Remote Desktop Services

1 Introduction

Remote Desktop Services (RDS), which was known as Terminal Services in Windows Server 2008 and earlier, is one of the components of Microsoft Windows that allows a user to take control of a remote computer or virtual machine over a network connection. RDS is Microsoft’s implementation of thin client, where Windows software and the entire desktop of the computer running RDS are made accessible to a remote client machine that supports Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).

With Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8, Microsoft introduced RDP 8.0. This evolved in RDP 8.1 with Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1. Compared to previous releases, a lot has changed regarding both the administrative experience as well as the user experience.

1.1 Document Purpose

This deployment guide provides instructions on how to configure the KEMP LoadMaster to load balance the various Microsoft RDS roles in Windows Server 2012 R2.

The Scenarios Explained section discusses the various scenarios in which the LoadMaster can be used. The Deploying the Scenarios section explains the process of setting up load balancing for those scenarios. The References section contains a summary of useful resources regarding RDS (and load balancing RDS) in general.

1.2 Intended Audience

This document is intended to be read by anyone who is interested in finding out how to configure the LoadMaster to load balance RDS.

2 RDS Load Balancing Scenarios

RDS Load Balancing Scenarios.png

The figure above shows the various scenarios where the KEMP LoadMaster can be used to load balance RDS services.

2.1 Scenarios Explained

RDS running on Windows Server 2012 (R2) consists of various different RDS roles. The KEMP LoadMaster can be configured to load balance those roles. The sections below discusses the various scenarios in which the KEMP LoadMaster can be used load balance RDS.

2.1.1 Load Balancing Remote Desktop Web Access

Microsoft Remote Desktop Web Access is used to publish Full Desktops as well as Remote Apps and make them available from a website, and a web feed.

Load balancing Remote Desktop Web Access (RD Web Access) is relatively straight forward. RD Web Access is a website running on Internet Information Server (IIS). RD Web Access preferably runs on port 443 to leverage SSL security and is, by default, accessed by browsing to https://<FullyQualifiedDomainName(FQDN)>/rdweb.

Load Balancing Remote Desktop.png

Once your RD Web Access server have been installed, you can use the Remote Desktop Management Services (RDMS) console as part of the Server Manager, to retrieve the URLs of the RD Web Access servers that are part of the deployment. These servers need to be added to the LoadMaster to start load balancing Web Access.

2.1.2 Load Balancing Remote Desktop Gateway

Microsoft Remote Desktop Gateway (RD Gateway) is used to safely publish a Remote App of Full Desktop over the internet. The RD Gateway functions as an RDP proxy. It proxies incoming RDP traffic (on port 443) to the Remote Desktop Session Host (RD Session Host) servers on port 3389.

The RDP traffic running on port 443 must be load balanced in the KEMP LoadMaster.

Load Balancing Remote Desktop_1.png

Once the RD Gateway role has been installed, you can use the Remote Desktop Management Services (RDMS) console as part of the Server Manager, to retrieve the RD Gateway servers as part of the deployment.

2.1.3 Load Balancing Remote Desktop Connection Broker

The Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection Broker (RD Connection Broker) role has two responsibilities. First, since Windows Server 2012 the RD Connection Broker role always handles the initial RDP connection and sends the session to the RD Session Host with the least load. Second, the RD Connection Broker will make sure that users are able to reconnect to an existing (disconnected) session. Since Windows Server 2012, end users connecting to the environment will always make an initial RDP connection to the RD Connection Broker. The RD Connection Broker will then reroute the user to the RD Session Host server with the least load (based on the load balancing mechanism within the RD Connection Broker) or reroute the user to an existing (disconnected) session.

RDP traffic running on port 3389 must be load balanced in the LoadMaster.

Load Balancing Remote Desktop_2.png

Once the RD Connection Broker role has been installed, you can use the Remote Desktop Management Services (RDMS) console as part of the Server Manager, to retrieve the RD Connection Broker servers as part of the deployment.

2.1.4 Load Balancing Remote Desktop Session Host

The Microsoft Remote Desktop Session Host (RD Session Host) holds the actual user sessions running the published Remote App or Full Desktop.

RDP traffic running on port 3389 must be load balanced in the LoadMaster. In this scenario, the RD Connection Broker role functionality to redirect to an existing (disconnected) session will still be in place, but the RD Connection Broker itself will not actively load balance sessions across RD Session Host servers.

Load Balancing Remote Desktop_3.png

Once the RD Session Host role has been installed, you can use the Remote Desktop Management Services (RDMS) console as part of the Server Manager, to retrieve the RD Session Host servers as part of the deployment.

2.2 Deploying the Scenarios

2.2.1 Prerequisites

Several prerequisites are listed in the sections below.

2.2.1.1 Install an SSL Certificate on the LoadMaster

An SSL certificate is required to be installed on the LoadMaster for some of the services being load balanced. Before you import the certificate make sure you have it available to the user who manages the LoadMaster. The certificate must match the hostname which is used to connect to the load balanced services of the LoadMaster. The hostname can be a single wildcard, for example *.domain.com, or multiple regular certificates, for example rdweb.domain.com.

To install an SSL certificate on the LoadMaster, follow the steps below in the LoadMaster Web User Interface (WUI):

1. In the main menu, select Certificates & Security > SSL Certificates.

Prerequisites.png

2. Click Import Certificate.

Prerequisites_1.png

3. Click Choose File.

4. Browse to and select the certificate.

5. Enter a Pass Phrase if needed.

6. Enter a name (preferably the DNS name of the service) in the Certificate Identifier field.

7. Click Save. Then, click OK.

This certificate is assigned to some of the Virtual Services in later steps.

Prerequisites_2.png

It is also possible to use this certificate for administrative purposes (browsing the LoadMaster WUI). To do this, on the Manage Certificates screen, select the certificate in the Administrative Certificates drop-down list and click Use Certificate.

2.2.1.2 Disable Options on the Real Servers

Disable the following two options on the Real Servers:

Use IP Address Redirection

Use RD Connection Broker load balancing

2.2.2 Implementing Remote Desktop Web Access Load Balancing

2.2.2.1 Prerequisites

As discussed in the Load Balancing Remote Desktop Web Access section, implementing load balancing for RD Web Access can be compared with a regular web site running based on the HTTPS protocol (port 443).

Before configuring the KEMP LoadMaster, ensure to have the DNS names and IP addresses available for all Web Servers running the RD Web Access role in your deployment.

Implementing Remote Desktop.png

To retrieve the RD Web Access servers in your deployment, open the Remote Desktop Management Services (RDMS) console as part of server manager, go to the Overview and refer to the Deployment Servers section as shown above.

Implementing Remote Desktop_1.png

Alternatively, use the PowerShell equivalent by running the command GET-RDServer as part of the Remote Desktop PowerShell module.

RD Web Access Server

IP Address

RDP-RDGW01.rdpdoc.net

10.154.201.2

RDP-RDGW01.rdpdoc.net

10.154.201.3

In the above example, two RD Web Access servers are part of this deployment.

Implementing Remote Desktop_2.png

Ensure that all RD Web Access servers are accessible. This can be done by opening a web browser and browsing to each of the individual web servers, for example https://RDP-RDGW01.rdpdoc.net/rdweb.

Load Balanced DNS Name

Load Balanced IP Address

rdpweb.rdpdoc.net

10.154.11.51

Also, ensure you have an IP address and DNS available that is used to access the load-balanced RD Web Access environment. In our example the above information was used.

Ensure that a valid SSL certificate has been configured within the RDS deployment which is trusted by the endpoints that is accessing the RD Web Access environment. The SSL certificate can be centrally configured by following the steps below:

1. Open the Remote Desktop Management Services (RDMS) console.

2. Open Collections and select Tasks.

3. Click Edit Deployment Properties.

Implementing Remote Desktop_3.png

4. Select the Certificates tab.

5. Ensure a valid certificate is selected, and (if needed) create a new certificate or select a different certificate.

2.2.2.2 Implementation

Configure the LoadMaster settings by following the steps below in the LoadMaster WUI:

1. In the main menu, select Virtual Services and Add New.

Implementing Remote Desktop_4.png

2. Enter the relevant IP address in the Virtual Address text box.

3. Enter 443 as the Port.

4. Enter a recognizable Service Name, such as RD Web Access.

5. Click Add this Virtual Service.

Section

Option

Value

Comment

Standard Options

Transparency

Disabled

 

 

Persistence Method

None

 

 

Scheduling Method

least connection

 

 

Idle Connection Timeout

660

 

SSL Properties

SSL Acceleration

 

 

Enabled

Reencrypt

 

A wildcard certificate allows secure connections to be established with a request URL in the format of *.example.com. With this approach, a single certificate secures traffic for all clients in a multi-tenant environment.

 

Supported Protocols

TLS1.0

TLS1.1

TLS1.2

 

 

Cipher Set

Best Practices

For further information on cipher sets, please refer to the SSL Accelerated Services, Feature Descriptionwww.kemptechnologies.com/documentation .

Advanced Properties

Content Switching

Disabled

 

 

Add HTTP Headers

 

Legacy Operation (X-ClientSide)

 

Real Servers

Real Server Check Parameters

 

HTTPS Protocol

 

 

Checked Port

443

 

 

URL

/rdweb

 

 

HTTP Method

HEAD

 

6. Enter the details as shown in the Web Access Values table.

7. Expand the Real Servers section.

8. Click Add This Real Server.

9. Add all required Real Servers.

2.2.2.3 Testing

After following the implementation steps in the previous section, follow the steps below to test the load-balanced RD Web Access environment:

1. Open a web browser that is able to reach the load-balanced IP.

2. Browse to the configured DNS name for the load-balanced service, for example http://rdp-rdweb.rdpdoc.net/rdweb. A web page should be presented with the RD Web Access login page. This indicates that the LoadMaster has redirected the session to a Real Server.

3. In the main menu of the LoadMaster WUI, select Statistics > Real Time Statistics.

Implementing Remote Desktop_5.png

4. Click the Real Servers button.

Implementing Remote Desktop_6.png

This overview shows the active sessions, sessions over the last hour, in addition to how many requests each Real Server handled.

5. Open another web browser on a different client and perform steps 1 and 2 above.

Implementing Remote Desktop_7.png

6. Refresh the LoadMaster statistics page. Notice that, based on the load balancing method we chose, load is spread over both RD Web Access servers.

2.2.3 Implementing Remote Desktop Gateway Load Balancing

2.2.3.1 Prerequisites

As explained in the Load Balancing Remote Desktop Gateway section, implementing load balancing for RD Gateway is performed by load balancing HTTPS traffic on port 443 and UDP traffic on port 3391.

Before configuring the LoadMaster, ensure to have the DNS names and IP addresses of all servers running the RD Gateway role.

To retrieve the RD Gateway servers in your deployment follow the steps below:

1. Open the Remote Desktop Management Services (RDMS) console.

2. Open the Overview.

Implementing Remote Desktop_1_1.png

3. Refer to the Deployment Servers section.

Alternatively, use the PowerShell equivalent by running the command Get-RDServer as part of the RemoteDesktop PowerShell module.

Implementing Remote Desktop_1.png

Alternatively, use the PowerShell equivalent by running the command GET-RDServer as part of the Remote Desktop PowerShell module.

RD Web Access Server

IP Address

RDP-RDGW01.rdpdoc.net

10.154.201.2

RDP-RDGW01.rdpdoc.net

10.154.201.3

In the above example, two RD Gateway servers are part of this deployment.

Implementing Remote Desktop_1_2.png

Ensure that all Remote Desktop Gateway servers are accessible. To do this, open a web browser and go to each of the individual web servers, for example https://RDP-RDGW01.rdpdoc.net/rpc. This should bring up an authentication request. After supplying domain credentials, a blank screen should appear. This indicates that the service is reachable.

Load Balanced DNS Name

Load Balanced IP Address

rdgw.rdpdoc.net

10.154.11.52

Also, ensure you have an IP address and DNS available that is used to access the load-balanced RD Web Access environment. In our example the above information was used.

Ensure that a valid SSL certificate has been configured within the RDS deployment which is trusted by the endpoints that are accessing the RD Gateway environment. The SSL certificate can be centrally configured by following the steps below:

1. Open the Remote Desktop Management Services (RDMS) console.

2. Open Collections and select Tasks.

3. Click Edit Deployment Properties.

Implementing Remote Desktop_1_3.png

4. Select the Certificates tab.

5. Ensure a valid certificate is selected, and (if needed) create a new certificate or select a different certificate.

2.2.3.2 Implementation

Configure the LoadMaster settings by following the steps below in the LoadMaster WUI:

1. In the main menu, select Virtual Services and Add New.

Implementing Remote Desktop_1_4.png

2. Enter the relevant IP address in the Virtual Address text box.

In our example, the IP address is 10.154.11.52.

3. Enter 443 as the Port.

4. Enter a recognizable Service Name, such as RD Gateway.

5. Click Add this Virtual Service.

Section

Option

Value

Comment

Standard Options

Transparency

Disabled

 

 

Persistence Mode

Persistence Timeout

Source IP Address

6 Minutes

 

 

Scheduling Method

least connection

 

 

Idle Connection Timeout

660

 

SSL Properties

SSL Acceleration

 

 

Enabled

Reencrypt

 

A wildcard certificate allows secure connections to be established with a request URL in the format of *.example.com. With this approach, a single certificate secures traffic for all clients in a multi-tenant environment.

 

Supported Protocols

TLS1.0

TLS1.1

TLS1.2

 

 

Cipher Set

Best Practices

For further information on cipher sets, please refer to the SSL Accelerated Services, Feature Descriptionwww.kemptechnologies.com/documentation .

Advanced Properties

Content Switching

Disabled

 

 

Add HTTP Headers

Legacy Operation(X-ClientSide)

 

Real Servers

Real Server Check Method

HTTPS Protocol

 

 

Checked Port

443

 

 

URL

/rpc

 

 

HTTP Method

HEAD

 

6. Fill out the settings based on the recommended values above.

RDP version 8 and above contains new features that uses UDP as well as TCP to increase performance over networks with low bandwidth, high latency or high packet loss. The UDP protocol is also used by the RD Gateway. To allow usage of these protocol enhancements, we need to configure the RD Gateway to allow load balancing of UDP traffic. To do this, follow the steps below:

7. In the main menu of the LoadMaster WUI, select Virtual Services > Add New.

Implementing Remote Desktop_1_5.png

8. In the Virtual Address text box, enter the same IP address that was used in the previous TCP Gateway configuration, for example 10.154.11.52.

9. Enter 3391 as the Port.

10. Select udp as the Protocol.

11. Click Add this Virtual Service.

Section

Option

Value

Comment

Standard Options

Force L4

Transparency

 

Enabled

 

 

Persistence Mode

Persistence Timeout

 

Source IP Address

6 Minutes

 

 

Scheduling Method

least connection

In most RD Gateway environments, configuring Least Connection is the most suitable option. However, any option can be selected. For example, if a relative weight has been configured to an RD Gateway Server, selecting Weighted Least Connection here would also add the configured weight as a factor in calculating the schedule.

Real Servers

Real Server Check Method

 

 

ICMP Ping

 

 

 

Port

443

 

 

Forwarding Method

Direct return

 

12. Fill out the settings based on the recommended values above.

The UDP traffic for RDP version 8 is configured to use Direct Server Return (DSR). Therefore, we need to make some changes to the RD Gateway Servers to make the setup work. To make these changes, follow the steps below:

13. Open the Device Manager on both RD Gateway Servers.

Implementing Remote Desktop_1_6.png

14. Right-click the computer name and select Add legacy hardware.

Implementing Remote Desktop_1_7.png

15. Select Install the hardware that I manually select from a list (Advanced).

16. Click Next.

Implementing Remote Desktop_1_8.png

17. Select Network adapters.

18. Click Next.

Implementing Remote Desktop_1_9.png

19. Select the Microsoft KM-TEST Loopback Adapter.

20. Click Next.

Implementing Remote Desktop_1_10.png

21. This will create a new network adapter. To make it easier to identify, rename it, for example to KEMP LoadMaster LoopBack.

22. Open the TCP/IP properties.

Implementing Remote Desktop_1_11.png

23. In the IP address text box, enter the IP address that matches the Virtual Service address.

24. Enter 255.255.255.255 in the Subnet mask text box.

25. Click the Advanced button.

Implementing Remote Desktop_1_12.png

26. Enter 254 in the Interface metric text box.

27. Click OK.

28. Click OK again.

29. Run the following three commands (using elevated permissions) in the console. Please enter the name of the loopback adapter where <loopback> is mentioned. Please enter the name of the primary network adapter where <net> is mentioned.

netsh interface ipv4 set interface <net> weakhostreceive=enablednetsh interface ipv4 set interface <loopback> weakhostreceive=enabled

netsh interface ipv4 set interface <loopback> weakhostsend=enabled

2.2.3.3 Testing

After following the implementation steps in the previous section, follow the steps below to test the load-balanced RD Gateway environment:

1. Open an RDP connection to the RDS 2012 deployment. This can be performed in various ways:

- Use RD Web Access. Refer to the Load Balancing Remote Desktop Web Access section.

- Use the Remote App and Desktop Connections (RADC) as part of the Control Panel

- Manually create a .RDP file.

Ensure to actually leverage the RD gateway. Remember that the RD Gateway can also be configured to be bypassed when a direct RDP connection to the RD Session Hosts is possible. Either test from a client that you have confirmed is not able to connect to the RD Session Hosts directly, or configure your RDP settings to always use the RD Gateway.

2. After opening a connection - in the main menu of the LoadMaster WUI, select Statistics.

Implementing Remote Desktop_5.png

3. Click the Virtual Services button.

Implementing Remote Desktop_1_13.png

This overview shows the active sessions, sessions over the last hour, in addition to how many requests each Real Server handled.

4. Open another web browser on a different client and perform steps 1 and 2 above.

5. Refresh the LoadMaster statistics page. Notice that, based on the load balancing method selected, load is spread over both RD Gateway servers.

To ensure that the new HTTP-based transport protocol of the RD Gateway on Windows Server 2012 is being leveraged, follow the steps below:

6. Log in to the RD Gateway Server that holds the active test session.

Implementing Remote Desktop_1_14.png

7. Open Administrative Tools and then Remote Desktop Gateway Manager.

8. Expand your RD Gateway server and click Monitoring.

9. Confirm that your active session uses HTTP as the Transport, and not RPC-HTTP.

2.2.4 Implementing Remote Desktop Connection Broker Load Balancing

2.2.4.1 Prerequisites

As discussed in the Load Balancing Remote Desktop Connection Broker section, implementing load balancing for RD Connection Broker is performed by load balancing RDP traffic on port 3389. In this scenario we will load balance the initial sessions that users will perform on the RD Connection Broker.

Before configuring the KEMP LoadMaster, ensure to have the DNS names and IP addresses available for all Web Servers running the RD Connection Broker role in your deployment.

Implementing Remote Desktop_2_1.png

To retrieve the RD Connection Broker servers in your deployment, open the Remote Desktop Management Services (RDMS) console as part of server manager, go to the Overview and refer to the Deployment Servers section as shown above.

Implementing Remote Desktop_2_2.png

Alternatively, use the PowerShell equivalent by running the command GET-RDServer as part of the Remote Desktop PowerShell module.

RD Web Access Server

IP Address

RDP-RDCB01.rdpdoc.net

10.154.201.4

RDP-RDCB01.rdpdoc.net

10.154.201.5

In the above example, two RD Connection Broker servers are part of this deployment.

Ensure that all RD Broker servers are accessible on port 3389. This can be done by opening the command line and running the command telnet <IPAddressOfConnectionBroker> 3389 or use mstsc.exe to open an RDP connection to the RD Connection Broker.

Load Balanced DNS Name

Load Balanced IP Address

rdsfarm.rdpdoc.net

10.154.11.52

Also, ensure you have an IP address and DNS available that are used to access the load-balanced RD Connection Broker environment. In our example the above information was used.

The DNS name must match the DNS Round Robin name as configured in the RDS deployment. To confirm the value, follow the steps below:

1. Open the Remote Desktop Management Services (RDMS) console.

2. Click Collections.

3. Select Tasks.

4. Click Edit Deployment Properties.

Implementing Remote Desktop_2_3.png

5. Select the High Availability Settings tab.

The value is displayed underneath DNS round robin name.

Implementing Remote Desktop_2_4.png

Alternatively, use the PowerShell equivalent by running the command Get-RDConnectionBrokerHighAvailability in the Remote Desktop PowerShell module.

Ensure that a valid SSL certificate has been configured within the RDS deployment which is trusted by the endpoints that is accessing the RD Connection Broker environment. The SSL certificate can be centrally configured by following the steps below:

1. Open the Remote Desktop Management Services (RDMS) console.

2. Open Collections and select Tasks.

3. Click Edit Deployment Properties.

Implementing Remote Desktop_2_5.png

4. Select the Certificates tab.

5. Ensure a valid certificate is selected, and (if needed) create a new certificate or select a different certificate.

2.2.4.2 Implementation

Configure the LoadMaster settings by following the steps below in the LoadMaster WUI:

1. In the main menu, select Virtual Services and Add New.

Implementing Remote Desktop_2_6.png

2. Enter the relevant IP address in the Virtual Address text box.

In our example the IP address is 10.154.11.52.

3. Enter 3389 as the Port.

4. Enter a recognizable Service Name, such as RD Connection Broker.

5. Click Add this Virtual Service.

Section

Option

Value

Comment

Standard Options

Transparency

Disabled

 

 

Persistence Mode

Persistence Timeout

Terminal Service or Source IP Address

6 minutes

In the Standard Options section, a Persistence Mode can be specified. The RD Connection Broker role itself does not rely on persistence. This is because the RD Connection Broker servers will only handle the initial RDP request, it does not contain any active sessions. Therefore, the persistence mode can be left to the default option.

 

Scheduling Method

Round robin

Because the RD Connection Broker servers do not contain any active sessions the scheduling method does not really matter. Round Robin is the best suited option as this will ensure that the load is equally spread over the RD Connection Broker servers. Alternatively, choose Weighted Round Robin if the Real Servers have a non-default weight set.

 

Idle Connection Timeout

660

 

Real Servers

Real Server Check Method

Remote Terminal Protocol

 

 

Checked Port

3389

 

 

Forwarding method

Nat

 

6. Fill out the settings based on the recommended values above.

2.2.4.3 Testing

After following the implementation steps in the previous section, follow the steps below to test the load-balanced RD Connection Broker environment:

1. Open an RDP connection to the RDS 2012 deployment. This can be performed in various ways:

- Use RD Web Access. Refer to the Load Balancing Remote Desktop Web Access section.

- Use the Remote App and Desktop Connections (RADC) as part of the Control Panel

- Manually create a .RDP file.

2. In the main menu of the LoadMaster WUI, select Statistics.

Implementing Remote Desktop_5.png

3. Click the Virtual Services button.

Implementing Remote Desktop_2_7.png

This overview shows the active sessions, sessions over the last hour, in addition to how many requests each Real Server handled. As explained, because the RD Connection Broker Real Servers only handle the initial RDP connection, you will likely never see any active sessions because as soon as the RD Connection Broker has referred the user to an RD Session Host, the connection from the client to the RD Connection Broker is dropped as the client now has a connection with the RD Session Host itself.

4. Open another web browser on a different client and perform steps 1 and 2 above.

Implementing Remote Desktop_2_8.png

5. Refresh the LoadMaster statistics page. Notice that, based on the load balancing method we chose, load is spread over both RD Connection Broker servers.

2.2.5 Implementing Remote Desktop Session Host Load Balancing

2.2.5.1 Prerequisites

As discussed in the Load Balancing Remote Desktop Session Host section, implementing load balancing for RD Session Host is performed by load balancing RDP traffic on port 3389. In essence, the LoadMaster replaces the load balancing options that come with the Microsoft RD Connection Broker. It is important to realize that starting from Windows Server 2012, in most cases, Remote Desktop Services is deployed using the Scenario-Based Deployment as part of the Server Managed in Windows Server 2012. In these cases you will automatically get an RD Connection Broker as part of your deployment. This RD Connection Broker will automatically start load balancing sessions for the RD Session Host servers in your deployment. We’ll obviously want to avoid this to because it will result in double load balancing.

Implementing Remote Desktop_3_1.png

To disable RD Connection Broker Load balancing create a Group Policy Object on the OU where your RD Session Host servers are located and set the following GPO to disabled:

Computer Configuration\Policies\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Session Host\RD Connection Broker\User RD Connection Broker load balancing

Disabling the option does not prevent the RD Connection Broker from allowing users to reconnect to an existing session. That functionality still operates.

Besides the Scenario-Based Deployment in Server Manager, you could also use the Role-Based Deployment and only deploy the RD Session Host servers. This would result in a set of RD Session Host servers without an RD Connection Broker, and thus the above GPO setting would not be needed.

Please note that this approach leads to an environment where you cannot manage the RDS environment using the Server Manager Graphical User Interface (GUI). You would be fully dependent on GPO, Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) and registry settings to manage your environment.

Before configuring the KEMP LoadMaster, ensure to have the DNS names and IP addresses available for all Web Servers running the RD Session Host role.

Implementing Remote Desktop_3_2.png

To retrieve the RD Session Host servers in your deployment, open the Remote Desktop Management Services (RDMS) console as part of server manager, go to the Overview and refer to the Deployment Servers section as shown above.

Implementing Remote Desktop_3_3.png

Alternatively, use the PowerShell equivalent by running the command GET-RDServer as part of the Remote Desktop PowerShell module.

RD Web Access Server

IP Address

RDP-RDCB01.rdpdoc.net

10.154.201.6

RDP-RDCB01.rdpdoc.net

10.154.201.7

In the above example, two RD Session Hosts servers are part of this deployment.

Ensure that all RD Session Host servers are accessible on port 3389. This can be done by opening the command line and running the command telnet <IPAddressOfConnectionBroker> 3389 or use mstsc.exe to open an RDP connection to the RDP Connection Broker.

Load Balanced DNS Name

Load Balanced IP Address

rdshfarm.rdpdoc.net

10.154.11.53

Also, ensure you have an IP address and DNS available that are used to access the load-balanced RD Session Host environment. In our example the above information was used.

2.2.5.2 Implementation

Configure the LoadMaster settings by following the steps below in the LoadMaster WUI:

1. In the main menu, select Virtual Services and Add New.

Implementing Remote Desktop_3_4.png

2. Enter the relevant IP address in the Virtual Address text box.

In our example the IP address is 10.154.11.53

3. Enter 3389 as the Port.

4. Enter a recognizable Service Name, such as RD Session Host.

5. Click Add this Virtual Service.

Section

Option

Value

Comment

Basic Properties

Service Type

Remote Terminal

 

Standard Options

Transparency

Disabled

 

 

Persistence Mode

Persistence Timeout

 

Session Broker

6 minutes

The LoadMaster is able to redirect a user to an existing (disconnected) session based on the persistence token. If you performed a deployment without an RD Connection Broker (role-based deployment), the persistence token is the pre-populated username sent by the client. Also, the pre-populated username relies on users to always pre-populate the username field and is limited to a total of 8 characters including the domain name.

 

Scheduling Method

Least connection

To ensure that user sessions are equally spread over the RD Session Host servers, select the option Least Connection, or if you have configured a Weight on the Real Servers, set it to Weighted Least Connection.

 

Idle Connection Timeout

660

 

Real Servers

Real Server Check Method

Remote Terminal Protocol

 

 

Checked Port

3389

 

 

Forwarding method

Nat

 

6. Fill out the settings based on the recommended values above.

2.2.5.3 Testing

After following the implementation steps in the previous section, follow the steps below to test the load-balanced RD Session Host environment:

1. Open an RDP connection to the RDS 2012 deployment to make sure the destination of your RDP session points to the DNS name configured earlier (which points to the IP address of the RD Session Host Virtual Service). In our example it is rsdhfarm.rdpdoc.net.

2. In the main menu of the LoadMaster WUI, select Statistics.

Implementing Remote Desktop_5.png

3. Click the Virtual Services button.

Implementing Remote Desktop_3_5.png

This overview shows the active sessions, sessions over the last hour, in addition to how many requests each Real Server handled.

4. Open another web browser on a different client and perform steps 1 and 2 above.

Implementing Remote Desktop_3_6.png

5. Refresh the LoadMaster statistics page. Notice that, based on the load balancing method we chose, load is spread over both RD Session Host servers.

3 Troubleshooting

Refer to the sections below for details on some common issues seen when load balancing the RDP workload.

3.1 Connections Rejected

Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 have security requirements on IIS. So when RDP traffic is reencrypted from the LoadMaster, the server thinks it’s a “Man in the Middle” attack and rejects the connection. The following Microsoft article describes this behaviour: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/973917

There are a few ways to work around this issue:

Use the same SSL certificate on the LoadMaster and on the RD Gateway server.

Configure the RD Gateway server to expect offload and accept connections on port 80 with no encryption. Configure the LoadMaster to offload (with no reencryption).

Configure IIS as per the Microsoft article: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/973917 with the following changes:

- appcmd.exe set config "Default Web Site" -section:system.webServer/security/authentication/windowsAuthentication /enabled:"True" /commit:apphost

- appcmd.exe set config "Default Web Site" -section:system.webServer/security/authentication/windowsAuthentication /extendedProtection.tokenChecking:"Allow" /extendedProtection.flags:"Proxy" /commit:apphost

- appcmd.exe set config "Default Web Site" -section:system.webServer/security/authentication/windowsAuthentication /+"extendedProtection.[name='HTTP/rdgateway.contoso.com']" /commit:apphost

3.2 Load Not Balanced

There is a nine character limit in RDP sessions from Microsoft. Therefore, if an RDP session comes in using the domain first, the LoadMaster persists that client to a server without balancing the load. This behavior is as a result of the routing token character limitation and is not caused by the LoadMaster.

Refer to the following Microsoft article for instructions on how to specify custom routing tokens: IMsRdpClientAdvancedSettings::LoadBalanceInfo property

 

References

Some resources on Microsoft RDS 2012 (R2) are listed below:

What’s New in Remote Desktop Services for Windows Server 2012 R2?

Remote Desktop Services – Upgrade and Migration Guidelines for Windows Server 2012 R2

Load Balancing Remote Desktop Services Web Access & Gateway with KEMP LoadMaster for Azure

Deploying and Configuring RD Gateway in Windows Server 2012

Deploying and Configuring RD Web Access in Windows Server 2012

Deploying and Configuring RD Connection Broker High Availability in Windows Server 2012

RD Connection Broker Database Explained

Distribution of Remote Apps and Desktops in Windows Server 2012

Publishing RemoteApps in Windows Server 2012

Microsoft Remote Desktop Clients

A useful, related KEMP document is listed below:

SSL Accelerated Services, Feature Description
www.kemptechnologies.com/documentation

Document History

Date

Change

Reason for Change

Version

Resp.

June 2014

Initial draft

First draft of document

1.0

LB

Nov 2014

Minor change

Defects resolved

1.1

LB

Oct 2015

Screenshot updates

LoadMaster WUI reskin

3.0

KG

Dec 2015

Release updates

Updated for 7.1-32

4.0

LB

Jan 2016

Minor change

Updated Copyright Notices

5.0

LB

Mar 2016

Release updates

Updated for 7.1-34

6.0

LB

May 2016

Minor change

Enhancements made

7.0

LB

Oct 2016

Release updates

Updated for 7.2.36

8.0

LB

Jan 2017

Minor change

Enhancements made

9.0

LB

July 2017 Minor change Enhancements made 10.0 LB

 

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Comments

Avatar
Jon Seung

Great article! Where should I place session host VIP (rdshfarm.rdpdoc.net 192.168.102.152) in RDS configuration? RDWeb, RDGW and RDCB's VIP and its DNS names are in 'Deployment Configuration' but I just can't find the place for the session host's VIP and DNS name.

Avatar
drift

With RDGW and UDP 8 load-balancing, does the setup/configuration change if we're using a two-leg setup? It seems to work just fine with DSR enabled without adding the loopback adapter to the servers. We're also using the "port following" feature to make sure that persistence is kept across TCP and UDP.

Should we make any changes?

Avatar
wmiller

I have a 2012 RDS Farm setup and would like to add Kemp to the install as part of my High Availability. I"m comfortable with what we have setup with the Broker High Availability, but would like to know if using Kemp for the gateway makes sense from the gateway point of view, since there is no option in RDS for gateway High Availability? Any direction would be appreciated..

Avatar
it

How does the message flow works? will all traffic (rdp) be routed through the kemp ldb? Or is kemp only used to establish an initial connection to an session host? First would be very inefficient I think. Greetings M.S

Avatar
Naseer Husein

Hello MS,

The Kemp will pass the initial connection to the session host, and its up the host to tell the client to what host they need to connect, so in order words, the connection bounce back to the client and now the client know what server they need to connect