We have installed a copy of Windows 2003 beta 3 to do some testing with, mainly to see if the terminal server side of thing has improved any.
We have a problem using DTP packages over a terminal server connection, when moving pictures around pages it takes about half a second or so to respond, some of the documentation from Microsoft says there have been quite a few improvements, so we decided to check them out.
The first hurdle was installing it! The installer is for DVD, and most of the boxes we could install it on to test didn’t have a DVD drive. We tried installing it as a virtual machine on a VMWare server, but it would not go onto here at all.
In the end we had to pull a DVD reader out of another machine, and load it using this. Does this mean in future servers are going to have to ship with DVD readers as standard if Microsoft is going to be shipping its server OS’s on DVD?
Anyway, we finally managed to load up the server, and after a bit of head scratching managed to join it to our domain. Hunting round the config screens we managed to find how to install it as a terminal server, so we could start doing our testing.
The documentation Mr Gates and Co. said that there was now a feature where a user could run an application on the terminal sever as if it was on there desktop. We weren’t sure how this was going to work, but it sounded like a good idea, we found where it was configured and added wordpad as an application to run in this way. There was a wizard to run that created the connection to the application so I ran that, and it generated me a .rdp file, witch i wasn’t really expecting it to do.
Still full of hope and optimism, I copied the .rdp file to my desktop and ran it, expecting something cool to happen. I logged into the terminal server, and all that happened was wordpad ran up as soon as I logged in. That was it. When I closed wordpad the terminal server connection closed its’ self. Now, maybe I was expecting something a bit special, but I cant see that solving anyone’s problems!
I had a look at how this amazing leap forward in thin client architecture was accomplished, and found in the .rdp file the wizard had created, all it was doing was launching the app on start up, as illustrated here
Windows Server 2008 introduces new functionality in Terminal Services to connect to remote computers and applications. Terminal Services RemoteApp completely integrates applications running on a terminal server with users’ desktops such that they behave as if they were running on an individual user’s local computer; users can run programs from a remote location side-by-side with their local programs
We continued doing some more testing by installing QuarkXpress on the server, and seeing if there were any noticeable improvements to the picture handling, but there appeared to be very little difference between this version and what 2003 does. Maybe its time to start looking at Citrix.
Anything else interesting I find on 2008 server ill blog about here