Citrix XenDesktop 7.5 Remote PC Access, HDX 3D Pro, and League of Legends and Diablo 3!
In the last several years there has been such a focus on getting to that lofty end-state of hosted desktop virtualization from the data center, that many forget to stop and think about how they can obtain real business value today! Case and point is the long forgotten option in the Flexcast model called Remote PC Access (Remote PC for short). With Remote PC, I can walk into any enterprise and tell them in less than a week they can be piloting remote access for their users with the best of breed remoting protocols! Don’t you think that is a compelling time to value conversation? Most brick-and-mortar enterprises (especially doing high end graphics) have physical PCs in every cubical or office! Why not use those PCs while working out how to get those resources hosted in the data center?
Everyone wants to be hosted from the data center! Be it Server Based Computing (RDS, XenApp), Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (Horizon View, MS VDI, XenDesktop), the new HP Moonshot Hosted Desktop Infrastructure (HDI), or even blade PCs. However, too often in focusing our efforts that direction we forget to stop and think about how we can shorten the time to value and get a real set of pilot users functioning today. If you’re not already in the know, allow me to introduce you to the power of FlexCast, Remote PC:
Below is a visual that shows how Remote PC uses Wake On LAN to boot the physical desktop or laptop:
As the diagram indicates, there’s very little infrastructure required to deploy Remote PC and start driving business value from a remote access perspective. In fact, we start most Proof of Concepts, and even small pilots with just two virtual machines: NetScaler Gateway VPX (virtual appliance), and XenDesktop/StoreFront Controller. That’s it! Granted, some components can be broken out for scalability and high availability down the road, but this is a stark difference to hosted desktop virtualization technologies.
Certainly if you have a distributed enterprise, Remote PC would never work, right? Actually, it does! We have numerous success stories where distributed PCs (across the WAN from the data center) are accessed remotely by field staff when mobile and outside the corporate network. My favorite part? It means you can finally ditch that antiquated VPN solution your users love to hate and start experiencing the power of the ICA/HDX remoting protocols!
But what about GPU intensive resources? My local (insert vendor here) rep has been telling me that I need those new wiz-bang Server GPUs in order to virtualize my applications! While I will agree, that is very true when you go to the hosted model, allow me to ask what you’re using today? Well, I have these brand new Dell Precision T3600 Workstations with 16GB RAM, SSDs, and Quadro 6000 cards that I’d have to replace with thin clients right?
Listen, I’m not telling you to ditch your plan for hosted desktops long-term. That’s a great strategy! But, what I recognize is that if your organization has already made a significant investment in its recent desktop refresh, you should plan to get the most use out of that resource until you get there! How to do that? Well, Citrix calls it HDX 3D Pro! Many people misunderstand that HDX 3D Pro is not just for server based remote graphics, but works with physical desktops (aka Remote PC) as well! In the bottom of this post, I’ve provided a gaming video, just for fun to show what to expect.
Now, obviously there are a lot of potential caveats to what I’m saying. And, it may require a trusted consulting company or Citrix to get this all off the ground for you. However, if you’re willing to invest a little bit of time and resources, I can assure you, you will be glad you did! Now I just wish there was a consumer remote access capability that could offer the same Remote PC / HDX 3D Pro capabilities with the brokering layer as a service, I don’t know, GoToMyPC Elite or something?
Below are two videos that I captured just for fun running a popular games League of Legends and Diablo 3 from my physical desktop, remotely accessed from my Surface Pro 2. The graphics are cranked to the highest level to make use of my gaming video card. While this game does actually run natively on my Surface Pro 2, the graphics have to be cranked all the way down, and even then it overheats after about 10 minutes of use. With HDX 3D Pro and Remote PC, I have run for hours with no overheating as all the processing is being done from my tower PC! This workload shows consumer products use of a GPU, but obviously this same approach has been used by many of our enterprise customers for Adobe, Avid, Autodesk, Dassault, Siemens, PTC, you name it!
League of Legends Gameplay:
Diablo 3 Gameplay:
Remote PC Access video:
As always, if you have any questions, comments, or just want to leave feedback, please do so below. Thanks for reading!