Is anyone using Windows Server 2008 Terminal Services yet?

Windows Server 2008 has been out for almost eight months now. But is anyone using it yet?

Windows Server 2008 has been out for almost eight months now. But is anyone using it yet?

Sure, Terminal Server 2008 has a lot of new features that will let it stand on its own. But now that Citrix supports Server 2008 with XenApp 5, I'm curious about how many people out there are actually using Server 2008 in production? (Both for standalone Terminal Services and as a platform for Citrix.)

If you are using it in production, what are you using it for? (And why?)

I threw together a super-quick five-question survey.

5-question survey: Are you using Terminal Server 2008?

We'll publish the results on Friday. Feel free to share your thoughts via the comments in the meantime.

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Not in production yet, but recommending it for some smaller customers.  Our POC works really nicely - you can't scale it that well (5 servers), but I think it has its place for the smaller company, quick/cheap deployment - there are still so many TS users (desktops) out there (that yes VM should look after) - but not everyone has the money of an enterprise company or use base of a large organisation.  Xenapp 5 on 2008 is better, but TS 2008 aint too bad and a damn sight cheaper - also ts gateway offers remote access which is a nice touch.

I have implemented a terminal server 2008 environment at a customer with powerfuse 2008 on top if it. But as thinclients the customer uses Sun ray tc's and they are not compatible with the new RDP protocol yet and neither is Powerfuse2008. So eventually after a lot of troubleshooting we decided to rollback the complete environment to the proven 2003 server. This environment runs smootly performs better and we don't have compatibility issues anymore. I think server 2008 is a great product I run it in my testlab with xenapp5.0 on top of it and it runs smoot.


I think RES will support this as of November 18th when PowerFuse SR3 is released Hans. It will certainly support XA 5.0 and Softgrid 4.5.


I use it in production for a small but growing number of remote users.  These users actaully used to be on our Citrix platform but we found that TS2008 + WebConnect (Free Version) gives them exactly what they need.
Strangley enough, TS2008 Easy Print was not so easy for us.  We ended up getting some Net2Printer licenses through Ericom and that did the trick.
We hope to move the remaining Citrix users over soon.


For large customers we are still in the testing and pre-production stages, but a lot of companies are still not 2008 ready with their 'in house' skills and/or processes.  The smaller clients are a lot more interested in setting up Server(s) with a TSGW front end.  For me the TSGW and session broker is trickier to set up than a Citrix Farm + CSG/CAG (but that could be my skill set).


One real solution that I am backing is using the TSGW and RDP to a desktop rather than a Terminal Server, this gives remote access over SSL to your Desktop bypassingthe TS Servers.

For large companies you have the problems slated above and for small businesses I see the problem with licensing. You need repurchase Server Cals, User Cals, and TS Cals.

Still on TS2003 with Citrix & WI. We need the two-fold authentication for remote access.

Numerous calls to the folks at RSA about TS2008 & IIS7. "It's coming" is the only response I get.


While not it production as of Yet, I do have a web access test Scenario complete with WSS 3.0 Integration. We have an AX 5 roleout coming soon and we will be moving our test systems to Prod concurrently to work as a deployment feature to our remote end users. 


I have to say, the lack, or removal, of the AD Integrated feature for Web access was a bit dissapointing, but there are still viable features worth exploring offered with the current package.

We've got a single 2008 box in test right now so our Citrix Admin can get a feel for it.  So far we're liking what we see, but app compatibility is always going to be the trump card.  We think for parts of our farm though, we can have it in QA in the next 4-6 weeks, then roll to a small production group in January.  We just need some more Blade servers to run it on, and 2009 we get a fresh budget...

True, Res was working hard to get solutions. I reported a few interesting calls for them but also at Microsoft to other channels the through support calls. Some bug I found was the a normal user could open network neighborhood and get emediatly some buttons like search printers etc. Very unwanted but at Microsoft they wondered why the heck you would want to hide those things....well for users who don't know what they doing besides messing up your terminal server :) Sun also admitted they aren't ready for windows server 2008 and are also working on it. What made me wonder was al the inhouse software worked like a charm :) you would expect that that would be your bottleneck and not stuf from major big companies.

Hyper-V and TS....Aggregating TSWeb thru Sharepoint is kinda ugly with multiple servers.  Really like Hyper-V so far, hope to test XenApp5 next month.  Problem is I don't have TSCals covered under SA so I'm screwed moving forward with 2008 and having to buy new CALS....Given that the market just gave back its gains from Monday....I think I'll be on 2003 for a while!!!
We have it set up as Beta at this point since we're using it along with the Softgrid client. At the end of month when the 4.5 client becomes ready for production environment, we'll keep the "Beta" for a while and then roll it out. So far though from my testing, it looks pretty good. Wish it had the same seamless features for Macs as it does for Windows and i still can't find a client that would work for Linux. 
We also had to set up a separate site for the Mac users and publish rdp files on it. But server itself seems to be running well.
We are in the process of rolling over to a 2008/2003 XenApp farm, 2008 will be used where possible and 2003 for compatability. We deliver published apps as an alternative to locally installed apps and need both the proper load balencing and speedscreen progressive display XenApp offers. The client platform support is better also. Just wish Citrix would pull their finger out with a Mac 11 xenapp agent...

We're running a couple of TS 2008's for our SMB clients and found no issues with it, besides being very careful about LOB compatibility. GPO Preferences are a also a great add-on in a TS environment. Not much luck with Easyprint here either, and ThinPrint doesn't support TS 2008 yet.
It's indeed strange that with W2K8 being out for almost a year by now, there's still a large number of major players in the SBC market that still don't support 2008 yet. 

Another strange thing. I've found that Terminal Services on 2008 performs/scales even worse on VMware ESX than TS 2003. Though i might doubt my own testing abilities this really seems apparent.


Test deployed at a client.  Works good, except for some craplication that don't support the new kernel, so rolled back to 2003.

 The biggest problems are the apps that don't support the new software and upgrading all your TS and server cals to 2008


3 server cluster, using the new ts lb/session directory... its fun, i voted for the masochist option.

I have asked a New Horizon instructor "How popular are the Windows 2000 classes?" He said the demand is low.

I also asked him, "How popular are the Vista classes?" He said the demand is also low.

I  know of no company of any size who is implementing Vista or Windows 2008 in a large scale. Most companies have evaluated these new MS offerings but have not gone beyond the evaluation phase.

Still trying to find the best access method for a VDI infrastructure.  Currently using Citrix over RDP to provide a some what clientless access.  Using the new TS Gateway as a clientless SSL RDP access method.  This method allows the local RDP which is installed by default so you do not need to use an active x, java or local install.   However this only works with Vista and XP SP3 which is not prevelant.  Also the TS Gateway does not work with firefox or other browsers well either.  The new 6.1 RDP has authentication issues in volume.  The TS Gateway function need to be better documented with notes for customizing like the TS Web had.  Still want a way to authenticate users with a url all the way to the remote desktop session. 

We use 2008 in a ASP/SaaS environment and need to scale to 1500+ users. We started a pilot on 2008RC1 and we were so satisfied some clients wanted to use it for production, while there were at 2003CitrixPS4. For us, being a hosted services company, the costs really matter. The most valued features of Citrix are too expensive, so the 2008TS looks like a good alternative. Comes

with the fact that 2008TS CAL's are on a SPLA per month lease costs, so no investments and scale with the actual paying number of users. We have to buy the very very expensive Citrix licenses and users have to use them for a year before we get a return on our investment (still no Citrix SPLA licenses are there? there was an article about that too on

But these are our findings;
- Citrix is still a nice to have for some clients (as we don't have managing capabilities of our clients as we only have something to say about the serverside). Some (older) Thinclients

require Citrix or are not compatible with rdc 6.1. Also the proxycapabilities of the citrix client are in some thight environments required. The rollout of a citrix client is much less hassle as a WinXPSP3 with .NET Framework 3.0SP1 (for TS Easyprint).
- TS2008 makes silo'ing not that easy as under citrix. We hope to solve this through App-V, but for now Citrix gives us more flexibility. App-V 4.5 show promising as the interaction of the bubbles lets us use the same bubbles over different clients, but for now we only have 3 apps on each terminal server, so this is managable without App-V as long as we have flexibility for our Silo's.
- As a guest said at 16 oct at 2:42 here above, the mix of 2008TS and ESX performs realy bad in our case, the memory usage of 2008 is through the roof compared to 2003CitrixPS4. But this might be a ESX config issue, still 2003Citrix performs excellent on ESX.. Then we use ESX only for our POC, it is a temp solution as the POC is completed with 100 users, we will be moving to dedicated hardware as we need to scale up. So this bothers me a bit, but isnt a dealbreaker.
- i dont think the SB is that good for lots of users, we are planning to use redundant KEMP LB solution for SB functionality (as Brian mentioned). We are taking in account the thing of the single point of failure of the SB as well. KEMP is very nice company for this thing; they offered us to "test" the appliances before buying them, very nice. I do not have commercial benefits for saying this, just a opinion.
- The TS Web interface is nothing compared to Citrix' WI. We ended up not using the TSWeb functionality, most because of the lack of the missing flexibility to authorise icons in the WI

based on AD groups, also we like to have a SSO, as for the most of our users we can't explain them to logon twice (or 3 times as the application asks for another authentication). Also the TSweb needed to be a domain member (if we wanted to get SSO with 3rd party working). All together this too much tweaking to get to work.
- We used Tokens for some of our roaming users, there was no out-of-thebox solution with TS2008/TSWeb (only with Sharepoint), so we use Citrix for that as well.
- TS Easyprint works really good for us, no need to config any of that to this point. But i worry a bit about the printbandwith and CPU spikes that printing has at this point, but this might be ESX related as well. It needs more looking into.
- UAC was a bit of work, but it works in our advantage now, because of the redirect capabilities (a lot of use with 3rd party apps), We replaced the isolation environtment of citrix with UAC. Still, the policies are not that obvious and gives mostly an unexpected result, looks like this is a rushed feature but that is my opinion aswell. The UAC for admins bugs me tremendously, i didnt take enought time to research this properly.
- TS2008 uses a lot of memory and has a lot of CPU spikes, this might be due to our ESX environment, but as i said 2003PS4 works flawlessly. Still, it looks like a Vista feature requiring a lot more hardware, which is not nice, but not that too big of a problem as we can replace some of our Citrix users with 2008TS. Our hardware is only a small amount of the total costs and Citrix is 2 to 3 times as more expensive per user per month than our hardware costs, so thats our reason not to have that much of a problem with more hardware requirements. And i still have to do a dedicated hardware test and i expect it to be much more better than at ESX.

Bottom Line
We are now deploying XenApp5 besides the 2008TS environment for our users, for the issues described above, i think our 100% 2003PS4 environment will be replaced by 70% TS2008 and 30% Citrix. We have to see how good TS2008 scales to 1500+ users, we still have to do tests for that kind of environtment, but we want to move to dedicated hardware for that.

Wouldn't it make sense for Microsoft to offer an inherent connection broker within their TS 2008 server offering? It would sure make it easier for application management and user deployment versus having to rely on third party connection brokers such as Citrix?
I've concidred it and virtualized, simulated the thing. We all know the beatings of Vista, this is the server variant. What troubles me the most is the change of explorer and the 9+ special folders. I don't want to redirect all these! Still I have to follow the path, figure out a way, backtracking was never my way

Hey Nick

Can you keep us posted on how things go for you on win2K8 and Xenapp5? Interested to know how things go.

Anything in particular you want us to look for?

There is a connection broker in WS08: TS Session Broker.

Sure. Like 2003, 2008 has it's connection broker for TS with the addition of an RDP or MSI file. However, how do you dynamically manage users, servers, applications, data, monitoring of data, from one area? In addition, how would you account for VDIs in conjuction with physical & virtual host servers?

"However, how do you dynamically manage users, servers, applications, data, monitoring of data, from one area?"

> with the session broker, its easy to create "farms" and use them for silo'ing. The best way to go though would be App-V i think. But for now we use the silo'ing in 2008TS in conjunction with XenApp5 for granular control.

"In addition, how would you account for VDIs in conjuction with physical & virtual host servers? "

> Not so much, because this is outside our ballpark.. we get more out of TS than VDI.. but we're watching.. closely..


Test Environment. Distinct lack of information regarding configuration fine tuning. Loads of issues. Any chance you could write a book Brian your last one on 2000/3 was invaluable?


The biggest problems are the apps that don't support the new software and upgrading all your TS and server cals to 2008