Wrapping up “version 1” of Microsoft RemoteFX

Wrapping up “version 1” of Microsoft RemoteFX

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Hi, my name is Chandra Shekaran, and I am the general manager for Remote Desktop Virtualization at Microsoft. In January 2008, I blogged about a new acquisition that we had just completed at that time, the acquisition of Calista Technologies. And while we weren’t able to tell you then when Calista would be shipping and in what form, we knew one thing: When it shipped, it would change how the industry thinks about deploying and managing a modern Windows desktop. In addition, it would change the perception of those who thought that server-hosted desktops and a rich, local-like user experience from remote clients anywhere were incompatible paradigms.

Today, at TechEd Europe 2010 in Berlin, I am delighted to say that we have almost completed our mission by wrapping up “V1” of Microsoft RemoteFX, our new name for Calista: we released the Release Candidate build of Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 (SP1) late last month, of which RemoteFX is a key new feature.

With this release, Microsoft is enabling centralized Windows desktop deployments hosted by Hyper-V that can be accessed from anywhere by RemoteFX-powered clients to provide a rich, high-fidelity Windows user experience. RemoteFX supports scalable Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) deployments by tapping the power of graphics processing units (GPUs) through GPU virtualization. Hyper-V is the first hypervisor in the industry to support true multi-user GPU virtualization for VDI deployments.

The encoder and decoder aspects of RemoteFX are implementable in software or hardware, thereby providing opportunities for hardware partners to license the technology and add value. Server OEMs are showcasing the server models that support RemoteFX at TechEd Europe 2010. GPU vendors have already announced their active support for Remote FX, and thin client and system-on-a-chip vendors are showing their products that support RemoteFX. Over the last several months, Microsoft has released several overview guides and step-by-step guides for those of you who want to download and evaluate RemoteFX.

I want to take a moment and thank our teams at Microsoft and the Calista folks who are now part of the Remote Desktop Virtualization family, for the outstanding work they have done in integrating RemoteFX into Hyper-V and Remote Desktop Services in this release and for allowing our customers to deploy media-rich, virtual and session-based remote desktops while ensuring a full-fidelity, local-like user experience over the network.

Highlights from TechEd Europe 2010

But my appreciation reaches far beyond our own teams at Microsoft. In fact, those of you who have been following our RemoteFX blogs already know what an incredible amount of excitement and commitment we have seen from hardware and software partners since we acquired Calista to create the most compelling RemoteFX solutions for VDI and session virtualization. It’s impossible to do justice to every single partner in this one blog, and I wish to thank all of them for their support. While TechEd is in full swing in Berlin, I do want to mention some of the highlights that can be seen there as the result of our partners’ great work:

  • Yesterday, you could get a sneak peek of a first-of-its kind technology during the Brad Anderson keynote: HP has partnered with Texas Instruments (TI) for a technology demonstration of the power of future RemoteFX hardware-based thin clients. After the keynote, attendees were able to take the technology for a spin in the RemoteFX Pavilion at the HP demo area.  By the way, please also check out the awesome, PC-like performance of HP’s software implementation of RemoteFX with the Windows Embedded 7-based HP t5740e Flexible Series Thin Clients.
  • Citrix was also an important part of yesterday’s keynote demo. XenDesktop provides management services at scale for VDI deployments while its Branch repeater products accelerate RDP with RemoteFX. You can find Citrix’s description of the highlights of the demo, which leveraged XenDesktop to launch a RemoteFX connection, at Natalie’s blog here. In her blog, Natalie states that XenDesktop will support RemoteFX within a quarter of the general availability of Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1, which is great news.
  • Dell has posted a blog about the testing they have done with Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 on Dell hardware. Dell tested RemoteFX for VDI and session virtualization, and in their blog they also reported seeing up to 40% user density improvements with Dynamic Memory, another key feature in SP1. For more background on these user density improvements, please also check out Michael Kleef’s blog.
  • Ron from Texas Instruments has a blog on TI’s product to enable RemoteFX-supported thin clients; TI was the platform used in the HP thin client demonstrated at the keynote, so make sure you check out Ron’s blog for his thoughts.
  • Cloudium Systems is another RemoteFX licensee and is showing their first RemoteFX “zero client” at TechEd Europe 2010. According to Tommy’s blog, Cloudium Systems zero clients will provide customers with a high performance, low cost, low power consumption, and easy to use solution for RemoteFX.
  • Quest is one of the RemoteFX partners joining us again at TechEd Europe 2010. They provide a value added VDI solution on top of Remote Desktop Services and accelerate RDP with RemoteFX for use beyond LAN scenarios. Check out their blog as well as their demo in the RemoteFX partner pavilion.
  • Cisco is blogging about the testing they have done with the Cisco WAAS product for RDP 7.0 and RDP 7.1 (with RemoteFX) connections, focusing on the delivery of Windows 7 desktops over the WAN.
  • Riverbed is a WAN-accelerator vendor that is showcasing its upcoming support for RDP/RemoteFX acceleration. Check out their blog.

I hope this gives you a bit of a taste of the level of excitement and buzz around RemoteFX here at TechEd Europe in Berlin. We believe that in the future, RemoteFX will be extremely beneficial in allowing Microsoft to create a superior customer experience in other product areas, and we are just starting to imagine the potential. But today, the possibilities of desktop virtualization with RemoteFX is capturing people’s minds, so please stay tuned and come back here to read our blog every once in a while for more details about the latest product plans and accomplishments.

Chandra Shekaran
General Manager
Microsoft Remote Desktop Virtualization

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  • I wanted to take the opportunity to nominate our IPQ technology for a place on this RemoteFX Leaders list.  With Microsoft's encouragement, IPeak Networks reps have made several rounds at TechEd Europe 2010, taking meetings with most of the partners you mention, Chandra, and with many others as well.  Our IPQ-RC product has captured the interest of all those with an eye on the great leap outward to the WAN and beyond.  Like Cisco, we have done extensive tests of RDP 7.0 and RemoteFX under various network scenarios and with various rich media applications, both with and without our IPQ network optimization technology.  Like Riverbed, we are showcasing the outstanding results of that testing in a portfolio of reports and videos that can be downloaded at www.slideshare.com/ipeaknetworks.  Unlike either of Cisco or Riverbed, however, I think IPeak Networks may actually be unique in being able to offer our remote desktop optimization solution today--IPQ-RC is GA!

    So, we have to offer our thanks as well, to yourself and to all of  RDV team members that have helped us navigate our way into position.  And as exciting as it has been to this point, we know we ain't seen nothin' yet.

    Brett McAteer

    VP Marketing

    IPeak Networks

  • RemoteFX will certainly deliver improved performance of graphics content for LAN users. However, it may have some issues in a high latency/low bandwidth WAN environment. For slow WANs, organizations that want to enable access for remote users should seriously consider complementing it with Ericom Blaze, a software-based RDP acceleration and compression product. It accelerates RDP by up to 25x and is ideal for remote users connecting over slow WANs who need to access graphics-rich content and applications.

    Blaze works with any standard RDP host, including VDI, Terminal Servers and remote physical machines.

    Read more about Blaze and download a free evaluation at: www.ericom.com/ericom_blaze.asp

    Adam

    Adam

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