Overview

Remote Desktop Services (RDS) is Microsoft's proprietary service which allows users to connect to remote computers or virtual machines over a network connection.

CloudCo Partner uses SPLA Licensing for RDS, which can be applied to each network using Subscriber Access Licenses (SAL) per user. You can request licenses for your RDS configuration by contacting CloudCo Partner support, however some initial configuration needs to be done before they can be installed.

This guide will run you through the process of deploying a Windows Server instance and installing and configuring the necessary roles and features to allow for licenses to be installed.

NOTE: This guide assumes you are starting from scratch and are yet to deploy any of your Windows Instances, and that you are using Windows Server 2016. Please skip to the relevant sections using the sidebar as needed.


Creating Your Windows Server Instance

You create a Windows Server instance from a template, much like an Ubuntu or CentOS instance. From the Dashboard screen, click the Launch Instance button, which will redirect you to the Instances screen.

On the Instances screen the New Instance panel will display. Under the second column labeled Disks, under New Instance Boot Disk select Windows Server 2016 from the dropdown list. Feel free to rename the instance by clicking the pencil icon next to the name at the top.

The minimum specs for a Windows Server 2016 instance is as follows:

  • 1 vCPU
  • 4GB RAM
  • 50 GB Boot Disk
  • 1 Public IP Address
  • 1 Private IP Address

Once you have defined your requirements, click Create and Start to create and start the instance.

Note: The first time a Windows instance boots it will perform first start operations then shutdown. You will have to restart the instance from the Instances screen by clicking the gear on the right and selecting Start from the drop down menu.


Accessing Your Windows Server Instance

To configure our Windows Server instance we will need to access the Windows Desktop Environment. To do so we will use the Out-of-Band Console to access and control the Desktop via VNC.

On the Instances screen, on the right of the Windows Server instance click the gear and select Launch Console from the drop down menu. A new window will open through which you can control the Windows Desktop.

Once booted you will be presented with a login screen. You will be prompted to set a password for the Administrator account, which requires at least one character, number and symbol.

Once you login you will need to reboot your instance so that the CloudCo Partner context system can rename the Windows Server to the name specified on creation.

Note: The Out-of-Band Console does not capture all keyboard input, particularly the modifier keys. You can issue a Ctrl+Alt+Del by using the button on the bottom right of the VNC window. You can also copy paste text in by clicking Paste Text and using the input box that pops up.


Installing the Active Directory Domain Service

Once you are logged into the Administrator account we can now start our configuration process for RDS. Firstly, we must install and enable the Active Directory service for use by RDS for user authentication.

Click the start menu and select Server Manager to open it.

Open Server Manager

Once the Server Manager loads, click Add roles and features.

Add roles and features

A wizard screen will open through which we will add the Active Directory Domain Service. Click Next.

rActive Directory Domain Service

On the following screen make sure Role-based or feature-based installation is selected then click Next till you see the screen which says Select Server Roles.

Select Installation Type

On the select server roles screen, select Active Directory Domain Services and click Add features on the pop up box that appears. Click next until you see the screen which says Confirm installation selections.

Select Server Roles

Check that the settings are correct then click Install on the bottom right.

Confirm Settings

The Active Directory Domain Service will now install.


Configuring the Active Directory Domain Service

Once installation is finished you will see the following screen. Click Promote this server to a domain controller. This will open another wizard window which we will use to configure the Active Directory Service.

Active Directory Wizard

On the Deployment configuration screen select Add a new forest, then specify Root domain name as requested and click Next. In this example we have chosen business.local. More information on what to specify as your forest root domain can be found on Microsoft's official docs here.

Deployment Configuration

On the Domain Controller Options screen specify a password for DSRM and click Next. The password must include at least one character, number and symbol.

Domain Controller Options

On the Additional Options screen ensure that the NetBIOS name is as expected, then click Next. In our example below, the NetBIOS name is BUSINESS.

Additional Options

On the final screen, wait for the prerequisites check to finish then click Install to finalize the installation process.

Confirm Configuration

Once installation finishes the Windows instance will warn you that it will reboot to apply the changes. Once the instance reboots the Active Directory Domain Service should be installed and in use.


Installing Remote Desktop Services

We will now install Remote Desktop Services on this Windows Server Instance. From the Server Manager, click Add roles and features.

Server Manager

A wizard screen will open through which we will add the Remote Desktop Services. Click Next.

Wizard Powers

On the following screen make sure Remote Desktop Services installation is selected then click Next.

Select Installation Type

On the Select deployment type screen ensure Standard deployment is selected then click Next .

Select Deployment Type

On the Select deployment scenario select Session-based desktop deployment then click Next twice.

Select Deployment Scenario

On the following three screens of the wizard we will specify where to install the RD Connection Broker, Web Access and Session Host services. In this example we will install all three on this instance.

On each of the screens, select select the server under Server Pool then click the right arrow button, then click Next.

RD Services

On the final screen, confirm your selections then click the check box at the bottom to allow restart during install, and click Install.

Confirm Selection

Note that the instance may restart during installation. Once the install is complete RDS will now be installed.


Installing Remote Desktop Licensing

We must now install the Remote Desktop Licensing Role on our Windows Instance to allow for licenses to be installed. From the Server Manager, click Add roles and features.

Server Manager

A wizard screen will open through which we will add the Remote Desktop Licensing role. Click Next.

Remote Desktop Licensing

On the following screen make sure Role-based or feature-based installation is selected then click Next till you see the screen which says Select Server Roles.

Role-based or feature-based installation

On the select server roles screen, select Remote Desktop Licensing under Remote Desktop Services and click Add features on the pop up box that appears. Click next until you see the screen which says Confirm installation selections.

Select Server Roles

Check that the settings are correct then click Install on the bottom right.

Confirm installation selections

The Remote Desktop Licensing role will now be installed.


Activating the Remote Desktop Licensing Server

Our final configuration step is to activate the the Remote Desktop Licensing Server. From the Server Manager, on the navigation panel select Remote Desktop Services.

Server Manager

On the RDS Overview click Servers.

Remote Desktop Services

From the Servers View right click on the server you would like to install the Licensing Server on and click RD Licensing Manager from the drop down window.

Servers

The RD Licensing Manager will pop up in a new window. Again, we right click the specified server and click Activate Server.

RD Licensing Manager

A wizard window will pop up which we will now follow to Activate the RDS Licensing Server. Click Next.

Licensing Server Wizard

On the Connection Method screen select Automatic connection then click Next.

Connection Method

On the Company Information screen fill in your companies information then click Next.

Company Information

On the second screen feel free to include the optional company information as well, then click Next.

Company Information Continued

On the final screen, deselect the Start Install Licenses Wizard now checkbox then click Finish.

Confirmation Screen

You have now finished RDS License Server configuration!


Contacting CloudCo Partner Support

You are now ready to request RDS license installation from CloudCo Partner Support! Please include the following details in an email to support@cloudcopartner.com:

  • Reseller name
  • Organization name
  • Target VM
  • Number of licenses needed
  • Credentials of an Administrator account for the target VM