My company is looking at desktop virtualization, and are planning to move all of the desktop compute resources into the server room or data center, and provide users with thin clients for access.

In most cases, a simple VNC or Remote Desktop solution is adequate, but some users are running visualizations that require 3D capability--something that VNC and Remote Desktop cannot support.

Rather than making an exception and providing desktop machines for these users, complicating out rollout and future operations, we are considering adding servers with GPUs, and using HP's Remote Graphics to provide access from the thin client.

The demo version appears to work acceptably, but there is a bit of a learning curve, it's not clear how well it would work for multiple simultaneous sessions, and it's not clear if it would be a good solution to apply to non-3D sessions. If possible, as with the hardware, we want to deploy a single software solution instead of a mishmash.

If anyone has had experience managing a large installation of HP Remote Graphics, I would appreciate any feedback you can provide.

Edit: In particular, we're interested in feedback regarding:

  • User training
  • Performance/bandwidth utilization
  • Operational issues
  • Interoperability and integration
  • Security management
  • I don't know the current state-of-the-art, but for a long time, that sort of need has really been the best case for a powerful desktop machine. Having said that, since you've already demo-ed HP Remote Graphics, can you ask HP or your reseller for some account references for any customers doing what you're asking? Of course, asking here is also a good idea :-) – mfinni Dec 28 '10 at 3:38
  • Yes, we are asking for references, but would prefer to also receive unrelated and hopefully unbiased information from someone in the field actually using it. – Ryan Thompson Dec 28 '10 at 5:01

You are done. Bad decision hitting technical reality.

Powerful 3d is not something you will for quite some time be able to handle efficiently though a network and remote, especially not if you talk remote data center (local server room may work - there you can have loads of bandwidth gong to the clients).

Remote Desktop on 2008 R2 server with Sp1 (due in the next months) will allow some acceleration, but depending on what you call powerful 3d, that still wont work.

Thin clients are meant for "lower end" applications. Sometimes you can stretch it. For example, my company is using remote virtual workstations (Windows 7) on Hyper-V for real time financial trading (and we talk of running 3+ screens at 1600x1200 resolution showing real time financial updates all the time). This is pretty much as far as you get - we think of splitting presentation and trading and keep trading remote (terminal services published app), but charting local.

3d would really stretch it. As do complex animations. You will run into problems with encoding (using CPU), latency and bandwidth at some point.

You have the classical case here for real higher end workstations. Pushing these end points into thin clients for the sake of ease of management / deployment is building a house from the roof. It simply wont work. Technical reality.

  • Everything you are saying clearly applies to Remote Desktop, Terminal Server, and VNC, but are you also saying that you have tried the HP Remote Graphics solution and rejected it? – Ryan Thompson Dec 28 '10 at 7:39
  • No. Because at the end of the day HP is not magicians, you know. They dont change the laws of physics. – TomTom Dec 28 '10 at 8:21
  • So you have actually tried it or not? I've used their trial version, and it seems to work very well--bandwidth usage is far below other solutions, and quality seems acceptable. But a single deployment doesn't tell me much about actual operating conditions. That's why I'm looking for feedback from people who have deployed or looked into it specifically. – Ryan Thompson Dec 28 '10 at 10:20
  • if you haven't actually used it yet, the whitepaper is here: h20331.www2.hp.com/Hpsub/downloads/RGS_WP_April09.pdf – Ryan Thompson Dec 28 '10 at 10:26
  • Yeah - @TomTom, as I said in my comment above, I know what state-of-the-art was a few years back. I'm willing to be open to the idea that improvements can be made. – mfinni Dec 28 '10 at 16:19

You might want to check out spice - it supports remote graphics as in watching movies and flash videos remotely. afaik photoshop and autocad worked pretty well too.

RHEV comes with spice built in by the way.

  • It doesn't seem to support DirectX or OpenGL applications, which HP Remote Graphics does. Looks nice for the price, though. Will research it more, thanks! – Ryan Thompson Dec 28 '10 at 10:24

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