During yesterday’s keynote at TechEd Berlin, Microsoft and Citrix completed the first live demo of Microsoft’s RemoteFX technology running with Citrix XenDesktop. For me, this has been a long time coming as I have been part of a team working on the joint solution since it was first announced at the beginning of the year. For those of you not in Berlin, I am sure you are wondering what exactly attendees got to see and maybe even what RemoteFX is.

First of all, RemoteFX and Citrix HDX are technologies that together deliver the best user experience for any application or desktop, on any device in any location. Customers can use HDX and RemoteFX together to deliver a virtual desktop to any user over any type of network connection. Citrix XenDesktop with HDX and Microsoft RemoteFX will:

  • Allow connected workers to access any type of screen content and rich media/ 3D applications
  • Increase user productivity with a full-fidelity user experience and wide ranging USB support
  • Always deliver the best end user experience over the LAN and WAN, for any access devices and network conditions

To illustrate the power of these technologies, we showed an example of how a contractor doing business analytics could use XenDesktop to present the information in a digestible format. To do this, we showed how he could bring graphics into the presentation and do full animations just like if he would on a traditional PC – previously, this type of workload would have required ample CPU power which would have limited the number of virtual desktop users on a single server. Consequently, the part that was most impressive was how we were able to show the CPU and GPU performance while this user was creating his presentation. In competitive solutions, the CPU does all the work to draw the screen. With RemoteFX we are able to utilize the GPU on the video card instead. This offloads work from the CPU allowing it to maximize efficiency for each of the different user workload requirements and most importantly, support more users per server than previously available. For enterprises that have been concerned about the scalability of desktop virtualization with users that have graphics requirements, this is the solution for you.

This joint solution is exciting because it continues to push our joint vision of a world where people can compute from anywhere and on any device forward. Citrix and Microsoft will continue to work together to ensure that users on a virtual desktops get the best possible experience. And it doesn’t stop there as partners, such as Dell, are testing solutions that leverage these capabilities to help our joint customers get the best possible experience with desktop virtualization. It is when this all comes together that we can truly say that we have enabled users to use the device of their choice while sitting in the location that best fits their lifestyle.

XenDesktop will support RemoteFX within a quarter of the general availability of Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1, of which RemoteFX is a key feature.