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Matt McSpirit on Virtualisation, Management and Core Infrastructure

RDP Performance Improvements in Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7

RDP Performance Improvements in Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7

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Hat-tip to the RDS Team Blog for this one.

One of the biggest requests I’m hearing around RDS in 2008 R2 and Windows 7, is for RDP performance information and benchmarks.  For those interested, it’s a close call on requests for this information, or for RDS Sizing guidance.  The sizing guidance is coming soon, trust me!

So, back to the RDP Performance Improvements, to quote the RDS Team…

“As with Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server 2008 R2, virtual machine-based desktop virtualization faces increasing performance challenges when enterprises attempt to use this technology to support a globally distributed workforce. A key consideration of performance relates to Remote Desktop protocol efficiency which continues to present an issue for bandwidth constrained environments. This limitation can manifest itself by limiting the number of users who can access virtualized desktops (user density) over available bandwidth, and with a degraded user experience. Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) 7.0, similar to previous RDP versions, provides a competitive experience for low bandwidth (e.g. 56 Kbps) connections. After bandwidth requirements, network latency is the second fundamental challenge for customers and partners that wish to deploy virtualized desktops for a broad range of end-users and applications”

Very true indeed.  If you’d have said, 18 months ago, you can play a rich multimedia video over RDP, and it wouldn’t be jerky, out of sync etc, people would have laughed at you, yet that laughter would have been mostly based on older iterations of RDP, and it’s traditional, functional use within an infrastructure.  Fast forward to now, with RDP7, that kind of experience is a reality, but would I expect that level of rich experience over all connectivity types, fast and slow?  No, inevitably not.  As you’d expect, the experience would degrade, especially over the WAN, which could, as the paragraph above suggests, degrade the experience for others too.  Therefore, understanding the RDP protocol in the latest release is pivotal when evaluating an RDS infrastructure.

So, back to the whitepaper…

“With the release of the Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 operating systems, Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is more feature rich, enabling new presentation and remote-oriented functionality such as accelerated bitmap rendering, multi-media redirection streaming, and network topology awareness. As these features become integrated in the enterprise environment, it is important to analyze and understand their impact on your current network infrastructure and the end-user experience. This paper details the various RDP features and the potential improvements to usability and quality of the end-user remoting experience, as well as system deployment metrics. To test the impact of different features and compare RDP 7.0 to the previous RDP 6.1 version, we performed a variety of tests by using automated and simulation tools to demonstrate the user scenarios outlined in this white paper. These tests are broken down into two broad groups: a set that simulated a user working with actual Microsoft® Office applications at realistic speeds, and a set of multi-media scenarios that simulated a rich media environment commonly expected by today’s and tomorrow’s users.

To test the impact of different features and compare RDP 7.0 to the previous RDP 6.1 version, we performed a variety of tests by using automated and simulation tools to demonstrate the user scenarios outlined in this white paper. These tests are broken down into two broad groups: a set that simulated a user working with actual Microsoft® Office applications at realistic speeds, and a set of multi-media scenarios that simulated a rich media environment commonly expected by today’s and tomorrow’s users. In addition, some of the scenarios have been run at increased network latencies to demonstrate the viability of using RDP in distributed environments, such as in Branch offices or telecommuting scenarios where broadband capabilities exist”

There’s actually some very useful information in the whitepaper, particularly around what tweaks you could make to your user experience to optimise the bandwidth utilisation.  One thing I found useful, is the frame-rate achieved with Silverlight content, versus Flash, at different colour levels:

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I really didn’t know that!

This, and other useful bits of info, are available in the whitepaper.  Check it out now!



Comments
  • It's true that RDP 7 does provide improved user experience and performance compared to previous versions of RDP. However, it's possible to improve video and graphics performance even further (by about 2-5 times better than RDP 7 alone) with a solution called Ericom Blaze.

    Ericom Blaze is a software-based RDP acceleration AND compression product that provides a superior end-user experience over WAN and congested LANs. Besides delivering higher frame rates and reducing screen freezes and choppiness, Ericom Blaze accelerates RDP 7 performance by up to 2-5 times (and up to 10-25 times for earlier versions of RDP), while significantly reducing network bandwidth consumption over low-bandwidth/high latency connections.

    Also, don't forget that to get the benefit of RDP 7 you need to upgrade all your hosts to Windows Server 2008 R2. If you are not ready to do that, and still want performance improvements in RDP, you can still use Blaze.

    Ericom Blaze works with any standard RDP host, including VDI, Terminal Servers and remote physical machines.

    You can read more about Blaze and download a free evaluation at:

    http://www.ericom.com/ericom_blaze.asp?URL_ID=708

    Or view a video demo at:

    http://www.ericom.com/blaze_youtube.asp?URL_ID=708

    Adam

  • Great point Adam.

    Ericom provide great value add to Microsoft technologies such as TS, RDS, and around VDI, along with, as you rightly state, regular physical machines too.

    As you say, not everyone is ready for 2008 R2, and if that's not on the roadmap (or even if it is!), there are some great enhancements that Ericom provide.

    Matt

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