Introducing Windows Multipoint Server 2010

How Microsoft is making the of dream Shared Resource Computing a reality.

Everyday it seems like there are more and more schemes emerging from the woodwork which are designed to allow users to share computing resources. Needless say, it was pointed out to me that Microsoft has just released a new product called Windows MultiPoint Server 2010 which is based on Windows Server 2008 R2 and designed to allow a number of users to simultaneously share access to a single PC workstation. Currently targeted towards the education sector, purchase of this product is limited to schools and educational institutions for usage within classrooms, labs, and libraries. With MultiPoint Server, Microsoft hopes that educators can offer access to up-to-date technology to students which can then serve as a companion to their learning experience.

To achieve this goal, you need to look at the primary cost benefit of using MultiPoint Server. After all, when using this product the number of PC workstations that need to be deployed into a classroom, lab, or library is significantly reduced. Instead a single PC workstation can be deployed. Devices called stations (up to ten) are then connected to the host PC running MultiPoint Server using a USB cable which then connects to a keyboard, mouse, and monitor. Using Remote Desktop Services, MultiPoint Server then shares out an instance of Windows 7 to each station such that each person can then independently control that instance.

Keep in mind. These instances of Window 7 have certain limitations. For example, there is no Aero (Glass), Windows Flip, Task Bar Previews, and no support for Windows Media Center. Furthermore, the instances are far from being mobile and the performance of all the sessions is limited to the resources that are associated with the host workstation. However, the MultiPoint Server solution does meet a number of needs for the education sector.

As with all technologies there is a catch phrase or acronym that is used to describe the solution. In this case, Microsoft has coined the term Shared Resource Computing (SRC). Not sure if they made that up or stole it from a 1970’s college book that talks about mainframes. But, I do think that this is a step in the right direction. After all, for certain environments the act of deploying individual PC workstations makes absolutely no sense at all. Just think of all the time, money, and resources that are wasted by IT shops trying to maintain a PC workstation deployment (It is insane!) In fact, the only time any type of individual personal computer should be deployed in most environments is either because the person using it needs the extra power (engineers, artists, researchers, etc.) or some mobile aspect that needs to be taken into consideration. Even then, these exceptions have solutions that allow some centralization of resources to take place if the user is willing or the IT shop grows a backbone and forces the correct solution. :>)

The point being… I hate personal computers and the only place for them is for personal usage (hence the name). I just can’t believe that we have taken so long to reach that conclusion in the IT arena and are just now demanding (on a mass scale) and receiving solutions that allow the centralization and standardization needed to effective handle IT operations within our environments.

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