Server Essentials 2019 and RDS

time

Storage? I am Storage!
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#1
Microsoft has stripped almost everything out of the 2019 edition of their entry-level Essentials variant of Windows Server.

Including RDS (Remote Desktop / Terminal Services). You can't even add CALs so that a couple of users can run remote sessions that are hosted on the server.

The only alternative is Server Standard, and oh boy, is that an eye-watering step up in price. Not only does it double the Essentials license fee, but adding 10 CALs triples it. Adding a pack of 5 RDS CALs takes the total up to nearly five times the cost of Essentials.

What are you really getting for your money? These aren't applications, they don't contribute anything to your productivity.

Has anyone tried one of the third party alternatives to RDS? One things that bother me is that they may just be piggy backing on the internal RDS facility available in every copy of Windows - if M$ has truly disabled or removed that from Essentials 2019, I wonder if the third party solutions will still work?
 
Joined
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#2
Sorry for the late-ish reply, sorry, you'll need to pony up the $$ for Server Standard to access terminal services.

RDS is still available in 2019EE, but it's limited to admin only (comparing the registry between 2019EE and Std shows virtually no differences in registry keys around RDS, so it's not just a simple registry hack to re-enable RDS for regular users).

Anyway I was under the impression you still needed to purchase MS RDS CALs even if you used alternative access methods, eg Citrix? (The RDS CAL allows access to the GUI session, and is not based on the underlying transport protocol).

IIRC, I didn't think MS was going to release 2019EE, instead pushing those users who would traditionally buy EE to their Office365 offerings? (Azure AD + Exchange + shared OneDrives, etc). Maybe MS realised the rest of the world internet connectivity is crap...
 

time

Storage? I am Storage!
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#3
Perhaps I'm missing something, but wouldn't it be cheaper to buy 5 Windows Pro licences and run them headless in VMs?

BTW, I assume the 'admin' limitation on RDS means that users have to be in the Administrator group?
 
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#4
No, you're not missing anything... If you only need 5 odd instances, then yes it's cheaper. But then you need to maintain those individual instances, vs just 1 shared terminal server environment (in respect to applications, updates, licenses, etc), not to mention memory/RAM load as well.

Yep, admin mode IIRC requires the users be either in the local Administrators group or Domain Administrators group (if AD connected).
 

time

Storage? I am Storage!
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#5
Bottom line is I can't make a business case for Windows Server for small businesses. No remote access, and in any case a single PDC in a small organization is a downtime disaster waiting to happen.

Someone suggested to me that you would be better off loading server apps onto a Synology NAS. I think they were talking about the third party facility to load SQL Server on Linux? Admittedly, every other SQL server apart from M$ already runs on Linux.

This sounds a bit exotic to me (someone else will be supporting it); has anyone around here done it?
 
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#7
The way MS are pushing, they want you to use their cloud offerings.

A typically small business setup (5-10 desktops), would be a single onsite server (2019EE) running AD, DNS, DHCP and file services, AD is setup in a federated Azure AD connection for backup, email is handled via Office365 (hosted exchange), and if the business needs it, an application server (2019EE) running MSSQL + application service instance.

Alternatively, what they (MS) really want is all server functions in the cloud; Azure AD as the DC for the domain, linked to Office365 for email, OneDrive or Sharepoint (via Office365) for shared documents, and any application servers running in a Azure based instance. There are no servers onsite in the business at all. The huge advantage is that all users can be either located centrally in an office or remote and they all have the same user connectivity options and user experience. The problem is to get the redundancy for any cloud offering, may make a local setup look cheap.
 
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