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Staging a Remote Desktop Services upgrade

Documenting configuration data and performing a complete backup of the RDS source server is crucial for avoiding issues. Do you know the requirements?

Before implementing the Remote Desktop Services server, document settings and configurations from the source system and perform a backup.

Migration only deals with the Windows Server Remote Desktop Services (RDS) roles; it doesn't migrate any settings for other applications on the source system. Carefully documenting any settings or configuration nuances for other applications or for each role service that might move from the legacy RDS server to the destination system is critical.

It's also important to perform a complete backup of the RDS source server. Which tool you use is a matter of preference; command-line tools like wbadmin or third-party products like Symantec's Backup Exec can all do the job for Windows Server 2012 R2. You can also select which backup target you want, such as local or storage area network (SAN) storage -- or even USB-attached drives (if permitted). The goal is to ensure that the physical or virtualized source system is fully protected and recoverable in case there are any issues migrating to the new RDS server.

Review system requirements for each RDS role and ensure the destination server meets the requirements for each role you intend to move. Destination systems with processor, memory, storage, graphics and other hardware capabilities similar to the source system should support a migration. Consider the potential impact that changing demands on the destination server will have and then decide if you need to improve the hardware.

If the destination server will support an RD Virtualization Host role, for example, it needs to meet hardware requirements for a Hyper-V server. Support for scalable VDI capability with features like RemoteFX would ideally call for a high-end graphics adapter such as an NVIDIA Quadro, NVIDIA Grid or AMD FirePro adapter with comprehensive support for DirectX 11 and WDDM (Windows Display Driver Model) 1.2 or later. In addition, some RDS roles, such as Session Host, Virtualization Host and Web Access, cannot run on virtual machines.

No other preparations should be needed when migrating RDS roles within the same domain as long as the source and destination servers share the same name.

This was last published in January 2015

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