Managing Your Remote BackOffice Servers

In the past, a company with multiple locations had to make expensive provisions for the upkeep of its network and systems. Costly trips for systems administrators and expensive connections to the home office often ate up corporate IT budgets. Other challenges included bandwidth constraints that restricted the functionality of remote management tools; people familiar with networks and IT, in general, were few and far between at most remote sites; and remote management applications had limited abilities.

In designing BackOffice Server, Microsoft decided to include special tools designed to make it easier to manage networks and businesses remotely. BackOffice Server doesn't care who performs the administration—whether it's IT management staff in one location, technicians sprinkled in various locations throughout the company, or administrators who roam from location to location. Let’s talk about how these tools can make your life simpler.

All Windows 2000 distributions include the native management tools that come with BackOffice Server—and Win2K Server is the foundation of BackOffice Server—so administrators can install the tools on many machines in many locations. Any network server can host the different management tools. In addition, using Windows Installer or push technology, the administrator can publish the management tools so that any network computer can use them.

Windows 2000 Server Terminal Services, a tool native to Win2K Server and thus to BackOffice Server, provides a different perspective for administrators who manage servers remotely. Using the server's Remote Administration mode, administrators and other technicians can use the server tools directly—as if they were sitting in front of the console. You can control access to this functionality. All communications involving Terminal Services use secure Web protocols.

    Using Terminal Services offers administrators the following benefits:

  • Native tools integrated with the OS. The administrator is familiar with the interface because of its integration with Win2K. The tools look the same whether the administrator is in front of the console or connecting remotely.
  • Efficient bandwidth usage. Terminal Services provides excellent performance over low-bandwidth connections. The performance improves when you compare the statistics to executing remote procedure calls (RPCs), which run when you use management tools to connect to remote servers.
  • A variety of customization options. You can make customizations and specific settings on a per-user basis, so that one user can access a full, unrestricted, server desktop, while you limit another user to a specific application or Microsoft Management Console (MMC) file.

Client software is also readily available for use with the native Terminal Services. You can automatically install and configure Terminal Services with BackOffice Server 2000 Setup. Terminal Services includes both 32-bit and 16-bit client software, so you can use platforms such as Win2K, Windows NT, Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows 3.11 to connect to the server remotely. Third-party software also exists for this purpose.

Terminal Services client software is also available with BackOffice Server. The Web-capable software lets you manage the server from one Web page, which hosts the Terminal Services ActiveX Web client control. BackOffice Server Setup can automatically configure IIS, Microsoft's Web hosting software, with a virtual root and directory, create the necessary code for the Web page, and load the ActiveX control. You can configure the Web tool to lock into a certain console and view the system based on a user's login properties, such as user rights, logon scripts, Group Policies, and other settings.

To extend Terminal Services, Citrix Systems has developed the MetaFrame product line, which is an add-on for the built-in Terminal Services. The Citrix Win2K extensions to WTS include audio support, client print services, drive mapping to a server, a local and remote clipboard, COM port mapping, and local printer mapping. Perhaps the most important feature to bandwidth-challenged clients is the SpeedScreen 2 feature, which reduces bandwidth consumption, on average, by 25 percent to 30 percent and the number of packets transmitted by almost 60 percent. The technology works by reducing the transmission of frequently repainted screens. MetaFrame users also enjoy broad client support, with support for all Windows clients, as well as DOS, UNIX, OS/2 Warp, Mac OS, and Java. For information on Citrix, visit the Citrix Web site.

TAGS: Windows 8
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