If you have a Direct3D based application that consumes a lot of CPU running on Windows Server 2003, consider hosting it on XenApp 5 for Windows Server 2008. The reason? Under WS08, Direct3D apps can take advantage of graphics processing hardware on the server to do the graphics rendering. As a result, you’ll likely find that you can provide better performance to your users and increase the number of concurrent users per server compared to using software rendering (see my earlier blog post). The one key limitation is that the apps must run in 16-bit (5-6-5) color mode (“High color”) since the solution does not currently support 24-bit or 32-bit color. Also, running on a hypervisor is not yet possible, until the hypervisor and graphics vendors introduce GPU virtualization technology.

DirectX hardware acceleration can be used together with the Progressive Display feature of HDX 3D. One customer recently commented that the bandwidth requirement to deliver a particular Direct3D graphics application with good performance using these technologies was 1.5 Mbps for the first user plus 0.5 Mbps for each successive user. This has made XenApp a very attractive platform for delivering the application to their remote users.

Derek Thorslund
Product Strategist, HDX Multimedia Virtualization