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RemoteFX and the exceptions to the “Law of Conservation of Misery”

Last November I staffed the HP RemoteFX booth demo at Microsoft TechEd in Berlin (Germany), in which we made a technology demonstration of our upcoming products and solutions for RemoteFX. I had the chance to talk with customers, partners and even competitors about the role of this new technology in the Desktop/Client Virtualization arena. There is definitely a lot of excitement in the market around this new technology that is finally being released today.


I had a professor who would often refer to the “Law of Conservation of Misery”, which simply stated means “the total amount of misery in a system is constant. This implies if something good happens, something equally bad will compensate it. And this strange law had proved true (and burdensome) in client virtualization environments where in order to deliver an anytime, anywhere, reliable, best managed desktop, it came at the expense of a relatively poor graphics experience. The graphics used to be compensated by using protocols that could do “multimedia redirection”: a technique where multimedia elements are sent in native formats to the client devices and then played locally. However the “misery” required that the thin client had the right features to render the multimedia which drove the requirements for a not-too-thin client.


Another way to do it is to render the graphics on the host side, compress them and send them down to the client, but the “misery” here is that this consumes additional computing power, therefore reducing the number of supported users per host in a desktop virtualization environment.


The law of conservation of misery that used to apply to client virtualization is now challenged with the Microsoft RemoteFX technology. It allows you to virtualize the GPU on the host side and also use the GPU’s computing power to do the rendering and compression of the graphics that are sent down to the client as fast as possible. But, what type of client? Any type of client able to run the new version of RDP 7.1, which means that even low-end ones will be able to do it. The end result? Client virtualization  users will have the opportunity to access rich media content and enjoy Windows in Aero mode, as well as to do VDI with high resolution, and with single, dual displays …and beyond. This explains why there is a lot of excitement in the market.


Obviously the GPU capabilities must exist on the server side, and HP has a very mature product that supports this feature since it was first introduced in 2008: the HP Workstation Blade. This is the HP flagship platform for RemoteFX. It is the only server system in the industry that supports desktop and server operating systems/hypervisors and that offers a broad range of factory-integrated and supported NVIDIA GPUs. It can be used in traditional dedicated-remote workstation environments and now as a host in graphics accelerated VDI environments.


In order to simplify the recipe to implement this cool technology, we are announcing the HP-Microsoft Client Virtualization Reference Architecture for up to 1000 users featuring RemoteFX. This is true client virtualization reference architecture in the sense that it incorporates not only VDI, but another very popular computing model: Session Virtualization (aka Server Based Computing). This architecture details two different solutions: one based on the HP ProLiant Workstation Blade ws460c G6, and another one based on the HP ProLiant DL370 G6

So, what does this mean? Basically, the “law of conservation of misery” does not apply to desktop virtualization anymore. Users can enjoy a rich graphics experience, and IT organizations are now able to satisfy the needs of the so-called desktop power users with VDI. And last, but not least important, HP is further differentiating itself from its competitors by paving the way for our customers willing to implement RemoteFX with our Reference Architectures, that take the cost, complexity and risk out of the equation.


Want to learn more? Visit our web page at

Derek | ‎02-23-2011 12:52 AM

RemoteFX is great, but who really wants to use RDP for enterprise VDI? ICA and PCoIP are much stronger contenders, and XenDesktop can do way more than just hosted VMs for VDI. So while I applaud MS for the technology, I doubt enterprise customers are going to switch to Hyper-V and RDP vs. more mainstream products such as XenDesktop on ESX/XenServer or VMware View.


Even if Citrix integrates RemoteFX into XenDesktop, people are stuck with Hyper-V which is very unappealing. For hosted desktop VMs the servers really need a TON of memory and so I hope the next generation workstation blades significantly scale up their memory capacity.

mdaguer | ‎02-24-2011 11:11 PM

Derek, thanks for reading and for the comments.

I am on board with that ICA and PCoIP are strong contenders, and that XenDesktop allows you to do more than VDI. However, I see the release of Service Pack 1, with RemoteFX and Dynamic Memory, as a clear sign that Microsoft is going to give a fight for Enterprise Customers. According to the major industry analysts, Hyper-V has  ~20% share in the virtualization market, which demonstrates it is strong contender.

In another hand, RDP combines client-side rendering capabilities (remember MMR?) with host-side rendering with RemoteFX in one single protocol, and this same protocol can be used in VDI and Session Virtualization environments. In other words, RemoteFX is not for VDI only.

The other great addition to Hyper-V is Dynamic Memory, that allows 40% more VM density than in R2, which means real cost savings and a smaller memory footprint requirement on the host side.

It is also important to remark that Microsoft partners with Citrix in order to provide enterprise-class client virtualization (not only VDI) features, and they recently announced HDX RichGraphics with RemoteFX, which will adress a very large range of access devices, servers and network conditions.

klaasl MS | ‎02-26-2011 04:14 AM

Here's three case studies that helps answer the question of why some customers have chosen RDP and Hyper-V for their desktop needs:


- Empire CLS

- Convergent Computing

- Sporton International


Cheers, k

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About the Author
Mauricio is senior product marketing/business development manager for Client Virtualization Solutions with HP and a passionate for this cool...

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