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RemoteFX on Server 2012 - is a SLAT enabled CPU required if no physical GPU is installed?

    Question

  • It appears MSFT started to listen and improved the remote graphics on client machines with higher latency connections in Hyper-V; kudos.  The problem is, only in the most recent generation of servers did OEMs start including PCIe x16 / GPU support on the server mobo, and only in certain models.   

    Under 2008r2, RemoteFX required a CPU with EPT, and also a 'certified' GPU to function.  From what I can tell, 2012's RemoteFX / RemoteApp graphics enhancements do not require a GPU to be present in the server to achieve some of the benefits of 2012's remote functionality, such as enhanced graphics, and that 'RemoteFX' now refers to a suite of features of which only the vGPU actually requires a physical GPU; is that correct?  

    If so, in the absence of a physical GPU, is SLAT required? 

    For legacy servers that do not have a physical GPU, and also do not have SLAT enabled CPUs, will the enhanced RemoteFX / RemoteApp features in 2012 still function?  If so, what level of performance could one expect from 2012 on a non-SLAT enabled server?   Will it support basic functionality such as video streaming over a moderate to high latency network?

    Finally, what type of performance should one expect from more graphics intensive applications in a server without a physical GPU or SLAT?  

    Assuming sufficient resources are available, would the application server role be a more efficient means by which to deploy graphics intensive applications than within a VM itself? 

    In short, what I am trying to figure out is whether legacy hardware will deliver sufficiently user rich content in virtual sessions on a 'typical' SOHO network. 

    Btw - I read hardware considerations for RemoteFX, but per the 2012 RemoteFX 'sales pitch,' 2012 does not appear to require a physical GPU in the host for RemoteFX to work.  My preferred option is to deploy on a Poweredge 2900 III with 2x xeon L5420 & 24gb RAM (no PCIe x16 on the mobo, and no SLAT), or should I rebuild my workstation with a SLAT enabled chipset/mobo/ram ($$$) and the Quadro 4000 I already have and repurpose it into a dedicated host.  

    Sorry for the long thread, but these are all questions I couldn't find clear answers to and would probably benefit the next 'me' who is debating whether to upgrade legacy hardware running 2008r2 to a 2012 deployment.

    Thanks!


    • Edited by Kambot Sunday, January 20, 2013 4:21 AM clarification
    Saturday, January 19, 2013 10:29 PM

Answers

  • Hi Kambot Just sharing my test experience with you.

    I don’t have the luxury of buying new hardware and testing things out... I have only a test server with single xeon E5000 series CPU, on board GPU, but it should be well enough for session based desktops. So before heading into our IT environment assessment, I did a little POC test. As I said, result is discouraging...

    My configuration is based on windows 2012 default configurations.

    RDSB, RDGW,RDWA on the same VM, plus one RDSH VM.

    From LAN side (1GB) – logon speed ok. Office application ok. Watch video ok. 3D app bad.

    From our second site (1M link) – logon speed acceptable. Office application acceptable. Watch video jerk. 3D app bad.

    From WAN (firewall forward https to RDGW). everything is slow. Logon process takes about 2 mins. Mouse movement in desktop session is slow. Video, 3D impossible. Session stopped responding when playing videos.




    Sunday, February 03, 2013 4:26 AM
  • 1Mbps is just not enough for video even if there is pretty much nothing else on the line (RemoteFX will either redirect to the client or transcode to H.264).

    The L5420 CPU might be too slow for effective H.264 transcoding.  In my testing full-screen video uses 3GHz of an Ivy Bridge CPU roughly.

    Of course you need RDP 8 client on the desktop PCs to get any of the new RemoteFX stuff.

    (Just a thought - check for a duplex mismatch on your firewall.)
    Monday, February 04, 2013 2:46 PM
  • Hi Kambot,

    Do you have any other questions or concerns about this? If yes, please feel free to let us know.

    Regards,


    Please remember to click “Mark as Answer” on the post that helps you, and to click “Unmark as Answer” if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread.

    • Marked as answer by Kambot Thursday, March 07, 2013 6:45 PM
    Wednesday, February 20, 2013 12:05 PM

All replies

  • Hi,

    Thank you for your question.

    I am trying to involve someone familiar with this topic to further look at this issue. There might be some time delay. Appreciate your patience.

    Thank you for your understanding and support.

    Best Regards,

    Aiden

    If you have any feedback on our support, please click here


    Aiden Cao
    TechNet Community Support

    Wednesday, January 23, 2013 2:17 AM
    Moderator
  • Hi,

    To enable RemoteFX, and for it to function correctly, the following must be
    present:
    --DirectX 11 capable graphics card
    --Windows 2012 64-bit WDDM v1.20 driver
    --Remote Desktop Virtualization Host role service must be installed (to enable RemoteFX).
    --Enable the GPU for RemoteFX

    Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 RemoteFX required a GPU and drivers that support DX10 while,
    Windows Server 2012 RemoteFX requires a GPU and drivers that support DX11

    Due to this change video cards that worked with Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1
    RemoteFX may not work with Windows Server 2012 RemoteFX.

    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/windows-server/virtual-desktop-infrastructure-features.aspx

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/video/windows-server-2012-remote-desktop-services-with-remotefx-more-than-a-word.aspx

    Regards,


    Please remember to click “Mark as Answer” on the post that helps you, and to click “Unmark as Answer” if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread.

    Wednesday, January 23, 2013 9:11 AM
  • Hi Peterson Xiao;

    Thank you for the response; I haven't made it through the 2nd link yet, but I'll post a follow up and (re)mark as answered if my issue is covered in that discussion.

    I marked this unread because the first link provided has the very video (narrated by Mr. Daga) titled "RemoteFX" (15:57) that was the reason I started this thread in the first place.  In that video, starting at 5:28, he begins to discuss the new adaptive graphics & 3D features along with the hardware requirements for RemoteFX in Server 2012.  Paraphrasing at 5:45, in order to get a full 3D experience with the new windows 8 UI, you do not need a physical GPU in your VDI deployment anymore. 

    In 2008r2, you couldn't use RemoteFX without both present, no worries.  However, If Mr. D's position that RemoteFX is now a 'brand', and a physical GPU is no longer required in a VDI deployment, what do you 'get' when you don't have a physical GPU? 

    What about servers with neither a physical GPU or a CPU with SLAT? 

    I'm not trying to turn this into a discussion, I just want to know what to expect on different hardware configurations before I deploy.  Again, I'll review the 2nd link and I apologize in advance if this is covered in there.

    Thanks!!!

    Tuesday, January 29, 2013 5:48 AM
  • In Windows Server 2012, the following components were added to RemoteFX.

    • RemoteFX Adaptive Graphics: The RemoteFX graphics pipeline dynamically adapts to various runtime conditions, such as graphic content types, CPU and network bandwidth availability, and client rendering speed.
    • RemoteFX for WAN: a series of changes to the network transport pipeline to support UDP and ensure a fluid experience in both WAN and wireless network configurations.
    • RemoteFX Multi-Touch: supports remoting of gestures (e.g. pinch and zoom) between the client and host with up to 256 touch points
    • RemoteFX Media Redirection API: allows Voice over IP (VoIP) applications to natively integrate with RemoteFX, and enables transmission and rendering of audio and video content directly on the client side.
    • Choice of GPU: All RemoteFX features can be used with either a software-emulated GPU, which is available by default in all virtual machines and session hosts, or they can benefit from hardware acceleration when a physical video card is placed in the server and the RemoteFX vGPU is enabled

    In addition, the following components were updated:

    • RemoteFX vGPU: updated to support DirectX 11
    • RemoteFX USB Redirection: updated to support all desktop remoting scenarios vGPU-enabled virtual machines, traditional VMs, desktop sessions and physical desktop hosts
    • RemoteFX Codec: updated to include progressive rendering, which is more effective for rendering content over the WAN by sending images at full resolution only if bandwidth permits.



      So the RemoteFX features should work without a DirectX 11 GPU. Only with apps that need direct GPU access for DirectX 11 you would need a physical video card in the server and RemoteFX vGPU enabled.

    Note that any current DirectX 11 video card is supported (including  ATI and NVIDIA non-workstation/server class video cards)



    Requirements

    In Windows Server 2008 R2, the RemoteFX Codec could be leveraged for both session hosting (Remote Desktop Session Hosts) and VDI scenarios (and Remote Desktop Virtualization Hosts). The RemoteFX vGPU and RemoteFX USB Redirection features could only be used in VDI scenarios (Remote Desktop Virtualization Hosts).

    In Windows Server 2012, all features of RemoteFX (with the exception of the vGPU) can be used with or without a physical GPU present in the server.  used to hardware accelerate the graphics via the RemoteFX vGPU feature.

    RemoteFX vGPU Requirements

    The RemoteFX vGPU has the following requirements:

    • Hyper-V must be installed on the server. The VMs must be created and run using Hyper-V.
    • The server's CPU must support Second Level Address Translation (SLAT), and have it enabled.
    • For Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, at least one DirectX 9.0c and 10.0 capable graphics card must be installed on the server.
    • For Windows Server 2012, at least one DirectX 11.1 capable graphics card with a WDDM 1.2 driver must be installed on the server
    • A RemoteFX encoder ASIC may also be optionally installed to further accelerate encoding.

    Windows Server 2008 R2 with SP1 has been tested for up to 12 virtual machines per GPU, for a total of 24 virtual machines on two physical GPUs.

    Although any GPU meeting the above requirements will be capable of using RemoteFX, the Windows Server Catalog carries an additional qualification to further define the requirements for server-qualified GPUs. These specifications define GPUs configuration requirements and provide VM performance targets. Graphics cards that meet these are typically professional workstation products such as ATI/AMD's FirePro, v5800, v5900, v7800, v7900, v8800, v9800, and Nvidia's Quadro 2000, 3800, 4000, 4800, 5000, 5800, 6000, Quadro FX 2800M and 880M, QuadroPlex 7000 and Tesla M2070Q.

    Servers running the RemoteFX vGPU need to accommodate such graphics cards with either larger power supplies and more PCI-E slots or alternatively connect existing servers to an external PCIe expansion chassis.

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RemoteFX


    Danny van Dam, Citrix CCIA/CCEE Microsoft MCSE Server Infrastructure/MCSE Desktop Infrastructure/MCSA Server 2008, Cisco CCNA, VMware VCP 3/4/5 http://www.citrix-guru.com http://www.rds-support.eu




    Tuesday, January 29, 2013 9:11 AM
  • Danny, 

    This helps, thank you!!! 

    Only the vGPU requires a physical GPU (+ SLAT), so back to my original thread.  If you don’t have a physical GPU in your server you don’t get vGPU, understand.  

    Do you still need SLAT to use the other features of RemoteFX in Server 2012? These features include RemoteFX adaptive graphics, RemoteFX for WAN, RemoteFX Media & Redirection API, and  the RemoteFX Codec (unlikely) for rendering content over the WAN. 

    What I can’t figure out is whether only using the software GPU eliminates the need for SLAT in the host CPU all together. 

    Here’s my overly simplistic thinking (and I could be way off base here), but as I ‘understand’ it, SLAT solves issues when you abstract virtual from physical hardware.  I think that in both 2008r2 with RemoteFX enabled & 2012 using the vGPU, SLAT operates as the ‘middle man’ between the physical GPU and the VM.  This allows the VM to use its physical host’s resources.  In addition, I believe that in 2008r2, RemoteFX also used the GPU to compress data being streamed from the host / VM to clients and thereby reduced the bandwidth needed to deliver a feature rich user experience.

    That brings me back to the original questions; for server 2012, if MSFT removed the need for a physical GPU to deliver ‘basic’ feature rich 3D content over WAN using a software GPU, does the new software GPU still require a SLAT enabled processor?

    If not, (that’s a big IF), assuming 3D & media streaming content is a priority, what performs better on just the software GPU; a full Windows 8 VM, or the application server role with only the 3D application(s) installed?  

    Thanks again!!!

    Tuesday, January 29, 2013 9:56 PM
  • Hi,

    Please check below posts:

    http://www.aidanfinn.com/?p=12679

    http://sqlrows.blogspot.com/2012/08/remotefx-on-hyper-v-running-windows.html#.UQuQghuwpFo

    http://searchvirtualdesktop.techtarget.com/feature/Windows-Server-2012-tutorial-RDS-and-RemoteFX-updates

    Regards,


    Please remember to click “Mark as Answer” on the post that helps you, and to click “Unmark as Answer” if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread.

    Friday, February 01, 2013 9:55 AM
  • Kambot,

    I am in a similar situation.. I am currently testing windows 2012 RDS, I do not have a physical GPU, the test result is very discouraging.. the desktop session is really slow over the WAN, slow logon process.. slow office applications , it is impossible to watch any videos over the WAN.. 3D application? forget it... It's ok when connecting within LAN, but in my situation, most of our people are road worriers....

    • Edited by ohohoh Friday, February 01, 2013 10:37 AM
    Friday, February 01, 2013 10:30 AM
  • Do you still need SLAT to use the other features of RemoteFX in Server 2012? These features include RemoteFX adaptive graphics, RemoteFX for WAN, RemoteFX Media & Redirection API, and  the RemoteFX Codec (unlikely) for rendering content over the WAN. 

    SLAT is not required for enabling RemoteFX adaptive graphics, RemoteFX for WAN, etc.

    SLAT is only required when enabling RemoteFX vGPU on a Windows 7 SP1 Enterprise / Windows 8 Enterprise virtual machine.

    Friday, February 01, 2013 9:25 PM
  • Kambot,

    I am in a similar situation.. I am currently testing windows 2012 RDS, I do not have a physical GPU, the test result is very discouraging.. the desktop session is really slow over the WAN, slow logon process.. slow office applications , it is impossible to watch any videos over the WAN.. 3D application? forget it... It's ok when connecting within LAN, but in my situation, most of our people are road worriers....

    If possible could provide some more details on your environment and setup such as server specs, etc. Maybe we can help you diagnose what is happening and see if we can improve the experience.

    Friday, February 01, 2013 9:47 PM
  • I really appreciate everyone's help here; Thank you!

    To start, I have a Quadro 4000 that I intended to use but have not yet installed...more on that in a sec.

    I have two options for a host (today);

    1. Dell PE2900 III, dual xeon L5420s, 24gb ddr2 ECC FBDIMMs, PERC 6i with 3x250gb 7200 SATAII in Raid 5 (OS array) + 4x1tb 7200 SATAII in RAID 5 (storage array), Dual 1GB NICs + DRAC5 (100mb NIC dedicated, but can share with OS). Graphics is tricky since dell didn't start with PCI-e x16 until 12th gen, so it's onboard graphics, with one PCIe x8 - 8 lane available.  I bought a riser for it but haven't installed it b/c it won't work anyway (see below)

    2. 'Repurpose' a Dell precision 690, dual xeon 5160s, 16gb DDR2 ECC FBDimms, 3x73gb 15k SAS in Raid 0 (OS), & eSATA storage.  Right now it has dual quadro fx4500's in SLI but they don't support Dx 11.1.  1 x 1gb NC w/ option to add a dual/quad.

    Cisco RVS4000 router, & WRVS4400N as the AP, a few cisco unmanaged switches & Cat5e throughout...confirmed read/write through the wire at ~480-520mbps. 

    So here's the deal, I started down this path on 2008r2 & the PE 2900 and, not surprisingly, the end user experience left a little to be desired without RemoteFX, so I punted. 

    Then I downloaded 2012, I checked ark.intel.com (~3-4 months ago now) and at the time it listed both the 5160s & L5420s as supporting EPT...so I got all excited & picked up the quadro thinking RemoteFX all the way...by the time I got around to it, intel changed (i.e. corrected) the specs on the CPUs to show neither supported EPT.  Bummer! I've since learned that EPT wasn't introduced until Nehalem (or was it - check ark.intel.com on the 55xx/56xx - really intel?!? - FAIL!) 

    So I'm trying to figure out whether it's worth the time to try out the new software GPU in 2012 without EPT / RemoteFX, or (after reading ohohoh's post) just tear down the 690 & frankenstein together a T7500 with 55xx/56xx CPU ($$$) and try to do it 'right' with RemoteFX.  What are your thoughts?

    Again, thanks for the help, I really appreciate it!!!

    Saturday, February 02, 2013 6:14 AM
  • Hi Kambot Just sharing my test experience with you.

    I don’t have the luxury of buying new hardware and testing things out... I have only a test server with single xeon E5000 series CPU, on board GPU, but it should be well enough for session based desktops. So before heading into our IT environment assessment, I did a little POC test. As I said, result is discouraging...

    My configuration is based on windows 2012 default configurations.

    RDSB, RDGW,RDWA on the same VM, plus one RDSH VM.

    From LAN side (1GB) – logon speed ok. Office application ok. Watch video ok. 3D app bad.

    From our second site (1M link) – logon speed acceptable. Office application acceptable. Watch video jerk. 3D app bad.

    From WAN (firewall forward https to RDGW). everything is slow. Logon process takes about 2 mins. Mouse movement in desktop session is slow. Video, 3D impossible. Session stopped responding when playing videos.




    Sunday, February 03, 2013 4:26 AM
  • 1Mbps is just not enough for video even if there is pretty much nothing else on the line (RemoteFX will either redirect to the client or transcode to H.264).

    The L5420 CPU might be too slow for effective H.264 transcoding.  In my testing full-screen video uses 3GHz of an Ivy Bridge CPU roughly.

    Of course you need RDP 8 client on the desktop PCs to get any of the new RemoteFX stuff.

    (Just a thought - check for a duplex mismatch on your firewall.)
    Monday, February 04, 2013 2:46 PM
  • Hi Kambot,

    Do you have any other questions or concerns about this? If yes, please feel free to let us know.

    Regards,


    Please remember to click “Mark as Answer” on the post that helps you, and to click “Unmark as Answer” if a marked post does not actually answer your question. This can be beneficial to other community members reading the thread.

    • Marked as answer by Kambot Thursday, March 07, 2013 6:45 PM
    Wednesday, February 20, 2013 12:05 PM
  • Hi,

    To use RemoteFX I have following setting presents :
    --DirectX 11 capable graphics card
    --Windows 2012 64-bit WDDM v1.20 driver
    --Remote Desktop Virtualization Host role service must be installed (to enable RemoteFX).
    --Enable the GPU for RemoteFX

    I have added the RemoteFX 3d Video Adapter in Virtual Machine settings too.

    This is working fine when I am doing it on Windows 8 enterprise as a Virtual Machine Server .

    same is not working on Windows 2012 standard version as a virtual machine server.

    In device manager under display adapter it is not showing RemoteFX 3D Video Adapter.. it shows basic microsoft driver.

    can any one please suggest me what should I have to do??

    Thanks,

    Sharad


    Wednesday, April 10, 2013 5:38 AM