Microsoft outlines remote desktop improvements in Windows Server

RDS enhancements in Windows Server 2012 include improved performance over WANs and IT management simplifications

The new version of Windows Server will feature improvements in its hosting capabilities that end users can tap into remotely from a variety of client devices.

Windows Server 2012, which is in beta testing phase, will ship with enhancements to its Remote Desktop Services (RDS) component intended to improve RDS performance over WANs.

The product's RDS piece has also been re-worked to simplify the setup of session and virtual machine infrastructures as well as its administration, Microsoft said in a blog post.

The WAN performance improvements center on RemoteFX, a technology Microsoft introduced in Windows Server 2008 to improve the rendering of graphics, including videos and animation on client devices.

In Windows Server 2012, RemoteFX no longer uses a single codec for all graphics, applying instead specialized codecs for multimedia, images and text.

Also new is the ability to progressively render graphics, which should improve the experience in low-bandwidth or busy networks, as well as a new codec that cuts down bandwidth use by up to 90 percent for media content.

RemoteFX will also toggle between UDP (User Datagram Protocol) and TCP, based on what's best at any given point, and automatically detect the network and connect the client device to it, whereas before end users had to do that manually.

Other improvements include a simplified process for end users to find remote workspaces on Windows Server 2012 using only their e-mail address, as opposed to having to enter a long URL. In addition to IE, Remote Desktop Web Access will also work with Chrome, Firefox and Safari.

Also new is the support for touch-based commands, like pinch and zoom, between the client device and the host, in scenarios where the client device uses a touch interface, like tablets.

In the second area of improvement -- infrastructure simplification and cost reduction of deployments -- RDS in Windows Server 2012 features the ability to consolidate on a single virtual entity multiple virtual machines, allowing IT departments to provide a desktop to multiple users without having to maintain a full operating system for each.

In this scenario, which Microsoft calls "pooled virtual desktop collection," Windows Server 2012 will also have a feature called User Profile Disk, which, despite the consolidation of multiple devices on a single virtual entity, makes it possible for each user to have personal documents, settings and configurations.

Windows Server 2012 will also feature technology that gives each user a "fair share" of CPU, disk and network resources.

For the third area of improvement, IT management simplification, Windows Server 2012 will come with a single RDS management interface -- as opposed to several -- that lets administrators do a full RDS deployment, monitor it, configure options and manage all components and servers, according to Microsoft. The RDS management console is part of the product's Server Manager component.

Windows Server 2012 will also feature a setup wizard designed to simplify and automate RDS deployments.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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Juan Carlos Perez

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