MultiPoint Server 2012 instance through a USB cable and typically support a video monitor, a mouse, a keyboard (PS/2 or USB), audio, and additional USB devices.

  • USB-over-Ethernet zero client–connected stations. USB-over-Ethernet zero clients are a variation of USB zero client–connected stations that send USB over LAN to the Windows MultiPoint Server 2012 instance. These clients function similarly to USB zero client–connected stations but are not limited by USB cable length maximums. USB-over-Ethernet zero clients are not traditional thin clients, and they appear as virtual USB devices on the Windows MultiPoint Server 2012 system.

  • RDP-over-LAN–connected stations. These stations include traditional thin clients or other devices running a full operating system that support RDP.

Note

Personally owned devices can only use RDP-over-LAN connected station types. Institution-owned devices can use any stationed type as applicable.

Additional resources

See also