Chapter 11: Resource Management in Server Farms

Chapter 11: Resource Management in Server Farms


Previous chapters have focused on terminal servers individually or in small groups. Larger environments were really mentioned for the first time in Chapter 10, when Citrix MetaFrame XP Presentation Server was presented. In fact, terminal server environments have shown a recent tendency to increase in scope because they have become more commonly used as a strategic solution in companies with many tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of workstations. Collections of farms with more than 100 terminal servers are nothing new these days, unlike just a few years ago. Furthermore, some of these farms are no longer used in pure Microsoft environments and need to inter-operate with other operating systems.

So what is the best way to deal with the technical requirements in large, mixed environments? On the one hand, installation procedures and operating concepts need to be highly standardized and automated, as described in previous chapters. On the other hand, it is, of course, necessary to design the large-scale terminal server environments with potentially heterogeneous infrastructures in such a way that they meet requirements concerning scalability, resource administration, and stability. For this reason, many of the issues described here relate only to Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition, or require the use of additional tools. This chapter will cover the following topics:

  • Find out about load balancing and the Session Directory, which are the basic technologies for successfully distributing the application load and making terminal server environments scalable, with a focus on third-party products in particular.

  • Learn how to plan, analyze, and manage the required resources for large terminal server environments with the help of appropriate tools from Microsoft and others. This section also touches upon the issue of automatically limiting resource allocation for individual user sessions or application programs.

  • Become familiar with the concepts and the available tools for conducting meaningful load tests in a terminal server environment.

  • Take a brief look at how third-party systems can be integrated into terminal server environments.

This chapter focuses on the strengths of the Windows Server 2003 family because it represents a workable, stable, and scalable platform on which to build large-scale corporate environments. Microsoft provides a solution for all the issues raised in this chapter. However, where maximum scalability is the dominant consideration, add-on products by specialized manufacturers might be needed to meet all requirements. Using third-party add-on tools is intentional where the aim is to offer an appropriate solution to meet the special needs of certain customer segments with a general product, such as Windows Server 2003. Citrix provides particularly good solutions in this respect, as was demonstrated in previous chapters.