Hyper-V Amigos Showcast Episode 14: RemoteFX & DDA

Carsten and I dove into our labs and played around with RemoteFX and Discrete Device Assignment in Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V and RDS. This resulted in the Hyper-V Amigos Showcast Episode 14: RemoteFX & DDA.

Some background on RemoteFX & DDA

I’ve discussed the new capabilities in previous blog posts such as https://blog.workinghardinit.work/?s=DDA&submit=Search  and RemoteFX and vGPU Improvements in Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V. But here the Hyper-V Amigos talk about it for your benefit and enjoyment. I for one know we had a ton of fun. Microsoft only VDI solutions are really taking off both on-premises and in Azure in cost conscious environments that still need good performance. I think we’ll see an uptake of such deployments as Microsoft has made some decisions and added some features to make this more feasible.

Hyper-V Amigos Showcast Episode 14: RemoteFX & DDA.

Click this link or the image below to watch Hyper-V Amigos Showcast Episode 14: RemoteFX & DDA


There’s a bit of a learning curve associated with using DDA in Windows Server 2016. You’ll have to get acquainted with how to do it and put it to the test in labs and POCs. Do this before you even start thinking about designing production ready solutions. Having a good understanding on how it works and behaves is paramount to success.


RemoteFX and vGPU Improvements in Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V

UPDATE 2015/11/23: RemoteFX works in Windows Server 2016 TPv4 and I’m successfully running OpenGL in a server VM with W2K16Tpv4 and a W2K16TPv4 host!


Let’s take a look at some of the RemoteFX and vGPU Improvements in Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V. For me the abilities they are adding in this release are significant and a break through. Why? They are talking away many of the last show stoppers for a number of scenarios that are important to the ecosystems I roam around in, when the CxO have a clue that is.

What are we looking at that’s new for Windows Server 2016?

The things that are breaking down the biggest showstoppers are:

  • OpenGL & OpenCL API Support (FINALLY!)
  • 1GB dedicated VRAM
  • 4K Resolution
  • Serverv VM Suppport (very important in our GIS environment actually) Generation 2 VM Support (YES!)
  • Improved performance
  • H.264/AVC codec investment

Now, I missed this initially but it was announced at Microsoft Ignite 2015 that RemoteFX will support generation 2 virtual machines and it allows us to still benefit form the future of virtual machines without losing RemoteFX. Until now generation 2 virtual machines were no compatible with RemoteFX.This was due to the Generation 2 virtual machines not having an emulated PCI bus, which RemoteFX needs until WIndows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1.

Generation 2 support combined with Server support in the virtual machine and OpenGL (ip to 4.4) /OpenCL (up to 1.1)  is a breakthrough, let’s hope the versions supported don’t spoil the party. I wonder if they can come up with a mechanism to upgrade support if OpenGL for newer versions that are released. But application compatibility was very limiting.

This is really great news and will make Hyper-V a far better candidate for many more scenarios than ever before.

Get your test rig set up

So it’s time to upgrade the lab server with a RemoteFX capable GPU to Windows Server 2016 TPv3 and test this.

I think some of our GIS engineers will be very happy with these new capabilities for ESRI Arc GIS, Adobe, AutoCAD, … and many more less well know specialty software they need.

If you want to test it out here’s the Experience guide for Enabling OpenGL Support for vGPU in Server 2016

So we set it all up but unfortunately there is still an issue being worked out at the moment of writing.


But I will help you get started for when it’s fixed.  Which I hope will be soon! To me it looks like they “just forgot” to activate RemoteFX for server as it look a lot like a Windows Server 2012 R2 VM where one tries to add a RemoteFX card, it just doesn’t work. Sale host with Windows 10 Enterprise does not have this issue …



So why not test with Windows 10? Well the OpenGL/CL capabilities are server only. And those are important to us!

Windows 2008 R2 SP1 – RemoteFX Hardware To Get The Needed GPU Performance

When the first information about RemoteFX in Windows 2008 R2 SP1 Beta became available a lot of people busy with VDI solutions found this pretty cool and good news. It’s is a very much needed addition in this arena. Now after that first happy reaction the question soon arises about how the host will provide all that GPU power to serve a rich GUI experience to those virtual machines. In VDI solutions you’re dealing with at least dozens and often hundreds of VM’s. It’s clear, when you think about it, that just the onboard GPU won’t hack it. And how many high performance GPU can you put into a server? Not many or not even none depending on the model. So where does the VDI hosts in a cluster get the GPU resources? Well there are some servers that can contain a lot of GPUs. But in most cases you just add GPU units to the rack which you attach to the supported server models. Such units exist for both rack servers and for blade servers. Dell has some info up on this over here here. The specs on the  the PowerEdge C410x, a 3U, external PCIe expansion chassis by DELL can be found following this link C410x. It’s just like with external DAS Disk bays. You can attach one or more 1U / 2U servers to a chassis with up to 16 GPUs. They also have solutions for blade servers. So that’s what building a RemoteFX enabled VDI farm will look like. Unlike some of the early pictures showing a huge server chassis in order to make room to stuff all those GPU’s cards the reality will be the use of one or more external GPU chassis, depending on the requirements.