A terminal server is a computer that provides users with access to applications, data, and other resources stored on a server over a network. Instead of running applications and storing data locally, users connect to a terminal server using Remote Desktop and perform tasks on the server.
The terminal server runs on the server and provides remote access to the application's graphical interface and operating system. With Terminal Server, users can access applications and data on the server as if they were on a local computer. At the same time, all data and applications are stored on the server, which makes working with them more efficient and secure.
Technically, a terminal server runs on a Windows Server operating system and uses the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) or Independent Computing Architecture (ICA) protocols to provide remote access to users. It can also use various authentication and authorization mechanisms to provide secure access to data and applications.
A terminal server can be configured for a variety of purposes, such as remote application access, document collaboration, workstation virtualization, and more. It can also be integrated with other management and security systems such as Active Directory to provide centralized management of users and access to resources.
1. Quick access
This is especially useful for organizations that operate branches or sites across the country. Everyone needs to share information within the company. Terminal servers are used for remote access to workstations and applications, allowing users to work on their computers but access programs and files on remote servers. This can be valuable for companies that want to give employees access to centralized information and applications without requiring them to be in the office.
2. Centralized management
The big plus is that the software only needs to be installed once, just like any patches or updates. You do not have to install it on each computer, so it saves a lot of time and ensures that all your users are using the same version. It is also much easier to organize user observation. If users are suspected of violating the rules or their sessions show unusual activity, it is easy to look in and check what's going on.
3. High performance
Another advantage of the terminal server is that it allows a large number of users to manage remotely it at the same time, connecting using the RDP client built into the Windows operating system. You can simultaneously connect 30-40 users running "heavy" applications on a terminal server, all in their bubbles (user sessions), and they are all managed by a session Manager service. These applications reside on a terminal server next to a file server, so performance is very high and the people running them remotely can be anywhere.
4. Saving resources and space
The user's local computer does not need to do much, so it can have lower specs and a much longer lifespan. It only runs a sort of Remote Desktop Protocol RDP client. Since remote desktop clients are also available for operating systems other than Microsoft Windows, a user can use a Mac, iPad, Android tablet, Chromebook, Kindle Fire, etc. to connect to a terminal server. Worktables are inexpensive and easy to replace. All that is needed is a thin client (an input and display device; a compact and silent computer without a hard drive whose main operating system is loaded on the server) or a system capable of running the Terminal Services client. This is doubtful to require 1 GB of RAM and a 100 GB hard drive. When the thin client is no longer needed, it is easy to replace, without special software or special configuration.
Resource capturing. You need to learn how to manage resource quotas. Otherwise, it could happen that a user logs in, downloads something "heavy", and leaves without logging out. In this case, there is nothing left but to end the session.
Some programs "don't like" Terminal Services. For example, Office. Previously, you had to install it in a special "terminal services mode", otherwise the installation would behave awkward or work incorrectly.
There is a necessity for reliable network infrastructure for working. Users need a good path from the desktop to the server. If a client machine, switch, cable, or server "dies" their computer platform too.
Printer drivers behave weirdly sometimes. Interaction between programs increases the failure probability. Especially with terminal servers, which always seemed to be more sensitive to this. Remember, one server affects all. Therefore, one failed software installation can give everyone a headache.