Microsoft Remote Desktop Services is the new name for Terminal Services, one of the components of Microsoft Windows (both server and client versions) that allows a user to access applications and data on a remote computer over a network using the Remote Desktop Presentation (RDP) protocol.
Remote Desktop Services is a server role that has several consituent services, known as role services. These role services are:
• RD Session Host
• RD Web Access
• RD Licensing
• RD Gateway
• RD Connection Broker
• RD Virtualization Host
Remote Desktop Session Host (RD Session Host) is the new name for Terminal Server. This role service enables a server to host Windows-based programs or a full Windows desktop which can be presented to users using a remote presentation protocol.
Remote Desktop Web Access (RD Web Access), is the new name for Terminal Services (TS) Web Access. This role service enables users to access applications (RemoteApp) and desktops (Desktop Connection) from the 'Start' menu on a computer or through a Web browser.
Remote Desktop Licensing (RD Licensing), is the new name for Terminal Services (TS) Licensing. This role service manages the Remote Desktop Services client access licenses (RDS CALs) that are required for each device or user to connect to an RD Session Host server.
Remote Desktop Gateway (RD Gateway), is the new name for Terminal Services (TS) Gateway. This role service enables authorised users to remotely connect to resources on an internal network, from any device connected across the internet.
Remote Desktop Connection Broker (RD Connection Broker), is the new name for Terminal Services (TS) Session Broker. This role service provides session load balancing and session reconnection in a load balanced RD Session Host server farms.
RemoteApp provides a seamless view of server hosted applications to users, making it appear as the application is running on the user's device when in fact it is actually running on the Remote Desktop Session Host.
Desktop Connection provides a customized view of virtual desktops to users, allowing them to use the Remote Desktop Session Host desktop remotely from their computer.
Remote Desktop Virtualization Host (RD Virtualization Host) integrates with Hyper-V to host virtual machines and provide them to users as virtual desktops.
Remote Desktop Services was originally called Windows Terminal Services and is Microsoft's implementation of thinclient computing, where Windows applications and even the entire desktop can be made accessible to a client device remotely.
The client device requires an agent to conduct communication between the itself and the remote host running the Remote Desktop Service. This agent known as the Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) software uses the Remote Desktop Protocol to communicate with the host, which in turn sends updates to the RDC software on the user device with screen images from the host.
This gives the appearance the desktop is actually running on the user's device when it is in fact actually running on the Remote Desktop Services host, typically as server.
This is a barebone machine powerful enough to support the protocol such as Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs (FLP), which allows remote connectivity to hosts in much of the same as RDP provides for client devices running full operating systems.