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Updated: 1 hour 41 min ago

RDP and PCoIP graphics accelerated virtualization solutions

Thu, 12/07/2017 - 17:00

This blog post is authored by Ivan Mladenov, Senior Program Manager, RDS/WDG.

Once upon a time getting the content of a computer screen and putting it on the network for a remote access was done entirely in software. The CPU was solely responsible for making sure the app content is rendered, encoded into a video frame, and shipped over the network so a remote user on the other end of the wire can access their desktop and work remotely. The desktops evolution added graphics acceleration, but for a while accelerated graphics was not available to the remote users in a virtual environment. The remote desktop users were restricted to set of productivity applications that did not require GPU.

The advances in the GPU technologies in the past decades changed that. Graphics acceleration became available to desktops and high-end PCs so users can have spectacular gameplay experiences or increased productivity while using high-end computer-aided design applications. The prices for the gamers PCs and CAD workstations rocketed into the sky while more advanced GPUs with more cores and infinitely higher capabilities took over the market. Inevitably democratization of the GPU prices drove the cost down and the GPUs in the desktops became prevalent. Now every app on a modern desktop, laptop, or even a mobile phone can take advantage of a GPU acceleration.

GPU advances completely changed how apps are written and vastly improved the app experiences, however, apps running in virtualized environments were not able to benefit of the presence of a GPU as fast as their desktop counterparts. Many blog posts were written with instruction how to tune apps to run efficiently in virtualized environments. To ensure scalability and performance of the virtual machine many of these posts recommended turning off animations, transparency, clear type and other features that required GPU acceleration. This ultimately achieved the performance and scalability requirements but impaired the user experience. Virtualized apps provided sub-par, and sometimes quite painful, user experience when compared with the same app running on a desktop.

The evolution of the GPUs has advanced enough that a virtual machine can be configured to provide access to physical GPU capabilities to any virtualized application that needs access to an actual physical GPU. There are many different technologies and protocols that can do that, and most of them are already deployed in popular cloud services on Azure, AWS and other hosting providers. However, there are not very many articles that compare the virtualization, remoting, technologies, and protocols that take advantage of graphics acceleration. There are many good reasons for that; remoting technologies are complex to deploy, require quite a bit of knowledge in the space to successfully test, takes quite a bit of time to diligently prepare, properly measure and create a comprehensive report.

Thankfully two experts in the space decided to spend the time and effort to do just that. It has been quite a while since there was an article like that, but Benny Tritsch and Kristin Griffin did an excellent job of comparing two very popular and successful protocols that provide solutions to run virtualized graphics accelerated applications, RDP and PCoIP. Check out the results of their tests and view some of the recorded videos.

The article provides an exhaustive description of the testing methodology and illustrates the findings with text and videos. It does require familiarity with the used remoting technologies and the apps used in the test cases. It is a great illustration of two state of the art remoting technologies available today. The article goes into great details to argue the advantages of the compared protocols and solutions. The tests are done in lab environment with network simulator to isolate Internet unpredictability and create predictable and easy to replicate network conditions. A user can use the prescribed methodology and apps in cloud services like Azure or AWS and make conclusions for themselves in their own test environment.

Categories: , Microsoft

New Remote Desktop app for macOS available in the App Store

Tue, 11/28/2017 - 18:00

This post is authored by Eva Seydl, Program Manager, Remote Desktop Services.

It is time to hit refresh on the Remote Desktop (RD) experience for macOS. Download the next generation application in the App Store today to enjoy the new UI design, improvements in the look and feel of managing your connections, and new functionalities available in a remote session.

Use new device redirections in the remote session

When connecting to a PC or Server remotely you can redirect printers today into a remote session. With the new app the following additional devices can be enabled:

  • Redirect your local microphone
  • Redirect smart cards

Please note that you can’t use a redirected smart card to sign into your remote PC. The redirected smart card isn’t available until after you sign in.

Use macOS shortcuts in a remote session

You can now use the MacOS keyboard shortcuts to cut, copy, and paste in a remote session.

Leverage the new UI to manage and use multiple saved connections

Based on a lot of feedback from customers trying to manage a high number of connections in the previous release, we’ve made the following UI improvements:

  • Assign desktop connections to custom groups.
  • Easily identify active connections in the connection center.
  • Manage a single list of user accounts in the preferences of the app.
  • Store multiple entries of the same username with different passwords.
How to migrate connection data from Microsoft Remote Desktop 8.0?

Verify you have the latest version 8.0.43 installed to migrate your connection data.Next look for Microsoft Remote Desktop in the App Store to download the new application on your Mac running OS X Yosemite or higher. Once installed you can skip the first run experience. In the menu click connections and choose the option to import connections from the other app. Now you are set to use the new app.

Note: friendly names for the connections are not ported to the new app.

How to provide feedback?

Click Help > Recommend New Features in the apps menu to open the UserVoice forum where you can suggest new ideas. Use the opportunity to rate the app in the store.

Learn more about Remote Desktop Services and our other applications.

Categories: , Microsoft