March, 2011

  • Get Started with RemoteFX Deployment

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    This article is cross posted from my original post on PTS Official Blog

    Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) is getting momentum and more and more organizations are looking at VDI to provide Operating system environment to their users.

    One of the challenges that VDI is facing today is to be able to provide the same graphic experience of desktop Operating system as they have today on their physical PC.

    E.g:

    • Amazing Windows 7 Aero features
    • To be able to run 3D applications
    • Silverlight and Flash video etc.

    If you are following this blog and read my previous posts about features like RemoteFX and Dynamic Memory brought in by Service Pack 1 for Windows Server 2008 R2, you probably already know what is RemoteFX.

    Just to recap,

    " RemoteFX adds new capabilities to the Remote Desktop Services platform by delivering a full-fidelity Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and high-density, scalable, client-agnostic session virtualization capabilities, shifting delivery intelligence to host-based systems running RemoteFX. Through a new graphics payload purpose-built for RemoteFX and Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), the session virtualization platform is tightly integrated with the RDP protocol, which enables shared encryption, authentication, management, and local device support."

    In layman’s term, RemoteFX extends the capabilities of GPU on your server hardware into your Virtual Machines running Windows 7 so that you can get rich graphic capabilities which are on par of a physical desktop running Windows 7.

    It leverages the power of virtualized graphics resources and advanced codecs to recreate the fidelity of hardware-assisted graphics acceleration, including support for 3D content and Windows Aero, on a remote user’s device. This allows for a local-like, remote experience.

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    RemoteFX USB Device Redirection

    RemoteFX also provides awesome Device Redirection of Virtually any USB devices, some of the features are:

    • Redirects devices at the USB Request Block (URB) Level.
    • No client drivers necessary
    • One method that works with many devices
    • Only one session can use a USB device at a time
    • Optimized for the LAN

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    Microsoft has recently released bunch of documents on Remote FX deployment and I would like collate all these documentations right here for you.

    Before I take you through the documentations, let me touch briefly on the deployment guidelines of RemoteFX.

    • RemoteFX for VDI is targeted at new deployments, so your existing Server Hardware, processor, GPU and OS may not really work with RemoteFX. It requires latest hardware:
    • Processor supporting SLAT (Second Layer Address Translation)
    • PCI-E x16 based server motherboards
    • Compatible GPU on Server hardware , few compatible GPUs (not limited to) are listed here.

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    The RemoteFX encoder is optional and can be installed for additional scalability on the Microsoft® RemoteFX™ server,

    Latest Operating systems :

    Hyper- V Host

    • Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1 (Hyper-v, Standard, Enterprise, and DataCenter editions)

    VDI Virtual Machine

    • Windows 7 Enterprise with SP1
    • Windows 7 Ultimate with SP1

    Remote Client Device

    • Windows 7 with SP1
    • Devices with RDP 7.1

    Now lets review some of the great documentation released couple of weeks back about RemoteFX deployment.

    Microsoft RemoteFX for Remote Desktop Virtualization Host Capacity Planning Guide for Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1

    This white paper is intended as a guide for capacity planning of Microsoft RemoteFX in Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1. It describes the most relevant factors that influence the capacity of a given deployment, methodologies to evaluate capacity for specific deployments, and a set of experimental results for different combinations of usage scenarios and hardware configurations.

    Download

    Deploying Microsoft RemoteFX on a Single Remote Desktop Virtualization Host Server Step-by-Step Guide

    This step-by-step guide walks you through the process of setting up a working virtual desktop that uses RemoteFX and is accessible by using Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) in a test environment. Upon completion of this step-by-step guide, you will have a virtual desktop with RemoteFX that can be connected to by using Remote Desktop Connection. You can then test and verify this functionality by connecting to the virtual desktop from a client computer as a standard user.

    Download

    Deploying Microsoft RemoteFX for Virtual Desktop Pools Step-by-Step Guide.

    This step-by-step guide walks you through the process of setting up a working virtual desktop pool that uses RemoteFX in a test environment. Upon completion of this step-by-step guide, you will have a virtual desktop pool with RemoteFX that users can connect to by using RD Web Access.

    Download

    Deploying Microsoft RemoteFX for Personal Virtual Desktops Step-by-Step Guide

    This step-by-step guide walks you through the process of setting up a working personal virtual desktop that uses RemoteFX in a test environment.Upon completion of this step-by-step guide, you will have a personal virtual desktop with RemoteFX assigned to a user account that can connect by using RD Web Access. You can then test and verify this functionality by connecting to the personal virtual desktop from RD Web Access as a standard user.

    Download

    Configuring-USB-Device-Redirection-with-Microsoft-RemoteFX-Step-by-Step-Guide

    This step-by-step guide walks you through the process of setting up USB redirection with RemoteFX in a test environment. Upon completion of this step-by-step guide, you will have a personal virtual desktop with RemoteFX assigned to a user account that can connect by using RD Web Access.

    Download

    Microsoft RemoteFX for Session Virtualization: Architectural Overview

    This paper provides an architectural overview of RemoteFX in the context of session virtualization—using a new Windows Server role called the Remote Desktop Session Host (RD Session Host) designed specifically for modern session virtualization environments using Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1.

    Download

    Deploying Microsoft RemoteFX on a Remote Desktop Session Host Server Step-by-Step Guide

    This document walks you through the process of setting up a working Remote Desktop Session Host that uses RemoteFX and is accessible by using Remote Desktop Connection in a test environment.

    Download

    I believe these documentations provides enough information about best way of deploying RemoteFX, in case you need more information or clarifications, please feel free to reach me.

    Cheers.

    Iftekhar

  • Microsoft Management Summit 2011: Las Vegas Here I come.

    MMS 2011 Design

    Hello Everybody,

    This is again a part of year where Microsoft reaches out to all its customers, partners, IT Pros and developers through its back to back technical conferences with some great announcements, Technical Sessions and demonstrations of its latest and cutting edge products and solutions.

    Year 2011 will start with Microsoft Management Summit 2011 next week in Las Vegas, followed by TechEd North America 2011 in May and then Worldwide Partner Conference 2011 (WPC) in July.

    MMS 2011 too expected to be all about Private Cloud, Datacenter Automation and Virtualization Management. The products which I am really looking forward to at MMS this year is VMM 2012, Opalis and Service Manager

    I’ll be working at MMS 2011 in Las Vegas next week as a Microsoft Speaker and product specialist for Virtual Machine Manager 2012.  All you partners, customers and IT Pros, Virtualization enthusiasts who are interested in Next Gen capabilities of Virtual Machine Manager 2012 and learn how it helps creating and doing end to end management of Private Cloud can meet me at VMM Booth at Microsoft Pavilion.

    In addition to my booth duty, I am really looking forward to meet and present to and some of customers, partners whom I work with and discuss their Virtualization and Private Cloud Practice, also hanging out with some old friends and explore Vegas..

    Though MMS 2011 is completely sold out for general attendees but here are other options. http://www.mms-2011.com/registrationoverview

    For those who are not attending but would like to be updated with what's happening in Vegas, I am planning to do some heavy duty tweeting..

    See you in Las Vegas.

    Cheers,

    Iftekhar

  • What’s new with SP1 for VMM 2008 R2

    This article is cross posted from my post on PTS Official Blog

     

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    As you all know that SP1 for Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 just gone RTM adding two new virtualization capabilities: Dynamic Memory and RemoteFX

    Let’s first understand these capabilities in details.

    Dynamic Memory: An enhancement to Hyper-V R2, Dynamic Memory pools all the memory available on a physical host. Dynamic Memory then dynamically distributes available memory, as it is needed, to virtual machines running on that host. Then with Dynamic Memory Balancing, virtual machines will be able to receive new memory allocations, based on changes in workload, without a service interruption.

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    RemoteFX: Microsoft RemoteFX leverages the power of virtualized graphics resources and advanced codecs to recreate the fidelity of hardware-assisted graphics acceleration, including support for 3D content and Windows Aero, on a remote user’s device. This allows for a local-like, remote experience.

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    In the light of new features, service Pack 1 will also be released for VMM 2008 R2 to manage Dynamic Memory and RemoteFX on multiple Hyper V Servers from a single pane of glass.

    Lets understand the requirements on your Hyper V hosts and VMs to be able to manage by VMM 2008 R2.

    System Requirement for Manage Dynamic Memory:

    • Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 Host
    • Supported Operating System in the VM
    • Upgrade Integration Services in the VM

    RemoteFX Requirements on Hosts

    • CPU must support SLAT
    • One or more GPUs (Graphics Processing Units) that support DirectX 10
    • Enough GPU Memory available for max monitors and resolution
    • RemoteFX feature enabled under the Remote Desktop Services Role

    RemoteFX requirements on VMs

    • Supported Operating System in the VM
    • New Integration Services (part of Windows 7 SP1)
    • Can be combined with Dynamic Memory

    VMM 2008 R2 SP1 now has settings to manage Dynamic Memory setting of VMs which are as follows:

    • Startup Memory (8 to 65536 MB)
    • Maximum Memory (8 to 65536 MB)
    • Memory Buffer (0 to 95%)
    • Memory Priority
    • Normal, Low, High
    • Custom (0 – 10000)

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    To manage the RemoteFX , following settings have been added

    • Default Standard video adapter
    • New RemoteFX 3D video adapter
    • Maximum number of monitors: 1,2,3,4
    • Max monitor resolution
      • o 1024x768 (4 monitors max)
      • o 1280x1024 (4 monitors max)
      • o 1600x1200 (3 monitors max)
      • o 1920x1200 (2 monitors max)
    • Additional VM property
    • GPU ID (PowerShell only)

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    Since RemoteFX requires you to have SLAT CPU and specific GPU and available GPU memory, VMM 2008 R2 SP1 will also let you identify the following on the hosts.

    1. CPU Supports SLAT

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    2. GPU and available Memory

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    3. Intelligent Placement

    While creating a new VM or migrating a new VM from one host to another, VMM 2008 R2 SP1 added new check for Dynamic Memory and RemoteFX in the Intelligent placement.

    o Use Current Memory footprint for DM VMs on hosts: While doing the migration or creating new VM, VMM will check how much is the current memory the VM is running with, for E.g, you have specified startup memory as 1 GB and max memory as 6 GB but at the time of migration the VM is running at 2 GB memory. In that case, VMM will check if the other host has at least 2 GB free memory to be able to migrate this VM.

    o Check for GPU-compatibility when migrating RemoteFX VMs : While migrating a RemoteFX based VM, VMM 2008 R2 checks if identical GPU is available on the other hosts with required memory, Remote FX should be enabled in RDS.

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    4. Updates to Performance and Resource Optimization

    PRO ties specific Operations Manager alerts to remediation actions in VMM, VMM moves a load-balance VMs in a cluster when CPU or Memory exceed a threshold. SP1 update to VMM PRO Pack a consider Current Memory utilization and not the fixed memory for DM VMs and matches it with the memory available on the other nodes.

    How do I upgrade from SCVMM 2008 R2 to SP1.

    Pretty simple, just 4 steps to upgrade

    • Backup VMM Database
    • Launch setup and follow the Upgrade Wizard
    • Repeat on each box [Console, Self-Service Web Server, Operations Manager Server]
    • Remove, then import new PRO Management Pack in Operations Manager
    • R2 Agents are supported in SP1, no need to re-deploy agents to Hosts and Library Servers
    • Upgrade the Integration components on all the VMs.

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    VMM 2008 R2 SP1 will take the virtualization management to a whole new level and is scheduled to be released within 30 days of SP1 released by the Windows Server Team. So we can expect it sometime next month.

    I hope this post was of some help for those who are expecting VMM to be able to manage Dynamic Memory and RemoteFX on multiple hosts from a single console instead of managing it locally using Hyper V manager on each box.

    If you have any further queries, please feel free to reach me

    Cheers

    Iftekhar