Desktop Replacement on LAN

Updated: March 23, 2011

Applies To: Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1

A LAN network is a high bandwidth (>10Mbps) and low latency (<20ms) network. Organizations typically invest in Remote Desktop Services infrastructure for desktop delivery over a LAN, to meet the following goals:

  • Centralize desktop environments for local access over the company’s high speed intranet. This enables desktops to be managed centrally in a data center or a few regional data centers.

  • Deliver new desktop environments. Organizations may use Remote Desktop Services to deliver a new desktop environment to clients that are unable or waiting to upgrade to a new operating system.

  • Rapid deployment of a new version of an individual workload. Organizations may use Remote Desktop Services to deliver a new application to clients. For example after a merger of two companies to deliver an application used by one company for the use of the combined company.

Design Decisions

Once the organization has decided to use Remote Desktop Services infrastructure for desktop delivery over the LAN, the organization must determine whether session-based or virtual desktop-based infrastructure will meet their needs. The key items that impact this decision are in the table below.

Design Decision RD Session Host Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

Can the application run on Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1?

Verify that the application can run on Windows Server 2008 R2. If not, use the Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT), available at, to verify if the application works in compatibility mode.

The application only runs on a client operating system.

Does the application cause problems in a multi-user server environment?

An RD Session Host server runs applications that have run separately on individual client operating systems/workstations together in a server environment. This requires that applications that will be delivered using RD Session Host co-exist and run in that environment without interfering with each other. The applications must also behave in a way that does not degrade their scalability and performance in this environment to the point that it is no longer cost effective.

The application does not work well in a multi-user environment.

Does the user require administrative rights on the machine?

In the RD Session Host server environment, that uses shared sessions; administrative rights cannot be granted to individual users.

The user requires administrative rights on the machine.

Does the user need to use local USB devices in the centralized desktop?

Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1 only supports USB device redirection using RemoteFX on RD Virtualization Host.

RD Session Host does not support USB redirection.

The user requires local USB devices be available in the centralized desktop.

Finally, when investing in a Remote Desktop Services infrastructure, organizations need to determine whether RemoteFX will deliver the experience their end users expect. The following requirements will help determine whether RemoteFX is applicable to the organizations environment.

  • Users expect the full rich Windows desktop application experience to be delivered. Organizations expect many applications including Multimedia, Silverlight, Flash applications work as well over a LAN connection to a centralized desktop compared to a local rich client. RemoteFX enables the efficient delivery of this rich multimedia and graphics experience over the LAN by providing a 3D virtual adaptor and intelligent codecs.

  • Users expect to use applications that need a GPU to be delivered. Users require DirectX or other 3D applications that use a GPU for efficient rendering. RemoteFX with RD Virtualization Host enables the usage of 3D graphics applications over the LAN.

  • Users expect a full rich Windows desktop device experience to be delivered. Organizations require all local devices including USB devices such as scanners, multi-function printers, webcams and more to be usable within the centralized desktop environment. RemoteFX for the RD Virtualization Host enables the usage of USB devices over the LAN.

  • Organizations expect the cost of end points accessing the centralizing the desktop environment to be lowered. In addition to the cost of the client end point device, this includes the cost of managing the end point device (cost of applying security updates, other software updates) and the cost of power for the end point device. RemoteFX for RD Virtualization Host, and RemoteFX for RD Session Host leverage the 3D virtual graphics adapter and intelligent codecs to deliver the best experience in a highly compressed form so that both rich clients and thin clients can deliver the full Windows experience. New ultra-thin clients that have the RemoteFX decoder hardware built in will provide an even lower cost option for end point devices and minimal maintenance (software updates).