2X Application Server tested.
As soon as 2X announced their implementation of terminal services I was curious to try it out.
So I grabbed the latest version of 2X ApplicationServer from the download site: http://downloads.2x.com/AppServer-LoadBalancer/2XAppServer-LoadBalancer.exe
I decided to install ApplicationServer on a spare Windows 2003 Server virtual machine. Here is the list of steps performed to install ApplicationServer (by the way, I didn't read its documentation or manual, I was just curious how user friendly the software is):
Preliminary setup: Basic Windows 2003 Server install with Terminal Services enabled (Right Click My Computer>Properties>Remote tab> Tick "Enable Remote Desktop on this Computer" > Apply> Reboot)
1. Download installer file into virtual machine and execute it. You'll be prompted whether you want to install the software. I answered "YES" 🙂
2. After the software has been extracted you'll be presented with the installer. I just pressed "Next"
3. On the next page I read the EULA, ticked "Accept the terms in the License Agreement" and pressed "Next" button.
4. I just accepted the default install folder offered and pressed "Next" button.
5. For Installation Type I ticked "Single Terminal Server" and clicked "Next" again.
6. Clicked "Next"
7. Finally got to the "Install" button. Clicked it once 🙂
9. Left "Launch Configuration Utility" option ticked and clicked "Finish".
Well apparently install is complete. As you can see it didn't make me break out in a sweat... Now we have to configure ApplicationServer. The Configuration utility requires your desktop to be at least 1024*768.
The Configuration utility is pretty neat and straightforward. You can add other Terminal Servers to be members of the farm, configure groups, identify the principle of load balancing, publish various applications, configure ports used by various services, set up licensing, monitoring and notifications. Quite simple.
I didn't do any changes to config utility and just pressed "Apply" button.
Next I downloaded ApplicationServer client. Here is a direct download link: http://downloads.2x.com/AppServer-LoadBalancer/2XAppServer-LoadBalancer-Client.msi
Naturally I installed ApplicationServer Client on my client PCs and client virtual machines.
So the next step is publishing of resources.
In order to see various options available for publishing you have to start "2X Console" on the server and go to the "Publishing" tab.
If you click the "Add" button you'll be presented with options available for publishing. Basically you have 3 types of resources to publish:
1. Applications. These are actual applications which would run remotely and be accessed from ApplicationServer Client.
2. Desktops. Remote desktops published. You can define the resolution for them.
3. Application Groups: these serve more like folders in ApplicationServer. You can publish other items in them.
Example 1: Publishing Notepad (This is only to understand the principle of publishing).
1. We have to start the console. Go to Publishing Tab and click "Add"
2. In the next menu click "Next"
3. Configure options for published Notepad i.e. Name, Icon, location (you can use browse for application).
4. When finished click next
5. On the next screen you can click Finish straight away. Completed.
Now you can make this application accessible via ApplicationServer Client. Just click on application/object (e.g. Notepad) name in Publishing tab and click the "Publish to Web" button. In the popup window click the "Generate" button and in the next popup click "NO". Close the "Publish to Web" window and click the "Apply" button in 2X Console.
If you open 2X ApplicationServer Client and click refresh you'll see that your published application has become available for access:
Your published application can be launched by double clicking on the shortcut.
I tried publishing a couple of applications including Office 2007 beta 2 and they all seem to work fine.
Publishing a Desktop in 2X Console is easy. Just choose "Desktop" for the type of published resource, then choose resolution and some other details. Finish the wizard, press "Apply" in the 2X Console, publish your desktop and it is ready. Click "Refresh All" in your 2X ApplicationServer Client and your published desktop will become available.
Piece of advice
Always click "Apply" in the 2X Console for your changes to take place. In the 2X Client always click "Refresh All" to see the new published applications.
2X ApplicationServer is very simple to install. It is easy to configure and use. 2X ApplicationServer looks like a simple solution for organizations that want to evaluate and deploy terminal services in their IT environment.