2X VirtualDesktopServer 7.1 review

Delivering Terminal Services plus virtual desktops and applications can be a recipe for management migraines. Can VirtualDesktopServer bring order to chaos?

Price
£810

Delivering terminal services and virtual desktops to many thousands of users can present a management nightmare.

Support staff can often struggle to provide secure remote access to multiple hosts offering a range of applications and services.

2X offers a selection of products that aim to provide cost-effective, centralised management solutions for virtual applications and desktops and significantly reduce the time taken to publish them to clients. It already has a strong following for its ApplicationServer, which targets Windows Terminal Server environments only and its latest VirtualDesktopServer (VDS) goes much further by adding support for all key virtualisation technologies including Microsoft's Hyper-V, VMware, Parallels and Oracle's Virtual Iron.

Essentially, VDS functions as an RDP based connection broker that maintains lists of virtual applications and desktops and publishes them to users for selection over secure connections. It goes much further as server load balancing is included as standard. What it does is to manage whole server farms and direct user requests to the least loaded members.

For testing, we installed VDS on a Windows Server 2003 R2 system running Terminal Services. However, it also supports Windows Server 2000 and, more importantly, Windows Server 2008. We found this a very swift process and were presented with a tidy, intuitive main console that provides easy access to the various functions.

Starting with our Terminal Services servers we declared these to the VDS console, which provides a handy search facility that can discover these systems on the network. Each one requires an agent service and the console checks to see if it's loaded and provides options to remotely install it.

For each server you can edit its RDP properties if required and set a timeout value, which will keep a user connected in the background after all sessions have been closed to avoid having to reconnect. RDP printers are also configured here and a schedule feature enables you to set times during which Terminal Servers will not accept connections.

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