RemoteFX and Dynamic Memory Boost Windows Server 2008 R2
Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 adds RemoteFX and Dynamic Memory to enable high-performance workloads and increase data center VM density.Three-dimensional graphics, USB redirection, reduced network bandwidth when working with graphics-rich applications, and more flexible memory usage are all included in the first service pack for Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2. The muscular Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 is of special interest to IT desktop managers with strategic, high-performance desktop-virtualization projects on the drawing board, as well as system managers looking to improve existing virtual-server density in the data center.
RemoteFX and Dynamic Memory, both new features in the Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, take advantage of the changing data center and desktop terrain that places a primacy on 64-bit architecture. RemoteFX goes even further by using workstation-grade high-end graphics hardware to expand the envelop for desktop workloads that can be virtualized and run from the data center.
I employed RemoteFX USB redirection to use a USB flash drive and a USB headset on my test system. For IT managers who are evaluating virtual-desktop-infrastructure technologies, this is an important change and should be explored as an important advance in the Windows Hyper-V environment. As with rich graphics, the client system and the virtual machine host must be running SP1 to support USB redirection. First, I had to make a change to Group Policy in my test domain to enable RDP redirection of supported USB devices. On the desktop, I then forced the Group Policy update and then restarted the system with a Logitech telephone headset and a USB flash drive connected. During the Remote Desktop Connection process, I was presented with a configuration screen that allowed me to specify which USB devices should be available in the remote session. The devices worked as expected in my virtual desktop. Dynamic Memory To increase virtual-machine density and stay on par with industry advances, Microsoft added Dynamic Memory to SP1. The Dynamic Memory feature enabled me to pool the memory resources on my HP Z800 physical host and then create rules for that memory to be dynamically added and removed from my virtual machines. I first created a group of Windows Server 2003 R2 virtual systems. I then installed integration services on each of these VMs to enable the Dynamic Memory feature. For each system, I specified how much RAM each VM should be given at start-up-along with a maximum amount that could be used, given no other system constraints. I also specified a priority value for memory allocation when contention developed involving other VMs running on this physical server. When Dynamic Memory is enabled on a VM, new performance monitors are also available. IT managers will quickly become accustomed to checking these performance monitors, as Dynamic Configuration is still as much art as it is science. I made changes that affected the amount of memory assigned to my various VMs in accordance with the memory demand that was reported to me from the console and the memory status, which showed the amount of memory buffer available to my systems. IT managers should expect that it will take at least a week or more of careful monitoring to get initial levels correctly set.