Is there any solution that will you allow you to run GPU-accelerated OpenGL applications remotely, given:

  • The remote machine is a Microsoft Windows server
  • There is a 3D graphics card in the remote machine (e.g., NVIDIA, ATI)

In particular, is this possible over RDP using the Microsoft Remote desktop Client?

As far as I can tell Microsoft's RemoteFX technology only does 3D acceleration for DirectX, it doesn't 3D accelerate OpenGL. VirtualGL+VNC works for Linux, but there isn't a Windows port as far as I can tell.


Thinanywhere has an RDP plugin that they claim can use the GPU to accelerate OpenGL on the server.

In addition, Citrix recently released an add-on to XenApp 6.5 that does allow GPU sharing for OpenGL. They have supported Direct3D GPU sharing for a while (with the proper regkey set) on XenApp as well.

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Citrix XenDesktop supports GPU-accelerated OpenGL via the Citrix Receiver (universal thin client application) for Linux, OS X, Android and Windows and would support your use-case on the operating systems you mentioned.

The Microsoft equivalent, RemoteFX (on RDP), while it does support GPUs and OpenGL 1.1, is more limited on the operating systems supported. Unsure if you can use any standard Linux RDP client with it.

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  • You could do a couple things with XenDesktop. You could assign a physical desktop with the GPU to a user and they would have direct access to the GPU that way and, with the HDX license, would be able to do full DirectX/OpenGL. You could also add a hypervisor with GPU passthrough to assign the GPU to a virtual desktop. Again, have access to the GPU. Both of these solutions are limited to having only one user having access to the GPU at a time (unless you had multiple GPU's in the remote system). – Rex May 16 '13 at 15:11
  • I tried RemoteFX on RDP, but I could not confirm that it was actually accelerating the OpenGL 1.1. Subjectively, I couldn't tell a difference in performance, and querying OpenGL to get rendering info gave the same response as when not using RemoteFX. – Lorin Hochstein May 16 '13 at 15:48

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