One of our Principal Architects, Eddy Bell, shared a great writeup with me that I think is a great way to leverage Windows 2008 and SQL Server 2008. It answers a need that I’ve seen over and over again – the ability to connect to SQL Server Management Studio at the server, rather than running it locally. Here’s the information as Eddy’s shared with me:
At a customer visit a few months ago I was asked when would we come out with a web client to manage SQL Server? I was interested in the reasons that this customer had for wanting a thin client. Since the customer had some time and was willing we grabbed some coffee and began an interesting exchange. The net result was the following list in order of importance.
1) Access from anywhere, including from a guest machine
2) No install on the client machine
3) To have multiple versions of the client tools
A few weeks ago I had a chance to play with some of the features in Windows Server 2008 and one that jumped out at me was the new features in TS (Terminal Services). More specifically the TS Web Access and the TS RemoteApp. I decided to explore running the SQL Server 2008 management tools in the new TS environment. Below is what I did and how it came out.
1) I installed W2k8 (Windows 2008) including the TS components and dependent components like IIS. A good place to start is http://technet2.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/library/ddef2b89-73cf-4d74-b13b-47890fd1a6271033.mspx?mfr=true
2) I installed SQL Server 2008 CTP6 management tools on the W2k8 server.
e. For SSMS and
4) From the
It was now time to play. I started out with my VISTA RTM laptop. I will include some of the screen shots give a better idea of what to expect.
TS Web Access
I encountered a problem; the TS RemoteApp only supports RDP 6.1 and later. After a little research it became apparent that the RDP 6.1 install package was not available as a standalone install. I needed to install SP1 for Vista or SP3 for Xp. A few hours later I was able to avoid the screen #2. After the prompt for device sharing, there was a slight pause for the one time only per user install. This sets up the SSMS user space on the TS. SSMS then came up just like a locally installed SSMS.3
TS RemoteApp via rdp: double clicked the desktop icon and SSMS comes up just like it was locally installed.
In using both the remote and local copies of SSMS I could not tell which one was which. The only exception was when accessing the file system from SSMS, I could tell by the number of drives and directory names. I did do some accessibility testing with both clients and found that unless you install the accessibility screen reader on both the local and remote TS server you would get no accessibility events for the TS RemoteApp.
I believe that applications hosted in TS RemoteApp offer a viable alternative to a web based thin client. The TS RemoteApp server coupled with the TS Gateway and TS Web Access offer a more secure solution than comparable web applications. For me the TS RemoteApp coupled with the SQL tools gave me:
1) A rich client experience.
2) An extremely small client side footprint.
3) The responsiveness of the UI was so good I could not distinguish between the local and remote client.
1) The requirement for RDT 6.1 with no standalone install was painful
2) The accessibility problems have me concerned for the experience of anyone that needs accessibility.
3) The need for a separate license for the TS Server (CAL)
4) Client side footprints for SSMS; persistent, runtime
Rdt file on desktop
VS(virtual size) PB (private bytes) WS(working set)
Links of interest:
http://technet2.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/servermanager/terminalservices.mspx A good starting Place
http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=85873 A necessary evil