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Step-by-Step Guide for Configuring Network Load Balancing with Terminal Services: Windows Server 2008
Published: March 2008
Author: Susan Boher
Editor: Ronald Loi
This step-by-step guide provides the instructions necessary to configure Network Load Balancing (NLB) with Terminal Services for the Windows Server® 2008 operating system. This guide also includes instructions on installing and configuring NLB and setting up a terminal server.
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Step-by-Step Guide for Configuring Network Load Balancing with Terminal Services: Windows Server 2008 1
Step-by-Step Guide for Configuring Network Load Balancing with Terminal Services in Windows Server 2008 5
NLB with Terminal Services overview 5
Terminal Services components 5
Terminal Services Session Broker service 6
Terminal Services Configuration snap-in 7
Requirements for using NLB with a terminal server 7
Steps for configuring NLB with Terminal Services 7
Step 1: Set up a terminal server farm with TS Session Broker 7
Step 2: Install NLB 9
Step 3: Create an NLB cluster 10
Logging bugs and feedback 11
Additional resources 12
This step-by-step guide provides instructions for configuring Network Load Balancing (NLB) with Terminal Services.
Using NLB with Terminal Services offers the benefits of increased availability, scalability, and load-balancing performance, as well as the ability to distribute a large number of Terminal Services clients over a group of terminal servers.
NLB distributes traffic across several servers by using the TCP/IP networking protocol. You can use NLB with a terminal server farm to scale the performance of a single terminal server by distributing sessions across multiple servers.
Terminal Services Session Broker (TS Session Broker), included in Windows Server® 2008 Standard, Windows Server 2008 Enterprise, and Windows Server 2008 Datacenter, keeps track of disconnected sessions on the terminal server farm, and ensures that users are reconnected to those sessions. Additionally, TS Session Broker enables you to load balance sessions between terminal servers in a farm. This functionality is provided by the TS Session Broker Load Balancing feature. However, this session-based load balancing feature requires a front-end load balancing mechanism to distribute the initial connection requests to the terminal server farm. You can use a load balancing mechanism such as DNS round robin, NLB or a hardware load balancer to distribute the initial connection requests. By deploying NLB together with TS Session Broker Load Balancing, you can take advantage of both the network-based load balancing and failed server detection of NLB, and the session-based load balancing and per server limit on the number of pending logon requests that is available with TS Session Broker Load Balancing.
To use the TS Session Broker Load Balancing feature, all terminal servers in the farm must be running Windows Server 2008. For more information about the TS Session Broker Load Balancing feature, see the Windows Server 2008 TS Session Broker Load Balancing Step-by-Step Guide.
When deploying a terminal server farm by using NLB, each server needs to serve all users. To facilitate this, you must store per-user information, system information, and common data in an accessible place, such as a back-end file server.
Terminal Services has two components that are important for establishing load balancing: the Terminal Services Session Broker service and the Terminal Services Configuration snap-in.
Terminal Services Session Broker service
This service maintains a database that keeps track of terminal server sessions in a load-balanced terminal server farm and provides information to the terminal server, which is used to connect users to existing sessions.
When the Terminal Services Session Broker service starts, it creates the Session Directory Computers local group. By default, this group is not populated. You must choose the individual terminal servers or groups that you want to participate in the Terminal Services Session Broker service, and then manually change group memberships to the Session Directory Computers group.
The Terminal Services Session Broker service starts automatically after you install the TS Session Broker role service on the server that you want to use to track user session information for a load-balanced terminal server farm. You can use a single TS Session Broker server to track user sessions across multiple farms because there is minimal performance overhead.
When you install the TS Session Broker role service, the following changes occur on the local computer:
The Terminal Services Session Broker service is installed. By default, the service is set to Started and to Automatic.
The Session Directory Computers local group is created.
The server where you install the TS Session Broker role service must be a member of a domain.
The Windows Server 2008-based server where you install the TS Session Broker role service does not have to be a terminal server or have Remote Desktop enabled.
If you install the TS Session Broker role service on a domain controller, the Session Directory Computers group will be a domain local group, and it will be available on all domain controllers.
If you do not have any of the Terminal Services role services installed, use the following procedure to install the TS Session Broker role service.
To install the TS Session Broker role service
This snap-in is included on each terminal server. Terminal servers that comprise the terminal server farm communicate with TS Session Broker to ensure that users are transparently reconnected to the original server hosting their disconnected sessions. The process is:
1. When the user logs on to the terminal server farm, the terminal server receiving the initial client logon request sends a query to the TS Session Broker server.
2. The TS Session Broker server checks the user name against its database and sends the result to the requesting server. One of the following occurs:
If the user has no disconnected sessions, logon continues at the server hosting the initial connection.
If the user has a disconnected session on another server, the client session is passed to that server and logon continues.
To use NLB, a computer must have:
At least one network adapter for load balancing.
Only TCP/IP used on the adapter for which NLB is enabled. Do not add any other protocols (for example, IPX) to this adapter.
All hosts in the NLB cluster must reside on the same subnet.
Ensure that the cluster's clients are able to access this subnet.
All terminal servers in the terminal server farm should be joined to the same domain.
To configure NLB with Terminal Services, complete the following steps:
Step 1: Set up a terminal server farm with TS Session Broker.
Step 2: Install NLB.
Step 3: Create an NLB cluster.
For a terminal server to use TS Session Broker, you must add the computer account for the terminal server to the Session Directory Computers local group on the TS Session Broker server.
You must perform this procedure on the server where you installed the TS Session Broker role service.
You can configure a terminal server to join a farm in TS Session Broker by using the Terminal Services Configuration snap-in.
The following steps are only applicable if the Terminal Server role service is installed.
NLB must be installed on the network adapter that you want to use for the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) connection.
To open the Add Features Wizard and install NLB
You also have the option to install NLB using the command: Servermanagercmd.exe - install nlb at a command prompt.
To configure the NLB cluster, you must configure three types of the parameters:
1. Host parameters, which are specific to each host in an NLB cluster.
2. Cluster parameters, which apply to an NLB cluster as a whole.
3. Port rules, which control how the cluster functions. By default, a port rule equally balances all TCP/IP traffic across all servers. When using NLB in a Terminal Services environment, you will need to modify these default rules.
When you are using Network Load Balancing Manager, you must be a member of the Administrators group on the host that you are configuring, or you must have been delegated the appropriate authority. If you are configuring a cluster or host by running Network Load Balancing Manager from a computer that is not part of the cluster, you do not have to be a member of the Administrators group on that computer. As a security best practice, consider using Run as to perform this procedure.
If you find errors in this document, or you have problems configuring NLB with Terminal Services, please log a bug so that we can correct the problem. When you log bugs, use the instructions on the Microsoft Connect Web site (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=49779). We are also interested in feature requests and general feedback about NLB.
To provide feedback on this Step-by-Step Guide, follow the instructions on the Microsoft Web site (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?linkid=55105). Please note that in the comment area on the Web site, you will need to provide the name of this Step-by-Step Guide.
The following resources provide additional information about NLB and Terminal Services:
If you need product support, see the Microsoft Connect Web site (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=49779).
For information about the TS Session Broker Load Balancing feature, see the Windows Server 2008 TS Session Broker Load Balancing Step-by-Step Guide (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=92670).
For information about Terminal Services Session Directory in Windows Server 2003, see Session Directory and Load Balancing Using Terminal Server (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=18379).
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