Microsoft yesterday announced the public test version of it’s Windows Thin C (WinTPC) for the public. WinTPC is a locked down or scaled down version of Microsoft Windows 7 which can be run on legacy computer systems. This can be taken as a successor of VDI to Microsoft Fundamentals of Legacy PC’s solution based on Windows XP with SP3. WinTPC solution is available for customers with Software Assurance licensing option in place. One cool thing is you don’t have to purchase VDI license if you want to try WinTPC method. You can try the public CTP version from Microsoft connect portal here.
In a way customer’s can repurpose their old hardware and increase the life cycle of hardware disposal. As per my point of view this is a good news for most of the Enterprise customers who don’t want to replace their desktop computers of users who’s primarily job won’t require high end or new processor power available in the market. (Eg: Banking tellers, cashier’s…etc)
Some of the additional benefits from technology point of view is support of the RemoteFX technology, which is coming with Windows 2008 R2 SP1. With RemoteFX technology combine users can experience rich graphics experience on WinTPC. This is yet to be tested and verified from my point of view but if things go smoothly, programs like CAD, basic graphic design programs can be run on the thin clients which can save significant amount of money to companies.
HP and Wyse Technologies are working on new thin-clients hardware to work with WinTPC and VDI solutions. Microsoft claims that older “Legacy” PC’s can be used with WinTPC instead of those hardware as well. More details can be found over here and here.
With the use of System Center Configuration Manager clients can deploy WinTPC to desktop PC’s and manage them centrally. I think considering the security standpoint of view this is very important as well.
Microsoft have announce the availability of the Windows Multipoint Server 2011 Beta last October. Though the news is little bit old I thought of sharing my 2 cents knowledge about it.
Microsoft mainly aims this product for the schools and training institutes which is designed primarily for the education market to help schools increase computing access to more students for a lower total cost. According to Microsoft this product benefit has been reaped by many training institutes, schools around the world, but claims businesses who wish to train staff on technologies could benefit too.
Currently this product is available in major languages and can be extended by adding Windows Server R2 language pack to support up to 32 languages! Each user will get Windows 7 experience in their own unique desktop.
Some of the key benefits of this products are,
- Separate user accounts for each user – This helps students to manage their project work separately. If necessary administrator can join the server to the Active Directory as well. This will allow more control using Group Policies.
- Easily share files, videos, and more with and between groups of students – Teachers will have great flexibility of sharing contents once (Document Library) and it appears on each students session automatically.
- Create private folders for each user to manage their work
- Watch videos or listen to music and podcasts without disturbing everyone else – Each session can have audio and video mange separately. This is pretty cool.
- Easily monitor and manage sessions – Teachers have total control of the students sessions and can monitor the each sessions individually. If necessary device connections and disconnections can be managed remotely.
Technical point of view you can plug as many as 10 monitors, keyboards & mice to single computer. Depending on usage of the system this number can be less. Microsoft have highlighted this in their general guidelines:
You don’t need any specialize hardware to use this product. Microsoft has introduce this product keeping in mind to reduce cost for schools so generic hardware work perfectly with the product. Multipoint server can be obtain though Microsoft Volume Licensing program and under Academic pricing.
After the main buzz of the server virtualization the next key thing in the industry is Desktop virtualization or else known as VDI. Some of the enterprise companies looking at this solution as a way to increase their hardware life cycle and for some it is a method to tightly control the access point for their central data access. Never the less this is a important technology for the Service partners as well.
To have a better idea of how to size this solution for customers using HYPER-V and Windows 2008 R2 connection broker Microsoft has released the new capacity planning document.
named as “Remote Desktop Virtualization host Capacity Planning in Windows Server 2008 R2”. You can get a copy of this article from here.