Home > Articles > Operating Systems, Server > Microsoft Servers

This chapter is from the book

Understanding the Administration of Virtual Guest Sessions

One question that comes up frequently from administrators implementing virtual environments for the first time is how one administers a virtual server. For years, we have just walked up to a server that has a keyboard, mouse, and monitor and worked on "that system." Having a different mouse, keyboard, and monitor for each system is simple; we know which devices go to which server that is running a specific application. With virtualization, however, guest sessions do not have their own mouse, keyboard, or monitor. So, how do you administer the system?

Many organizations have already been working off of centralized mice, keyboards, and monitors by using switchboxes that allow 4, 8, 16, or more servers to all plug into a single physical mouse, keyboard, and monitor. Simply by pushing a button on the switchbox, or using a command sequence, the administrator "toggles" between the servers.

Administration of virtual servers works the exact same way. An administrator utility is loaded, and that utility enables administrators to open multiple virtual server sessions on their screen. Various tools and strategies, including the following, enable you to administer virtual systems:

  • Using the Hyper-V Administration tool
  • Using the System Center VMM tool
  • Using Terminal Services for remote administration

The various administration options provide different levels of support to the management of the virtual guest sessions on Hyper-V.

Management Using the Hyper-V Administration Tool

The built-in Hyper-V Administration tool provides basic functions such as starting and stopping guest images, pausing guest images, forcing a shutdown of guest images, immediately turning off guest images, and the ability to snapshot images for a configuration state at a given time.

In most environments, the administrator would set a guest image to automatically start as soon as the host server itself has been started. That way, if the server is rebooted, the appropriate guest images are also started (but like if a physical server lost power and rebooted when the power came back on).

For images that have been set to be off after the host server reboot, those images can be manually started from the Hyper-V Administration tool. The manual start of images is common for servers that are hosting test images, images used for demonstration purposes, and copies of images that can be manually started when a specific server is required (that is, cold standby server startup).

You can find more information about the built-in Hyper-V Administration tool in Chapter 6, "Managing, Administering, and Maintaining a Hyper-V Host Server."

Management Using the Virtual Machine Manager 2008 Tool

Organizations that want more than just starting and stopping guest images should consider buying and implementing the System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 (VMM) tool. VMM provides basic information about whether a guest image has been started or not, and it provides more information than the built-in Hyper-V Administration tool in terms of how much memory and disk space each image is taking on the host server. The VMM 2008 tool has several wizards and functions that allow an administrator to capture physical server information and bring the server configuration into a virtual image. VMM 2008 can also extract an image from another virtual server and bring that information into a new Hyper-V guest image.

Another feature built in to VMM 2008 is the ability to create a library where template images, ISO application images, snapshot libraries, and the like are stored. With a centralized library, administrators have at their fingertips the images, tools, and resources to build new images, to recover from failed images, and to deploy new images more easily. In addition, VMM 2008 provides delegation and provisioning capabilities so that administrators can issue rights to other users to self-provision and self-manage specific images without depending on the IT department to manage images or manually build out configurations.

You can find more information about System Center Virtual Machine Manager in the four chapters included in Part IV of this book, "System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 in a Hyper-V Environment."

Management Using Thin Client Terminal Services

Aside from using the centralized Hyper-V Administration tool to manage guest images, administrators can still use Terminal Services to remotely administer servers on the network, whether that's physical servers or images running as virtual sessions in a Hyper-V environment.

An administrator may choose to gain remote access into the Hyper-V host server, and then control all the guest images on that host server, or the administrator could gain remote access one by one to each of the guest sessions. The latter, which is the ability to individually administer a remote system, is a good solution to provide to an individual who needs access to a single server or a limited number of servers, such as a web administrator or a database administrator.

Improvements in Windows 2008 Terminal Services

Windows 2008 incorporates significant improvements in Terminal Services capabilities for thin client access for remote managed users to access servers in an environment. What used to require third-party add-ons to make the basic Windows 2000 or 2003 Terminal Services functional, Microsoft has included in Windows 2008. These technologies include things such as the ability to access Terminal Services using a standard port 443 Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) rather than the proprietary port 3389; and the ability to publish just specific programs rather than the entire desktop; and improvements in allowing a client to have a larger remote-access screen, multiple screens, and to more easily print to remote print devices.

These improvements to Windows 2008 Terminal Services make it a component that's easy to add to an existing Windows 2003 Active Directory to test out the new Windows 2008 capabilities. The installation of a Windows 2008 Terminal Services system requires just the addition of a member server to the domain, and that can be removed at any time (similar to the addition and removal of a Hyper-V host server).

You can find more information about using Terminal Services for remote administration in Chapter 6.

Improvements in RDP 6.x for Better Client Capabilities

One area of significant improvement in Windows 2008 Terminal Services can be seen in the update to the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) 6.x client, shown in Figure 1.9.

Figure 1.9

Figure 1.9 Remote Desktop Protocol client for Terminal Services.

The new RDP client provides the following:

  • Video support up to 4,096 x 2,048—Administrators can now use very large monitors across an RDP connection to view data off a Windows 2008 Terminal Services system, providing a view to many virtual guest sessions from a single Hyper-V cost connection.
  • Multimonitor support—Administrators can also have multiple monitors supported off a single RDP connection. For help desk and operations staff monitoring multiple servers in the environment, having different monitors display different remote servers or configurations can help simplify remote administration tasks.
  • Secured connections—The new RDP client now provides for a highly encrypted remote connection to a Terminal Services system through the use of Windows 2008 security. When remote administration of key servers is required, the new RDP security ensures that server access is protected and information privacy is ensured through a highly secured encrypted connection between a Windows 2008 Terminal Services system and the remote client.

Terminal Services Web Access

Also new to Windows 2008 Terminal Services is a new role called Terminal Services Web Access, or TSWA. TSWA enables a remote administrator to access a Terminal Services session without having to launch the RDP 6.x client. The administrator instead connects to a web page that then allows the administrator to log on and access the session off the web page. This simplifies the access method for administrators. They can just set a browser favorite to link them to a URL that provides them Terminal Services access to the specific servers they need to manage.

Terminal Services Gateway

Terminal Services Gateway (TS Gateway) is a new addition to Windows 2008 Terminal Services and provides the connectivity to a Terminal Services session over a standard port 443 SSL connection. In the past, administrators could only connect to Windows Terminal Services using a proprietary port 3389 connection. Unfortunately, most organizations block nonstandard port connections for security purposes, and therefore if an administrator was connected to an Internet connection at a hotel, airport, coffee shop, or other location that blocked nonstandard ports, the administrator could not access Terminal Services.

Now with TS Gateway, the remote connection to the TS Gateway goes over port 443, just like surfing a secure web page. This provides better support for a remote administrator working from home or remotely who needs access to a server for remote administration.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020