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I use VMWare Workstation as my virtualisation application, however, everyone really belives as RDP being the ultimate way to connect to a VM due to speed.

What makes RDP so great? Also, I remember seeing an advert on this site about an RDP alternative with up to a 20x speed increase. Anyone remember the url?


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The reason RDP is great is the following:

  • 32-bit color support. 8-, 15-, 16-, and 24-bit color are also supported.
  • 128-bit encryption
  • File System Redirection
  • Printer Redirection
  • Local Port Redirection for serial and parallel ports
  • Improved bandwidth tuning for RDP clients depending on current connection.

Summary: RDP (kind-of) gracefully degrades the amount of data sent to the terminal while providing encryption and access to the local ports.

You'll notice that if you're on a slow connection the RDP session will downgrade the color support and stop rendering extra's like the wallpaper.

While VMware can do alot of this, RDP is accessible from almost any machine without installing any other software or controls.

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RDP is faster than admin console due to better compression and provides an encrypted means to connect to a Windows host. However, seeing as you're using Workstation on a local computer[as opposed to over a network], the benefits are most likely negligible.

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When I run a VM in workstation, I access it from the console. It gives me a better "local" experience than accessing it through RDP.

For our servers running on ESX, I generally hit them with RDP. But mostly because I don't need the local experience with them. Loading the VI client, and then opening the console there, rather than running straight up RDP takes a lot longer to actually get in and running with. However, our LAN is robust enough that the console view (once the VMTools are installed), does give a better user experience. Also if I'm working with several server VMs at once, then I'll probably use the console view, since I've generally got the VI Client running already.

If I'm running over VPN, then I'll avoid the VI Console as much as possible, and try to stick with RDP. It has better compression, selectable visual features, etc. When you're bandwidth limited, then it offers the better experience.

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I'm running a Windows XP workstation in VMWare Workstation that I use to do various administrative tasks. The host OS is Linux. I've found RDP to be very good for my needs. It allows me to precisely define how much screen real-estate I want to give that window, rather than rely upon the built in VESA resolutions. I also find the lack of headers, footers, and frames to improve how much screen I can use in that VM without scrolling. RDP has sound passthrough, even on Linux, so I can watch flash video on it just fine when it isn't working so good on Linux (still a far too common occurrence).

I don't use Unity mode because it's still not that great in this OS, though it could do a lot of what I need.

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