First and foremost, what is a Remote Desktop?
You may already be familiar with Remote Desktop Services, or Terminal Services through Microsoft. Remote Desktop Services are traditionally server based environments to provide a unified desktop experience for a collection of users. Users log into a remote desktop and are provided access to applications and desktop settings by an IT administrator.
Several benefits of a remote desktop server, include (but are not limited to):
- Simplified administration - For example, if an application needs to be updated, you only need to update it once for all users.
- A better experience for remote users - Allows remote users a conduit to access corporate resources without running actual applications on their own PCs across a wide area network.
- Much less risk at the user's PC - If most business functions and data is stored centrally on corporate servers, when a PC crashes or needs to be rebuilt, a user can simply be moved to another piece of hardware and given immediate access to the remote desktop server.
So what's the difference between Remote Desktop Services and RemoteApp Services?
RemoteApp Services utilize Remote Desktop Services but change the user experience from a remote desktop to remote applications that appear to be installed locally on your PC. Basically, a remote desktop session is established when a RemoteApp is launched but it only displays that application, not the entire desktop. Applications will even show up in the user's start menu or desktop making them appear that they are installed locally.
RemoteApp allows for a seamless blend of local and remote applications for a better user experience. No longer will you have to exit or minimize a remote desktop session to go back to your local desktop to access locally installed files or applications. A RemoteApp version of Word can be launched right next to a locally installed version of Spotify. RemoteApps can even be distributed via a web page so you can still access these applications from any PC anywhere you allow.
For anyone that has used Citrix in the past, this probably sounds very familiar. Citrix has been providing this type of solution for quite some time and has dominated the market. With the introduction of RemoteApp in Windows 2008, and many improvements to it since, Microsoft has made a compelling alternative. RemoteApp is more cost effective than Citrix and in many ways more simplistic to configure and administer.
Beringer Technology Group is always here to provide expert knowledge on topics like these. Please contact us with any questions you may have.