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Building Out Remote Desktop Session Host Farms: What You Need to Know

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Building Out Remote Desktop Session Host Farms: What You Need to Know

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to building out remote desktop session host farms.

· Agile Zone ·
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According to a recent study conducted by Gallup, more employees in the United States are working remotely than ever. In 2016, nearly 43% of employed American adults said that they spent at least some time working remotely – a number that represents an increase of 4% since 2012. Additionally, Gallup found that people are working remotely for longer periods of time as well.

Remote networking and telecommuting technology has long been a way to increase productivity, strengthen collaboration and even empower customer service – but it is also one that requires employers to keep a few very important things in mind. Perhaps the most important of these considerations is one of security, particularly as the average total cost of a single data breach rose to $3.62 million in 2017 according to IBM Security and the Ponemon Institute.

For many organizations with various data needs, remote desktop session host servers make a large amount of sense – particularly in terms of the way they enable remote employees to "work smarter, not harder." This configuration does come with certain limitations, however, like the fact that such a server is typically limited in the number of users it can handle to around five per core.

But as is true with most things, the needs of today may look wildly different than the needs of tomorrow – particularly as far as your remote desktop needs are concerned. As your remote desktop user numbers increase, you will need to scale your services to keep up with these ever-changing demands. This is something that you can do in a few different ways depending on your needs.

The "Scale Up" Approach

One of the main ways to build out your remote desktop session host farm capabilities is often referred to as the "Scale Up" approach, which means that you're increasing your server side by adding additional cores and memory. If you're currently working with a single core with a limit of five users and you need to give ten people the ability to access your remote desktop infrastructure, adding another core to increase capacity makes a great deal of sense.

It's important to note, however, that this method is obviously limited to the scalability limits of the associated storage controllers. Still, it can be incredibly useful, particularly because you don't have to manage additional servers as your capacity needs evolve. This can also be an incredibly cost-effective capacity upgrade approach, too.

It does, however, come with certain disadvantages. Once you reach performance and capacity limits yet again, you will need to add additional equipment to keep up – and your workload will still grow as you migrate and manage the load between independent silos of storage. This may be a viable short-term solution, but over time, this can often become too complex to manage. Not to mention the fact that this option slowly becomes less and less cost-effective as time marches on.

Even still, this would be a viable method if you need to expand your remote desktop functionality on a temporary basis – like if your organization experiences seasonal fluctuations that don't necessarily represent the average amount of remote work that needs to be done throughout the year. Adding additional resources to account for this sudden influx of new users would be efficient, particularly if everyone is responsible for doing largely the same basic job and resource needs don't vary too wildly.

The "Scale Out" Approach

Another viable option in terms of building out your remote desktop session host farms is called the "Scale Out" approach, which simply involves adding additional RDSH servers as needed. The major benefit of this method is that you can segment your users based on the type of work they're trying to do, the types of applications and tools they need and more, thus giving you better oversight into not just the services being provided, but by how those services are being used.

Additional benefits of this approach involve the fact that performance will not decline when scaling. Along the same lines, data reduction is vastly more efficient because deduplication is performed globally across the entire data set. This approach also comes with certain disadvantages, however – like the fact that there is no option to add capacity without adding additional controllers.

The "Scale Out" approach to building out makes sense in issues where you need to effectively eliminate downtime, or at least reduce it as much as possible. When working with only a single remote desktop session host farm, ALL users are impacted if you have to perform maintenance or experience any unexpected issues. When everything is separated based on the type of work people are trying to do or the resources they need, any significant actions that you need to take would only affect a small portion of your users as opposed to all of them.

Additional Considerations

Though both the "Scale Up" and "Scale Out" methods bring with them their fair share of advantages and disadvantages, it is important to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to building out remote desktop session host farms. There is truly no one right answer – instead, there is only the one right answer that meets your needs as they currently exist.

Because of this, you'll want to make sure that any DaaS or WaaS solution that you choose supports either scenario – giving you the freedom and flexibility to make the right decision for the right job at the right time, no exceptions. Do research to find solutions that not only support both the "Scale Out" and "Scale Up" approaches to building out remote desktop session host farms but that also offer both private and public cloud options for you to choose from as you see fit. Regardless of what type of solution you choose, it's essential that you allow yourself the freedom to pivot back and forth between approaches as the conditions that you're dealing with continue to change.

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Topics:
agile approach ,agile ,remote worker

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