Explaining Microsoft RemoteFX

Explaining Microsoft RemoteFX

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Hi, my name is Max Herrmann, and I am part of the Windows Server Remote Desktop Services marketing team at Microsoft. Two years ago, Microsoft acquired Calista Technologies where I came from – a startup that set out to create technology that allows remote workers to enjoy the same rich user experience over a network as with a locally executing desktop. This experience includes full-fidelity video with 100% coverage for all media types and highly-synchronized audio, rich media support including Silverlight and 3D graphics, and of course Windows Aero. Today, Microsoft announced  during its Desktop Virtualization Hour that Microsoft RemoteFX, a platform feature being developed for Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 will bring a rich, connected user experience to the virtual desktop market. So what is RemoteFX, and how are Calista and RemoteFX related?


Just to be clear, RemoteFX is not a new standalone product from Microsoft. Rather, it describes a set of RDP technologies - most prominently graphics virtualization and the use of advanced codes - that are being added to Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1; these technologies are based on the IP that Microsoft acquired and continued to develop since acquiring Calista Technologies. So think of Microsoft RemoteFX as the ‘special sauce’ in Remote Desktop Services that users will be able to enjoy when they connect to their virtual and session-based desktops and applications over the network. With Microsoft RemoteFX, users will be able to work remotely in a Windows Aero desktop environment, watch full-motion video, enjoy Silverlight animations, and run 3D applications – all with the fidelity of a local-like performance when connecting over the LAN. Their desktops are actually hosted in the data center as part of a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) or a session virtualization environment (formerly known as Terminal Services). With RemoteFX, these users will be able to access their workspace via a standard RDP connection from a broad range of client devices – rich PCs, thin clients and very simple, low-cost devices.


Also today, we announced a collaboration agreement with Citrix, which will enable Citrix to integrate and use Microsoft RemoteFX within its XenDesktop suite of products and HDX. Microsoft RemoteFX is designed to integrate with partner solutions, and we expect solutions from Citrix and other partners to enable the fidelity of a RemoteFX-accelerated user experience for a broad range of environments.


With SP1 just now being announced (see Oliver's blog) but not available for a while, there will be many more details I will be able to share with you as we progress. This is just the beginning of an exciting time for centralized desktop computing and the benefits of the user experience enhancements that Microsoft RemoteFX will deliver for that architecture. Please stay tuned for great things to come, and check in on my blog every once in a while for the latest news. Meanwhile, I would encourage you to read up more on today’s announcements.


UPDATES: here are answers to your questions

Q: Will RemoteFx support also OpenGL hardware acceleration which is the 3D high level API used by professional applications like CAD systems or medical applications ?

A: RemoteFX will support certain OpenGL applications. However, as the development of RemoteFX is still ongoing, it is too early to provide any specifics at this point.


Q: Are you plan to introduce RemoteFX also for Windows 7 because their are many scenarios where the remote system is not a server but a high end workstation ?

A: RemoteFX has been designed as a Windows Server capability to support the growing demand for multi-user, media-rich centralized desktop environments. Windows 7 will be supported as a virtual guest OS under Hyper-V.



@mattspoon: Session virtualization, formerly known as Terminal Services, will also benefit from RemoteFX support in Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1

@fiddley: Windows 7 SP1 will have an updated RDP client to support RDP connections with RemoteFX. Unfortunately, it is too early for us to make any statements about future down level client support.

 @someone: With Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, RemoteFX will support both multi-user deployment scenarios in Remote Desktop Services: VDI and session virtualization (formerly known as Terminal Services). There will be an updated RDP client for end points.


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  • Will RemoteFx support also OpenGL hardware acceleration which is the 3D high level API used by professional applications like CAD systems or medical applications ?

  • Are you plan to introduce RemoteFX also for Windows 7 because their are many scenarios where the remote system is not a server but a high end workstation ?

  • "Windows 7 will be supported as a virtual guest OS under Hyper-V"

    What do you mean by that answer?

    I am right now developing a VDI-Solution with mostly Windows 7 guests, and i'd like to know if the Terminal Service in Win7 will also get RemoteFX support?

  • So will this support down level devices, such as RDP 5 & 6 based thin clients?

  • RemoteFX is a VDI only technology or it also works when connecting standard RDP client to RDP server?

  • Will RemoteFX solve the problem with DPI scaling in Windows Server 2008 R2 (DPI scaling doesn't work in RDP sessions) or change the way how DPI-Scaling works in RDP sessions?

  • So this will provide a better experience when I connect to a Windows 7 guest VM running in Hyper-V than what I do now, using the RDP client from another Windows 7 machine?


  • Ericom Software, a provider of Terminal Services and VDI solutions, plans to support Microsoft RemoteFX when it’s released by Microsoft, as it will complement Ericom Blaze RDP acceleration. Ericom Blaze accelerates RDP up to 25x and is ideal for remote users connecting over slow WANs who need to access graphics-rich content and applications.   RemoteFX delivers a premium user experience for LAN users accessing rich media content and 3D applications, from virtual and session-based desktops.

    The combination of RemoteFX and Blaze within PowerTerm WebConnect - Ericom's unified VDI and terminal services access solution will deliver the best user experience for all types of users and connections.

    Read more about Blaze and download a free evaluation at:



  • What about Flash?  I know Silverlight is Microsoft's baby, but a vast majority of the web runs on Flash.  Will that be accelerated with RemoteFX?

  • Does this also support DirectX?

  • Max, Thanks for the update. Does the Remote FX feature make sense on larger 4 and 8 socket servers?

  • May I ask you that whether the RemoteApp support Aero or not through RemoteFX? Thank You.

  • Any plans to support 7MC (i.e. softsled)?

  • Any ideas on licensing of the server? Does the RDP sessions directly correspond to number of terminal server sessions? Also considering the scenario where employees working from home, i feel there should not be a need for additional license for terminal service session. Since they won't be using the office PC where the client OS is installed.

  • Will RemoteFX be supported in RDS if the RDSH is virtualized under Hyper-V or does the RDSH need direct access to the GPU/accelerator?