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Riptide Hosting, Inc.
Remote Desktop Hosting, RDP Hosting, Dedicated Server Hosting, Virtual Server Hosting, Terminal Server hosting, VM Hosting, Colocation Services
Remote Desktop Hosting, RDP Hosting, Dedicated Server Hosting, Virtual Server Hosting, Terminal Server hosting, VM Hosting, Colocation Services
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VDI, Desktop as a Service (DaaS), Hosted Desktop and Remote Desktop Hosting (Terminal Server Hosting) Compared and Explained


Summary – Hosting desktops in the cloud goes by many names and can be setup in several methods depending on your needs.

Costs can vary a lot depending on your choice.

Remote desktops make your windows programs available on most every internet connected device. This means you can work from home and easily add new employees by adding an account for their cloud desktop.

As you can see below, some setups can be costly from a Microsoft licensing perspective and some setups are better if you wish to share applications among users or alternatively have a completely isolated virtual machine for each user.

As a hosting provider in the Microsoft SPLA program, Riptide Hosting can provide Windows Server and Remote Desktop Services (RDS) user licenses but not Windows Desktop (Windows 7,8,10) licensing.

In the discussion below, you will see that Windows Server with RDS (Formerly called Terminal Server Hosting) for individual user desktop sessions can be a very cost effective solution to provide users with a customizable desktop session and ability to share applications between users.

Method 1: Remote Desktop Services on Windows Server (AKA Terminal Server Hosting)– You can utilize a Windows Server OS (2008r2/2012r2) with Remote Desktop Services (RDS) to provide each user their own custom desktop session.

Applications such as an access databases, accounting applications, business software, and MS Office are INSTALLED ON THE SERVER ONCE and accessible by each user session simultaneously.

Users have access to both a private folder (i.e. my documents) and a public folder to easily share documents between users. The Desktop Experience feature can be installed to make Windows Server 2012R2 look like Windows 8.1 (or on Server 2008 R2 to look like Windows 7).

A Remote Desktop server is often the cheapest method for providing desktop sessions. At Riptide, a VM (Virtual Terminal Server) with licensing for Windows 2012R2 starts at $90 plus RDS user licenses at $7.75 for each user. You can use our pricing calculators to get pricing for your specific server on our website.

Method 2: Windows VMs with Desktop OS 7, 8.1, 10 – Windows desktop licenses are not available in the SPLA program so hosting providers like Riptide Hosting Inc. cannot provide these licenses although you may be able to utilize your own licensing. Windows 7, 8.1, and 10 cannot be used as a Remote Desktop Session Host like Windows Server can be.

If you are looking to provide individual (isolated) VMs to each user with a Windows Desktop OS, we can provide you Dedicated Servers to install your own Volume Licensed version of Windows 2012R2 Server OS along with the “virtual machine based desktop” deployment method of RDS where each hyper-V VM utilizes a desktop OS.

Licensing in this scenario requires that each user or device accessing the VM have either the Windows Desktop Enterprise License with Software Assurance or a Windows Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) license.

VDA device licenses are approximately $100/device/year. Many users do not have the Windows Enterprise license because it is available in Volume Licensing and not OEM/Retail and requires Windows Professional or better.

Typically this is much more costly or cost prohibitive versus method 1 above. The rights to utilize the Desktop OS VM cease when either the Software Assurance or VDA license expires. For a client to use their own Volume Licensing, it must be on a fully Dedicated Server and must have the proper type of licensing.

Method 3: individual VMs on Windows Server OS – if you want isolated VMs without the ability to share programs/documents between users, another option is to use Windows Server with individual hyper-V VMs with a Server OS instead of a desktop OS. This would allow you to license the underlying host machine/server with Windows Server Datacenter licensing which provides unlimited VMs on a server OS. In some cases this would be cheaper than method 2 above but almost certainly more expensive than Method 1 of Windows Server with RDS desktop sessions.


Things to Consider:
Do you want a Desktop OS or Server OS / Server OS with Desktop Experience?

Will you our your users even notice a difference?

Who is providing the licensing? Do you have Desktop Enterprise with Software Assurance or VDA Licenses? Hosting providers via SPLA can provide Server OS and RDS licensing but not Desktop.

If you own licensing you can usually load it on a dedicated server hosted in a datacenter for cloud access.
Give us a call if you have any questions! 888.282.1883

Here is a video showing common operations on a Remote Desktop/ Hosted Terminal Server.

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This is a quick how to video for install programs on a remote desktop server. Why a remote desktop server? Many smaller businesses want to have their programs and applications on servers in the 'cloud' where they are accessible from most any computer and thus remote employees. This keeps managing applications for employees and company documents contained in one place.

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A quick video explaining the remote desktop hosting pricing page

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You can use group policy settings in Windows 2012 to adjust the timing of Windows Updates and associated reboots / restarts.  See link below for settings you can enable if you want to change the default settings and make Windows 2012 updates more similar to the configuration in Windows 2008 R2.

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Disconnected sessions on a remote desktop server continue to consume server resources until they are properly logged off.  We recommend that you set time limits for disconnected session to be ended after X period of time which can be minutes, hours or days.  See our blog post on ending RDP disconnected sessions.

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See our newest blog post for information on how to shadow another user's remote desktop session on Windows Server 2012R2 that is in workgroup mode (not connected to a domain).

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Remember to enable printer redirection along with redirection of hard drives, clip board (copy and paste from local machine to server) on your remote desktop connection prior to connecting to the remote desktop terminal server.  See blog post for more detail.

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See our new blog post on different backup options to consider with our VMs or Dell Dedicated Servers.   Backup options vary depending on whether you wish to backup only files or a full server image.
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