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Configuring Virtual Display Adapters for Virtual Machines on a RemoteFX Server

This blog post describes the new Remote Desktop Services Windows PowerShell cmdlets, introduced in the Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 timeframe, that configure virtual display adapters for virtual machines on a RemoteFX-enabled RD Virtualization Host server.

For a given Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) host to be able to support many users and target the full range of possible client devices, each interacting with rich content, rendering needs to be performed by the GPU (graphics processing unit, sometimes referred to as a “graphics adapter”) on the server. RemoteFX uses a technology to share (virtualize) a single GPU between multiple virtual machines (VMs). It takes advantage of virtual GPUs on the host and advanced codecs to enable multi-user support for full-fidelity video, Silverlight, and 3D applications. More info about this can be found here.

The Remote Desktop Services Provider for Windows PowerShell provides the administrator with four new cmdlets that he or she can utilize to configure (add/remove/modify) the vGPU (synthetic 3D adapter) for one or more virtual machines on a RemoteFX-enabled RD Virtualization Host server. These Windows PowerShell cmdlets are briefly explained below. Note that these cmdlets can only be executed from an elevated Windows PowerShell command window (from any directory path) and the RemoteDesktopServices module needs to be loaded (‘import-module remotedesktopservices’) before executing any of these. Also, the VM needs to be shut down before adding a vGPU, removing a vGPU, or setting a vGPU configuration.

ADD-VGPU

  • Purpose: Adds a virtual display adapter to one or more virtual machines
  • Usage: Add-VGPU [-VirtualMachine] <VMName> [-Confirm] [-ShutDownVM]
  • Sample Usage: This cmdlet adds a virtual display adapter to the virtual machine 'uservm1' and shuts down the virtual machine if it is running.
    • Add-VGPU uservm1 –shutdownVM
  • To get more information about this cmdlet, type: get-help Add-VGPU -detailed

REMOVE-VGPU

  • Purpose: Removes a virtual display adapter from one or more virtual machines
  • Usage: Remove-VGPU [-VirtualMachine] <VMName> [-Confirm] [-ShutDownVM]
  • Sample Usage: This cmdlet removes virtual display adapters from all virtual machines on this host computer and shuts down any virtual machines that are running. Also displays status messages during this operation.
    • Remove-VGPU -VirtualMachine * -shutdownVM –verbose
  • · To get more information about this cmdlet, type: get-help Remove-VGPU -detailed

SET-VGPUCONFIGURATION

  • Purpose: Configures (MaxMonitors or MaxResolution) the virtual display adapter for one or more virtual machines, if the virtual display adapter is already added
  • Usage: Set-VGPUConfiguration [-VirtualMachine] <VMName> -MaxMonitors <NumMonitors> -MaxResolution <Resolution> [-Confirm] [-ShutDownVM]
    • NumMonitors represents the number of monitors that you want the virtual display adapter to support. It can be 1, 2, 3 or 4.
    • Resolution represents the maximum screen resolution that you want the virtual display adapter to support. It can be '1024*768', '1280*1024', '1600*1200', or '1920*1200'.
  • Sample Usage: This cmdlet sets the maximum screen resolution to 1,920 by 1,200 pixels for virtual machine 'VM1'. It shuts down the virtual machine if it is running.
    • set-VGPUConfiguration -VirtualMachine VM1 -MaxResolution 1920*1200 –ShutDownVM
  • To get more information about this cmdlet, type: get-help Set-VGPUConfiguration -detailed

GET-VGPUCONFIGURATION

  • Purpose: Retrieves the configuration (MaxMonitors and MaxResolution) of the virtual display adapter on one or more virtual machines, if the virtual display adapter is already added
  • Usage: Get-VGPUConfiguration [-VirtualMachine] <VMName>
  • Sample Usage: This cmdlet gets the virtual display adapter configuration for all virtual machines on this host computer.
    • get-VGPUConfiguration -VirtualMachine *
  • To get more information about this cmdlet, type: get-help Get-VGPUConfiguration -detailed

Source

Hardware Considerations for Microsoft RemoteFX

RemoteFX enables rich 3D experience in virtual desktop scenarios. Integrated into the Remote Desktop Virtualization Host role service, IT administrators can now provide 3D capabilities to thin clients, as well as to rich computer clients. This article provides the hardware considerations for both server and client computers when planning your RemoteFX deployment.

RemoteFX for RD Virtualization Host server hardware requirements

There are several hardware requirements that must be met when deploying a RemoteFX server:

  • SLAT-enabled processor – The processor in the RemoteFX server must support Second-Level Address Translation (SLAT). In virtualization scenarios, hardware-based SLAT support improves performance. On Intel processors, this is called Extended Page Tables (EPT), and on AMD processors, it is called Nested Page Tables (NPT).

  • GPU - At least one graphics processing unit (GPU) is required on the RemoteFX server. The GPU driver must support DirectX 9.0c and DirectX 10.0. If more than one GPU is installed in the RemoteFX server, the GPUs must be identical. The GPU must have sufficient dedicated video memory that is separate from system memory.

    Important
    For a list of GPUs that will work with RemoteFX in Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1, see this blog post (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=197416). The list of GPUs will grow and evolve for the final release of Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1. For a list of recommended GPU drivers, see this blog post (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=197417).
  • RemoteFX encoder - The RemoteFX encoder is optional and can be installed for additional scalability on the RemoteFX server. The hardware encoder card must be installed in an x4 speed PCI-express slot or greater.

  • Hyper-V – The Hyper-V hardware requirements must be supported on the server. The Hyper-V hardware requirements for Windows Server 2008 R2 are available on the Windows Server 2008 Technical Library (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=180919).

NOTE

Any GPUs with an XDDM driver must be disabled. This includes onboard management adapters used for KVM over IP. For Windows Server 2008 R2 during SP1 Beta, the onboard adapter must be disabled in the BIOS.

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Remote Desktop Protocol Performance Improvements in Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 white paper

With the growing trend toward desktop virtualization, it is Microsoft’s goal to provide enterprises with a flexible model for centralized computing, whereby the broadest range of client devices can help securely access company data and applications from any location on the network.

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.

With the release of the Windows Server® 2008 R2 and Windows® 7 operating systems, RDP 7.0 is even more feature-rich than its predecessors—enabling new remoting functionality such as accelerated bitmap rendering, multi-media redirection streaming, and network topology awareness. In short, RDP 7.0 is better able to support today’s ever increasingly complex and rich multi-media environment.

To improve the user experience when connecting over high latency networks, RDP 7.0 added “client hint” functionality. “Client hint” can be enabled by using the Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) 7.0 client UI to set the connection speed on the Experience tab.

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The same setting can be configured via .rdp files by selecting WAN (10 Mbps or higher with high latency) or Satellite (2 Mbps–16 Mbps with high latency) with connection type:i:5 or connection type:i:3 respectively.

As these features become integrated into the enterprise environment, it is important to analyze and understand their impact on enterprises’ current network infrastructure and end-user experience. The Remote Desktop Protocol Performance Improvements in Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 white paper details RDP features and the potential for improvements to usability and the quality of the end-user remoting experience, as well as system deployment metrics.

Note: You should not interpret the performance characteristics presented in the white paper as benchmark measurements that all systems can support. Only empirical testing on the target system can provide an accurate benchmark of your specific scenario.


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Turning Remote Desktop on remotely

Here is a quick and simple way of enabling remote desktop on an Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2003 and 2008 machine remotely.

First off, if you are running local client firewalls the firewall rules needs to be changed to allow what we want!

Just connect to the remote machine with regedit (or use reg.exe from the command line if you want), browse to the following registry location:

HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Terminal Server

Locate the fDenyTSConnections and set it to 0 ( or create it if it's missing a DWORD entry).

Voila you are done! Now go access that machine or server via RDP!

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