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Microsoft Puts Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 Online

TechNet, MSDN subscribers will have access to the shared computing solution this week, with general availability coming next week.

Microsoft said that it will have Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 available for download to TechNet and MSDN subscribers this week.

Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 offers a shared computing solution for classrooms, labs and libraries that consists of a server connecting multiple numbers of screens, keyboards and mice in a dumb terminal arrangement. Companies still must have the right licensing in place for applications used at the computing endpoints.

Microsoft released Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 to OEMs in early February, with products sporting the new server around April.

The company already has an "evaluation" version online, which can be upgraded to the full product by purchasing volume licensing. Meanwhile, Microsoft's volume licensing customers will be able to download Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 on March 1.

Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 will be available from Microsoft and its partners via open commercial, academic and OEM academic licensing. The server is offered in two editions. The "standard" edition supports up to 10 connected sessions, while the "premium" edition works with up to 20 connected sessions. There appears to be no academic licensing option available for the standard edition.

The actual number of connections available to a Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 deployment is limited based on the constraints of the hardware, Microsoft's blog suggests. Microsoft's Planning Guide describes three 64-bit hardware scenarios, based on the types of applications deployed: "productivity," "mixed" and "video intensive." The optimal server configuration for video-intensive apps appears to be a quad-core or eight-core CPU with 8 GB of RAM. Microsoft recommends using RemoteFX or equivalent Remote Desktop Protocol technology when running 15 to 20 remotely connected thin clients with full-motion video.

Premium edition users will get domain-join and Hyper-V virtualization capabilities, which aren't available in the standard edition. Only the premium edition can "be a Hyper-V host used to run virtual machines," according to the Deployment Guide. However, both editions "can be deployed as a guest operating system running on a Hyper-V host server," the guide explains.

Microsoft provides a list of the new server features here. The one feature favored most by teachers is "block all stations." It freezes all student screens to get their attention, according to a blog post by James Duffus, group program manager for Windows MultiPoint.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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