While we’ve blogged a lot about Microsoft RemoteFX and how virtual machines benefit from it in a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), we realized that we hadn’t always discussed it in detail in relation to Remote Desktop Session Host (RD Session Host). We’d like to use this opportunity to answer some questions about RemoteFX on RD Session Host servers running Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 (SP1).
Question: Does RemoteFX work on RD Session Host?
Answer: RemoteFX is a collection of features that enhance the user experience in Remote Desktop Services deployments. The advanced bitmap acceleration of RemoteFX works for VDI on Remote Desktop Virtualization Host (RD Virtualization Host) servers as well as for session delivery on RD Session Host servers running Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1. Other features of RemoteFX, specifically virtualization of graphics processing units (GPUs) and broad support for USB devices, are specific to virtual machine delivery through Remote Desktop Services in a VDI environment.
Q: What are the key benefits of using RemoteFX with RD Session Host?
A: Using RemoteFX on RD Session Host servers allows you to use RemoteFX enabled thin clients and zero clients to connect to the server. It also reduces the bandwidth required for displaying bitmap-intensive applications (such as Flash, Silverlight, and Windows Presentation Foundation applications) on a full desktop
Q: Do any features of RD Session Host not use RemoteFX?
A: RemoteApp programs do not use RemoteFX because they need drawing orders, so RemoteApp programs use Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) 7. No user action is required to use RDP 7 for RemoteApp programs. Also, Aero® “glass” remoting is disabled when using RemoteFX on RD Session Host servers. When RemoteFX codec is used on RD Session Host, the display driver is RDP’s XPDM driver, which does not support 3D rendering.
Q: Can I virtualize an RD Session Host server and use RemoteFX with it?
A: Yes, but this RD Session Host server will not virtualize the GPU of the server even if a GPU is present.
Q: Can a virtualized RD Session Host server use a GPU at all?
A: Yes. Windowed DirectX apps will still work on RD Session Host servers if a GPU is present; however, the GPU will not be virtualized in each session.
Q: How can I learn more about using RemoteFX on an RD Session Host server? How can I tell that it’s working? How do I configure the settings?
A: For answers to these and other related questions, see the Step-by-step guide to deploying RemoteFX on an RD Session Host server. For a complete list of all RemoteFX resources, see this blog entry.
Q: How can I evaluate Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1?
A: You can download a 180-day evaluation of Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, or, if you already have Windows Server 2008 R2, you can download the stand-alone SP1.