The idea of centralising an organisation's data is not a recent one. In the 1960s, a company's IT activities were frequently restricted to a single department. IT was centralised and based on mainframes connected to dumb terminals, also called "data input stations". These centralised architectures, although requiring significant initial investment, were extremely reliable. A robust, homogeneous system of this type could operate satisfactorily for between eight and over twenty years.
The advent of local networks and the Internet brought variety to IT systems, and users began to work with a wealth of different hardware, software and features. But architectures of this kind proved complex to administer, reliant on remote connections which are often insecure, and subject to frequent security flaws.
So the question arose of how to unite IT security, functionality, availability and budgetary considerations - a problem that becomes even thornier when multiple geographical locations and remote working arrangements are thrown into the mix.
For many businesses, the TS or RDS approach was the obvious solution. Did you know that CIOs from Fortune 1000 companies have chosen to centralise their information systems? Rather than equipping each of their sites separately, these dynamic companies have achieved smart savings on operating costs for their remote locations by housing their servers in data centres or IT centres. A centralised system is easier to administer and maintain and brings significant data security and cost advantages.
How it works
Terminal Server or Remote Desktop Services running on a Windows 2003 or Windows 2008 server allows users to connect to a virtual office, which is referred to as a remote session. Unlike in a traditional architecture, where all of a user's applications run locally on his machine, applications in an RDS system run on the server. Only the image of the user's virtual office is carried over the network.
Once an organisation's data is consolidated on a central server, remote users can access it securely from any machine, which is then referred to as a remote client. Remote clients can run Windows, Mac OS and Linux (with graphical environnement) operating systems.
The remote client accesses the server using a protocol called RDP for Remote Desktop Protocol trought a TCP/IP connection, very capable over a LAN (Local Area Network) or over WAN (Wide Area Network).
In Remote Desktop Services, Windows Server uses a specific system kernel to allow multiple users, each logged into an individual remote session, to connect to the same server and use the same applications simultaneously.