RemoteFX and Windows MultiPoint Server 2011

Technorati Tags: WMS,RemoteFX,RDP,MultiPoint

Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 (WMS) has an option to “Enable RemoteFX” under Server SettingsRemoteFX_01.

But what does that option actually do? And what IS RemoteFX anyway?

RemoteFX is technology that was included in Windows Server 2008 R2 that is designed to make virtual machines and remote sessions work better. When used with Windows 7 VDI sessions, and with the appropriate graphical hardware, it can leverage that hardware to create a virtual GPU for the VDI session. However, that isn’t something that WMS can take advantage of. However, another piece of the RemoteFX story is an improved codec for RDP sessions, and that is something that WMS can use. The RemoteFX codec is designed to handle video and mixed video and text better across RDP sessions than the native NScodec. When you enable RemoteFX under Server Settings, WMS switches from using the NScodec to using the RemoteFX codec for encoding content that is rendered on the server and sent over the wire via RDP.

To take advantage of it, however, your WMS station needs to be running RDP version 7.1, which means your client needs to be running Windows 7 SP1, Windows ThinPC, Windows 7 Embedded, or one of the third party RDP clients that are 7.1 compliant. I’ve enabled this on my WMS, and it definitely helps with streaming video to an RDP session. It won’t help to a zero USB client, unfortunately, but works well with my repurposed old laptop that is running Windows ThinPC.

Finally, if you have a lot of multimedia needs for WMS, and your physical layout allows it, I suggest using directly connected video for your client stations. This is the best video solution, and with a couple of modern video cards in your WMS server you can easily get 8-10 stations directly connected. If you need more stations than that, using RemoteFX and a client running an version 7.1 compliant RDP client will provide a quite acceptable experience.

(Thanks to Dean Paron at Microsoft for clarifying some key points around RemoteFX. Any errors are my mine, not his.)