RDS load balancing and user profiles?



  • We have a client with a virtualized app that makes calls out Outlook to send email as the user. In order for that to work the user has to launch Outlook once so it can configure their profile. What will happen if we set up another RDS server and load balance? Will they have to setup Outlook on the other server? Is the next step setting up folder redirection so their configuration follows them? At that point will we have gained much since we'll have created another single point of failure?



  • What is the additional single point of failure?



  • The file server that is hosting the redirected folders.



  • @Mike-Davis said in RDS load balancing and user profiles?:

    The file server that is hosting the redirected folders.

    Oh, but you can always make that redundant too, right?



  • @StrongBad I suppose you could use DFS and make the file server redundant. On the other hand most SMB clients don't have redundant file servers. It really begs the question, why have load balanced RDS servers? If the software vendor updates an app on one doesn't it replicate to the other. Have you really protected against anything?



  • @Mike-Davis said in RDS load balancing and user profiles?:

    @StrongBad I suppose you could use DFS and make the file server redundant.

    DFS isn't really redundancy, it doesn't work reliably so can't be used for that purpose (see @KOOLER for details).

    If you want redundant file servers you just use normal failover from your hypervisor like anything else.



  • You can use User Profile Disks (UPD) for this if you are using server 2012. It works well for stuff like that here.

    Setup User Profile disks on network share... \FS01\ProfileDisks

    Then have the users log in and create their outlook profiles, etc... In the future, when you decide to load balance, the UPD should follow the users around without issue.



  • @Mike-Davis said in RDS load balancing and user profiles?:

    @StrongBad It really begs the question, why have load balanced RDS servers?

    That is certainly an important question to ask.



  • @Mike-Davis said in RDS load balancing and user profiles?:

    If the software vendor updates an app on one doesn't it replicate to the other. Have you really protected against anything?

    Not necessarily. You can maintain them independently, but then they can't be load balanced. Load balancing means that they need to be the same. Having two, one for testing and one for normal, is very different than load balancing. They need to decide what the purpose of this is as right now it sounds like conflicting design decisions.



  • If you were using a high availability platform, like a Scale HC3 (just as an example off of the top of my head) you could easily get by with just a single RDS instance and a single file server instance, which would potentially reduce the licensing needs for Windows (this depends on how you want to use it), and if RDS were to be on a node that failed it would be automatically migrated to a working node. And the same for the file server. So you get automatic, instant recovery for failure without needing a complex load balancing scenario or external high availability tools.

    RDS and file servers are ideal roles for platform high availability like Scale HC3 provides.


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