Windows Server 2008 Terminal Server – Improved but No Replacement for XenApp

As a follow-up to my last post around the Windows 2003 TS / Citrix XenApp comparison I thought I’d create a high level summary of some of the changes made to Windows Server 2008 Terminal Server.  Most of this is summarized from a recent Citrix document that is very informative.  In general, most of the benefits listed in my previous post still apply to Windows 2008 and there is no question Citrix XenApp is still a much better solution for larger environments.  So let’s look as some of the improvements made to Windows Server 2008 from a Terminal Services standpoint over what is offered from Windows Server 2003 Terminal Services:

          Server Health Monitoring      

o   Ability to monitor and report on problems occurring in the environment. (XenApp adds automatic recovery options such as restarting the server)

          Printer Management Improvement: 

o   Ability to inherit existing printer settings of the local printer.

o   Ensures that local printers are isolated to that user specifically.

o   Client side printer can be restricted to only the default printer.

          Improved User Experience

o   Now capable of 32-bit color resolution.  (XenApp still limited to 24-bit)

o   More seamless application performance

o   Local audio playback now supported

o   Redirection of file types to the terminal server (client to server)

o   USB Printer and Storage support

          Performance Improvements

o   Session Sharing – increased application start time and reduces CPU and memory usage.

o   Display Data Prioritization – basically QoS for graphics apps.

          Application Compatibility

o   Basic SharePoint integration has been added.  (XenApp expands the capability)


o   SSL/TLS encryption now available

o   Policy-based control of client devices


o   Improved load-balancing

These are certainly good improvements over Windows Server 2003 but don’t even come close to the capabilities offered by the XenApp product.  Take a look at the complete 15 page document here to see the complete list of XenApp advantages.


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