Windows 7 SP1, the Evolution

Dynamic Memory and RemoteFX

The first major step in the evolution of Windows 7 is synonymous with the first service pack for the operating system. Customers should not in any way expect a release of the magnitude of Windows XP SP2, but the upgrade is cooking, although the company is not making any timeline dates public, not for Beta, RC or for RTM for that matter. However, so far, Microsoft did confirm two features which will be introduced by Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2: Dynamic Memory and RemoteFX, both impacting the company’s desktop virtualization stack.

Microsoft RemoteFX is a technology designed to make the user experience barriers between local desktops and virtual desktops in remote scenarios disappear, according to Max Herrmann, from the Windows Server Remote Desktop Services marketing team at Microsoft. In this regard, RemoteFX is the evolution of technology that Microsoft acquired from Calista Technologies, a couple of year back. The new SP1 features come with the promise that virtual desktops will offer support for Windows Aero, all media types, highly-synchronized audio, as well as for Silverlight and 3D graphics. Microsoft emphasized that RemoteFX was designed as a collection of Remote Desktop Services technologies, and not as a standalone product.

“Microsoft RemoteFX as the ‘special sauce’ in Remote Desktop Services that users will be able to enjoy when they connect to their virtual and session-based desktops and applications over the network. With Microsoft RemoteFX, users will be able to work remotely in a Windows Aero desktop environment, watch full-motion video, enjoy Silverlight animations, and run 3D applications – all with the fidelity of a local-like performance when connecting over the LAN. Their desktops are actually hosted in the data center as part of a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) or a session virtualization environment (formerly known as Terminal Services). With RemoteFX, these users will be able to access their workspace via a standard RDP connection from a broad range of client devices – rich PCs, thin clients and very simple, low-cost devices,” Herrmann explained.

Following the introduction of SP1, Hyper-V will be optimized to allow customers to leverage new levels of virtual machine density, through the new With Hyper-V Dynamic Memory feature, noted Jeff Woolsey, from the Windows Server team. According to Microsoft, Dynamic Memory was born from customer feedback. Microsoft received two requests for the evolution of Hyper-V with predilection, for the hypervisor to make use of physical memory not only efficiently but also dynamically while delivering as minimal an impact on performance as possible, and for performance and scalability capabilities to be consistent.

“Up to now, we’ve opted to err on the side of performance with excellent results. Now, customers are asking us to start moving that slider over to increase density and still minimize performance impact, so that’s what we’re doing,” Woolsey noted. “So, what is Dynamic Memory? At a high level, Hyper-V Dynamic Memory is a memory management enhancement for Hyper-V designed for production use that enables customers to achieve higher consolidation/VM density ratios. In my next blog, we’ll dive deep into Hyper-V Dynamic Memory…”

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