Accessing Terminal Servers via Web Portals - Terminal Services for Windows Server 2003

One of the greatest aspects of Terminal Server is that because your applications are centralized, your users can access them from any location or any device.

One of the greatest aspects of Terminal Server is that because your applications are centralized, your users can access them from any location or any device. Throughout this book, we've focused on how to design your server environment and how to get the RDP client software installed on your users' client devices. But what happens if you have a mobile workforce that needs to access applications from multiple locations and clients?

One solution that's gaining in popularity is to deploy applications via websites or web portals. In this scenario, users simply connect to a web page to access their Terminal Server applications. In some cases, the RDP client software can be in the form of an ActiveX control, so the remote application is actually embedded directly into the web page.

Advantages of Using Web Connections

  • All users can access their Terminal Server applications via one URL.
  • You do not need to visit users to make configuration changes since application and server connections can be stored on the web server and re-configured there.
  • Users can have access to applications from anywhere in the organization.

Disadvantages of Using Web Connections

  • Some thin client devices do not support these types of connections.
  • You need a web server.

Web Connectivity Options

The first decision to make once you decide to deploy Terminal Server applications via a website is how you want your users to experience the applications. You have two choices:

  • The applications can be embedded into the web page itself. Closing the web browser disconnects the server session. In this case, the RDP client software is an ActiveX control that's downloaded from the web server.
  • The user can click a link on a web page that launches the "standard" RDP client software (as discussed in Chapter 10).

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