TSX Session Broker

Roman Miklautz

TSX Session Broker is a feature integrated into XP/VS Server (Standard and Professional) that allows the system to take part in a load balanced Terminal Server farm based on Microsoft Session Directory (Windows Server 2003) or Session Broker (Windows Server 2008).

Usually only Windows Server 2003 Enterprise and Datacenter Editions can take part as a member in Session Directory / Session Broker!

With a TSX Session Broker enabled XP/VS Server also Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, Small Business Server 2003 and Server 2003 Standard systems will be able to join a Microsoft Session Directory / Session Broker farm.


- Fully compatible with the standard Microsoft RDP client. No additional / proprietary software needed on the client to make use of the load balancing functionality

- Multiple Terminal Server farms in the same local network

- Session reconnect of previously disconnected sessions

- Load balancing based on DNS round robin


- The TSX Session Broker feature requires a XP/VS Standard or Professional license ( 51. XP/VS Server versions )

- XP/VS must be installed on any of the following operating systems:

  . Windows XP x86 Professional (SP3)
  . Windows XP x64 (SP1/SP2)
  . Windows Vista Business/Ultimate/Enterprise (SP1/SP2)
  . Windows 7 Professional/Ultimate/Enterprise
  . Windows Server 2003 R2 SBS/Standard/Enterprise (SP1/SP2)
  . Windows Server 2008
  . Windows Server 2008 R2

- Note ! Not supported in Windows 8/8.1/10/11  nor Windows Server 2012 (R2)/2016/2019/2022

- The computer where XP/VS is installed must be joined to a Windows Server Domain !

Please note that you do also need a Windows 2003/2008/2008-R2 Server with the session directory/broker service enabled and running.
The session directory/broker services are included in all Windows Server 2003/2008/2008-R2 Editions (even Small Business Editions).


1a) If you are using a Windows 2003 Server with Session Directory:

- Open "Services" from "Administrative Tools" and locate the service called "Terminal Services Session Directory"
- Set the "Startup type" of this service to "Automatic" and start it.

1b) If you are using a Windows 2008/2008-R2 Server with Session Broker:

- Open the Server Manager and install the TS Session Broker Role Service from the Terminal Services Roles

2) Define which member servers are allowed to join your Session Directory/Broker

In order to allow a Terminal Server to join a Session Directory or Session Broker you have to add the computer to a local group called "Session Directory Computers". This local user group is basically used to define a list of Terminal Server computers that can join Session Broker/Directory.

On the Windows Server computer running the Session Directory or Session Broker service:

- Open "Local Users and Groups"
- Locate the group called "Session Directory Computers"
- Add all participating XP/VS Terminal Server Computers to this group

3) Join all required XP/VS Terminal Servers

On each single XP/VS Terminal Server that will participate in the Session Directory / Session Broker:

- Open Thinstuff XP/VS Terminal Server Administrator
- Select "Session Directory Configuration ..." from the Options menu
- Activate the checkbox "Join a TS Session Directory or TS Session Broker"
- Enter the name of the Windows Server 2003/2008 computer running the Session Directory / Session Broker service
- Enter a common name for your farm/cluster (e.g. "myfarm1").
  Unless you know what you're doing please enter exactly the same string on all your XP/VS Terminal Servers!

4) Load Balancing

If you want to use Round robin DNS load balancing:

- Add the farm name (e.g. "myfarm1") as a second hostname (A entry) for each XP/VS Terminal Server participating in the load balanced Terminal Server farm
- Don't forget that the Remote Desktop Clients must be configured to connect to this farm name (e.g. "myfarm1") instead of connecting to a hostname or IP address of a specific Terminal Server!



- Connect with your RDP Client to the farm name (e.g. "myfarm1") instead of connecting to a hostname or IP address of a specific Terminal Server.

- Because of DNS round robin the Remote Desktop Clients will get distributed equally among the member servers.

- On Logon the XP/VS Terminal Server will consult the Session Directory or Session Broker server to determine if there is an existing disconnected RDP session for that user

- Depending on the result of that query the XP/VS terminal Server will either accept the connection or redirect the RDP client to the server running the previously disconnected RDP session.

- The XP/VS Terminal Servers will automatically update the sessions' states (connected, disconnected, deleted) on the Session Directory / Session Broker.

Tags: Load Balancing, multiple sessions, rdp farm, round robin, sessionbroker, Session Directory, Terminal Server, TSX Session Broker