Microsoft Dynamics GP and Windows Remote Desktop Services (RDS) – Part 2

Now that Remote Desktop Services (RDS) is installed, you will want to install and configure Dynamics GP and related products on the server. Note that any features launched from GP that depend on another application, such as Excel or Word, will require you to install that application on the RDS server. Users cannot interact directly with applications on their workstations. This function isolation also extends to printing, although later versions of Terminal Services and RDS have made printing from a remote session nearly seamless and transparent to the user. (Microsoft has more information about Terminal Services Printing here.)

For a typical deployment, you will most likely have SQL Server and the first GP client installed on a different machine and will only be using the RDS server as a multiuser client. I do not recommend running SQL Server and RDS on the same server, though it may work for small installations. Typically, there won’t be enough resources to handle SQL Server’s requirements and run multiple instances of Dynamics GP.

User configuration

Once the RDS role has been added and configured, you can specify which users will have access to the server through their Remote Desktop Client. Although you can grant access during the RDS role setup, you will need to manage users periodically as part of ongoing administration.

Open the Local Users and Groups administration console from Server Manager.

Open the Remote Desktop Users group. This built-in group allows its members to log on and run applications through the Remote Desktop Client.

You may wonder why the administrator isn’t listed; the administrator has the ability to log on remotely by default, so the account does not need to be explicitly added to the Remote Desktop Users group. From this window, add the Windows logon of each GP user. There may be additional security considerations for your specific environment, and you will need to evaluate those during testing. Common items include shared forms and reports dictionaries, but you do not need to store those on the Remote Desktop server; they can be in a different shared location.

Client Server Connections

Users will connect to the server using the Remote Desktop Connection application included in Windows. We recommend using the latest version to ensure functionality and compatibility. The latest version of Remote Desktop Connection, 7.0, can be downloaded here if your workstations are running Windows XP SP3 or Windows Vista with SP1 or SP2; it’s included with Windows 7.

To start the Remote Desktop Connection, you can run it from your Start menu under Accessories or run it from the command line with the “mstsc.exe” command. You will see this screen:

Click on the “Options” button to display options for configuring your connection, and enter the name or IP address of your RDS server.

On the “Display” tab, you can choose the size of the remote desktop window or full screen. You can also allow the session to use all your monitors, or you can select color depth. These settings and others are set at the server and cannot be changed on the client, which is useful for controlling resource usage.

The “Local Resources” tab lets you redirect devices from the client workstation to the remote desktop session.

By default, client printers and the clipboard will be available, but clicking the “More” button will enable you to redirect client drives.

Users usually like easy access to the same drives in the remote session that they have on their desktop, and this option enables that access. In practice, it’s best if users forget there is any storage available on the RDS server and store all of their files on their workstation or network share, unless your RDS server also functions as a file server. One nice feature of RDC:  You can copy and paste files between the remote and local computers, preventing a lot of folder browsing.

The final tab we’ll discuss, “User Experience,” controls the balance between the performance and richness of the experience. Choosing a value from the drop-down list will set the default values of individual features, but each can be individually customized. As with other RDS settings, these can be configured at the server to prevent individual clients from consuming an inordinate amount of server resources.

For more information about using Remote Desktop Services with Microsoft Dynamics GP, please contact our support center at gpsupport@bkd.com.

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