The evolution of RDP and what to expect from RemoteFX 2016

RemoteFX the cloud and virtual desktop infrastructure dominating business networks, remote access protocols have become an important consideration in recent times. Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) has been the popular communication protocol in remote networks, and there has been tremendous innovation in this segment. While RDP evolved into Remote FX, Citrix and VMware have come up with Citrix HDX and VMware PCoIP, respectively.

The history of RDP

RDP was developed by Microsoft to enable users to remotely access and control Windows desktops over a network. It enables administrators to remotely diagnose and resolve technical issues with client devices in the network. While the server that hosts all resources contains the RDP server software, the client systems should have the RDP client software to access the remote server. The server listens on port 3389 for TCP as well as UDP connections. RDP server software is a part of Windows Server operating systems. Remote Desktop Services was formerly known as Terminal Services, and the RDP client was called the Terminal Services client. The RDP client software is available for versions other than Windows such as Linux, OS X, Android, iOS, and UNIX. From Windows XP onward, Microsoft has included the RDP client software in the OS. The RDP server software was included beginning with Windows NT 4.0 Terminal Server Edition.

The RDP client supports 64,000 independent channels for data transmission. It enables administrators to encrypt data using 128-bit keys while allowing bandwidth reduction for low-speed networks. Other features include smart card authentication, multiple displays, resource sharing, and temporary disconnection without logging off. Although the RDP client delivers graphically-rich content, it also comes with certain limitations.

Citrix HDX

Citrix HDX is the proprietary communication protocol developed by Citrix. It was earlier called ICA. From XenDesktop 3.0, the protocol evolved into the HDX suite, offering a range of services including bandwidth control, browser acceleration, multimedia redirection, and a graphic-rich end user experience. Citrix HDX works on TCP but supports UDP as well. Citrix HDX 3D Pro is an enhanced version that delivers streaming high-end graphics. XenDesktop 5.5 came with enhancements to the Citrix HDX protocol. Built-in WAN acceleration technology was added to accelerate HDX traffic. HDX MediaStream then offered better flash redirection and end-to-end flow control. Mobile application access was improved in the later versions.

VMware PCoIP

VMware uses a separate communication protocol called PCoIP for its virtualization software, Horizon View. This proprietary protocol was developed by Teradici Corp. While other protocols rely mainly on TCP, PCoIP relies mostly on the UDP protocol. Another differentiator is that PCoIP uses the regular server CPU for bitmap encoding.

RemoteFX is evolving

To resolve low-performance issues on graphic-intensive applications, Microsoft released RemoteFX beginning with Windows Server 2008 R2. RemoteFX is an enhanced version of RDP. It supports both TCP and UDP connections. This protocol was further innovated in the Windows Server 2012 edition. It now offers features such as adaptive graphics and multi-touch support. With adaptive graphics, rendering is done on the host side and not on the client device. With its enhanced features and the popularity of Windows, Remote FX now has an edge over other communication protocols.


RemoteFX in Windows Server 2016 is a game changer

Microsoft is expected to release Windows Server 2016 in September. This edition comes with enhanced features for RemoteFX, including Generation 2 virtual machine support, 1 GB dedicated VRAM, 4K resolution, Open GL and Open CLI API support, and H.264/AVC codec investment. As RemoteFX is an included component in the Windows Server OS edition, organizations can take advantage of these features to efficiently manage VDI environments. With this update, RemoteFX becomes a game changer.

Challenges with RemoteFx

While RemoteFX is a great option for virtualization networks, deploying and configuring multiple components of Windows Server 2016 can be a challenge. You have to install and configure multiple components that demand a higher level of technical expertise. For instance, you should install the NLB component for load balancing and the Active Directory domain for role-based access. For application publishing, you need RemoteApp. When it comes to reporting and logging, as well as supporting iOS, Android and Chromebook, features are limited. Managing the infrastructure is challenging as well.

Parallels Remote Application Server (RAS) brings the best of both worlds

Parallels RAS is a comprehensive application delivery software that complements RemoteFX functionality. The tool is easy to deploy and use; with a simple wizard, you can set up the system within minutes. You only install a small .msi file, and most of the components can be set up directly from the machine that Parallels RAS is deployed on. Parallels RAS comes with printer redirection and load balancing components auto-configured by default. It offers customized reporting and logging features. Shadowing of Windows terminals and HTML5 access to applications is available at no extra cost. Parallels RAS supports a wide range of devices including Chromebook and Linux. Most importantly, Parallels RAS is significantly cost-effective. With a single tool, you can monitor and manage the entire infrastructure. Parallels RAS combined with Windows Server 2016 takes RemoteFX features to a new level.

So what are you waiting for? Click here to try Parallels RAS today for free!


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