The Cloud on Your Terms Part 6 of 30: What Cloud Goodies Can I Find in Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1

imageIf you have been running Windows Server 2008 R2 (W2K8R2) you may have upgraded to SP1.  You may have not know why you did, but just saw it as an update and installed it.  Or maybe you are one of many that waited to deploy W2K8R2 until SP1.  In either case you might not know what you don’t know.  There were a few big improvements in SP1 and you can find them here: Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1.   Specifically in the post I want to talk about 2 great enhancements to Hyper-V and Remote Desktop services that really provide some key components for virtualization.  Remember virtualization is a key component to a cloud and these two features can really help your cloud sing and have fantastic virtualization deployments.  These two features really add a huge amount of functionality to Windows Server 2008 R2 not only Hyper-V but also to the Remote Desktop Services (RDS):

  • Dynamic Memory
  • RemoteFX

Dynamic Memory 

Before talk about virtual memory, lets take a look to see if you have made any of these statements:

  • New virtual machines get 1GB of RAM [no matter what the VM is running]. I only give people more memory if they complain about performance”
  • “All VMs get 4GB of RAM [I have no idea what is happening with that memory] and no one complains”
  • “I take the minimum system requirements and add (insert one: 50%, 100%, 150%)”

If you made statements like those above then Dynamic memory is for you!  Dynamic memory allows you to allocate a range of memory for your virtual systems.  This allows your servers to grow and shrink within your range for the memory needs of your server.   You can even quickly set priority with memory weights so certain servers get memory before others.  Truly a great way to allow you to manage and make sure your servers are well fed.  More importantly Dynamic Memory will allow your servers to be properly utilized and resourced.    Especially with memory being the key factor for your running VM’s.  Dynamic Memory is going to allow you to have maximum density, without sacrificing performance and maintain consistent performance.  One of my good friends in Australia, Jeff Alexander did a great screencast taking a look a Dynamic Memory, check it out great video:



RemoteFX is a new key component to RDS and allows your enables the delivery of a full Windows user experience to a range of client devices including rich clients, thin clients, and ultrathin clients.   What does that mean “enable Windows user experience” anyway.  In a nutshell that means graphics and being using RemoteFX  allows delivers a rich user experience for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) by providing this ability in virtual machines:

  • a 3D virtual adapter
  • Intelligent codecs and
  • the ability to redirect USB devices

RemoteFX is integrated with the RDP protocol, which enables shared encryption, authentication, management, and device support. RemoteFX also delivers a rich user experience for session-based desktops and RemoteApp programs to a broad range of client devices. RemoteFX does have some requirements for your server hardware including a SLAT-enabled processor  and at least one GPU.   The GPU must have sufficient dedicated video memory that is separate from system memory.    Take a look at the list below for more documentation on the hardware requirements for RemoteFX.  If you want to take RemoteFX for a test drive, it is a two step process to enable it on your server:

  • rdsFirst you have to add the Core Services and RemoteFX under the Remote Desktop Virtualization Host section under the Remote Desktop Role services wizard.  This will most likely require a reboot of the server. See the screen to the right
  • Second you will have to add the RemoteFX Adapter the virtual machine you want to enable RemoteFX for more.  you can find this under the settings for your virtual machine. 

Now there is a ton more to do depending on how your are going to use RemoteFX. There are a quite a few documents to help you with your deployment, from this post: Documentation Available for Microsoft RemoteFX.  Here is the list for RemoteFX:

As I mentioned in part 1 we are going to be posting the series across 4 blogs: Brian Lewis, John Weston, Kevin Remde and myself. Let us know what you think of the posts and if you think of topic let us know!

If you happen to miss a part and want to get caught up. You can find all the parts of the series here: Cloud on Your Terms: 30 Days about the Cloud