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ID: DT11R00198
Version: NoMachine 7
Added on: 2020-12-16
Last update: 2020-12-17
Setting up highly available centralized access to remote physical desktops

This document is intended to provide general guidelines for understanding which NoMachine products and licenses are necessary to set-up highly available access from one centralized location to physical desktops on distributed server hosts, even geographically located in different places.



A NoMachine multi-server infrastructure is made up of a central server, called 'main server' or 'federation server' that allows federation and administration of other server hosts. It acts as a single point of access to a scalable number of server subsystems and can work in conjunction with a secondary central server (a two-server active/passive failover cluster) for high-available (HA) access.

NoMachine Cloud Server Build HA centralized access to federated servers
NoMachine Enterprise Desktop Support connections to the physical desktop of its host, can be federated under a Cloud Server
Any of the NoMachine Terminal Server products Support individual instances of the remote Linux desktop (virtual desktops), can be federated under a Cloud Server
Foreign X servers Unix-like stations not supported by NoMachine software, can be federated under a Cloud Server


Only NoMachine Cloud Server can be a federation server, i.e. has the capacity of federating other servers. It's available for Mac, Windows and Linux.

All the other NoMachine servers can work as standalone servers or can be federated under a Cloud Server. Foreign X servers, which can be also federated under a Cloud Server, are a particular case since they run unsupported Unix-based platforms for which NoMachine doesn't build native packages.

In this document we will see what is necessary to set-up centralized access to multiple NoMachine Enterprise Desktop installations and maintain high availability access to their remote physical desktops by means of a second Cloud Server, associated to the first one in an active/passive failover cluster. If the active Cloud Server fails, this second Cloud Server takes its place to grant business continuity.

A schematic diagram

This solution is suitable for medium/large business.



Pre-requisite to setting up a multi-server environment with HA centralized access to remote physical desktops:

1 NoMachine Cloud Server license for the main server host, Mac, Windows or Linux.

1 NoMachine Cloud Server license for the secondary server host (Mac, Windows or Linux) if you need to set-up the failover cluster for HA access (optional).

1 NoMachine Enterprise Desktop license for each of the servers hosts (Mac, Windows or Linux) to be federated under the Cloud Server.


On the end-user's computer install NoMachine Enterprise Client (which is free to use) or connect by the web via browser.


Minimum requirements

This scenario typically has installed:

  • 1 NoMachine Cloud Server on a Windows or Mac or Linux host (1 machine called "A").

  • 1 NoMachine Cloud Server on a Windows or Mac or Linux host (1 machine called "B").

  • 1 NoMachine Enterprise Desktop on a Windows or Mac or Linux host (1 machine called "C").


The NoMachine failover cluster is established between machine A and B. The active NoMachine server will provide access to the physical desktops of node C. Multiple concurrent connections to the same desktop are supported, users will share the same desktop (session collaboration). Terminal services (virtual instances of the remote desktop) are not supported.

You need 2 Cloud Servers to make a cluster: one server is the primary server, active and able to manage connections. The other server is the secondary server, passive and not operative. The secondary server becomes operative only when the primary server goes down and takes its place. A valid NoMachine license is necessary on both servers, since the secondary server is not shutdown but ready to replace the primary server in the case of failover.

You also need at least 1 Enterprise Desktop to give access to the physical desktop of the remote host. The solution is totally scalable in that further server hosts can be added at any moment.


Both the Cloud Server host and the remote server host can be either a physical computer or a virtual machine.


This diagram represents a centralized access to multiple physical desktops:

NoMachine Cloud Server provides a single point of access to the remote physical desktops on Windows, Mac or Linux. Users can be redirected to a specific server host.