Hi, my name is Max Herrmann and I am part of the Remote Desktop Services (RDS) marketing team. On Thursday, Microsoft hosted the Microsoft Desktop Virtualization Hour, a live online event where we talked about desktop virtualization, about VDI, and where we announced some important news. One of the news items, which I blogged about that day, was Microsoft RemoteFX – a key RDS platform capability designed to provide a media-rich, local-like user experience for virtual and session-based desktops and applications. RemoteFX, which will complement the traditional client-side rendering capabilities that RDP has provided for many years, takes advantage of virtual GPUs (graphics processing units, sometimes referred to as “graphics adapters”) on the host and advanced codecs to enable multi-user support for full-fidelity video, Silverlight and 3D applications, essentially any media content that exists today – plus any you can imagine for tomorrow. RemoteFX is designed to do that for a broad range of client devices including rich PCs, thin clients, and other, even simpler low-cost devices, leveraging hardware acceleration on the Hyper-V host to render rich 2D and 3D screen content for multiple users on the same host.
Another, related piece of news that day was that Microsoft and Citrix signed a collaboration agreement for RemoteFX which will enable Citrix to integrate and leverage RemoteFX technologies within its XenDesktop suite of products and HDX. As you already know, Remote Desktop Services partners are very important to our customers, our business and the entire RDS team. And so are the hardware and software partners – existing and new – that are planning to support RemoteFX when it becomes available. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that our RemoteFX engineers have been working relentlessly with many partner companies to ensure a formidable ecosystem of first-class user experience solutions using Microsoft RemoteFX hardware acceleration.
So what does that ecosystem look like, in particular on the hardware side? For an end-to-end RemoteFX scenario, the rendering and encoding of the screen content happens on the host, either in the GPU/CPU, or optionally with the assistance of an ASIC-based encoder that has the ability to offload the encoding from the processors. On the client end, the decoding may happen either in software or in hardware; hardware implementations could be ASIC-based decoder chips or systems on a chip (SoC) that have the potential to allow for much simpler, lower-cost form factors as the end point device. In short, from the server to the client, from GPUs to RemoteFX ASICs and client SoC’s, from hardware to software, customers should expect lots of great solutions from a number of great companies.
Today, I am very happy to confirm that the following hardware and software companies, among others, have engaged with us as RemoteFX partners with the goal to build a formidable ecosystem of first-class user experience solutions: AMD, AppliedMicro, Citrix, Cloudium Systems, Dell, DevonIT, HP, Nvidia, Quest, Texas Instruments, ThinLinx, Via, Wondermedia and Wyse.
Several of these companies have already come forward with their own RemoteFX announcements last Friday, one day after Microsoft RemoteFX was born: We have seen statements of planned support for RemoteFX from AppliedMicro, Citrix, DevonIT, Quest, ThinLinx, Via and Wyse. AMD expressed excitement about our RemoteFX announcement in one of their blogs, and in a Network World article, HP announced future support for Microsoft RemoteFX to enhance the user multimedia experience for their thin clients.
Jeff Groudan from HP commented that Microsoft’s recent announcements are consistent with HP’s ongoing efforts to simplify client virtualization, from the desktop-to-the-datacenter. “Integrating Microsoft RemoteFX enables future WES-based HP thin clients to deliver a richer, local-like user experience for Microsoft session-based desktop and virtual desktop infrastructure customers. By leveraging the power of virtualized graphics and advanced codecs, remote workers will be able to access any type of application or screen content, including rich media and 3D applications.”
I feel with these great companies on board, RemoteFX is heading into an exciting future. For more information on these RemoteFX partner companies, visit our RDS partner page. And if you want to learn more about RemoteFX, please check in often with my blog for more details as we continue to refine the technology for Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1.