In the minds of IT admins looking to enable a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) environment, Windows XP has by far been the preferred OS running in the VMs. However, with the arrival of Windows 7, IT admins have several important reasons, as outlined in this blog, to reconsider. In fact, an upcoming RDP Performance Whitepaper will provide a rich set of data to convince even the most skeptical critics that Windows 7, with its enhanced user experience, performance on the wire, and security outshines Windows XP as the virtualized guest OS of choice.
When users connect to a Windows 7 VM, the RDP7 protocol will be used to communicate between client and VM if RDP 7 or Remote Desktop Connection 7 (RDC7) client is used. RDC7 client is offered on variety of OSs, including XPSP3, Vista SP1 and Vista SP2 and the same client is part of the Windows 7 OS (see blog post for more details: Announcing the availability of Remote Desktop Connection 7.0 for Windows XP SP3, Windows Vista ... ).
When an RDP 7 client connects to a Windows 7 VM, it can take advantage of all the new features implemented in Windows 7. However, when the same RDP 7 client connects to a Windows XP VM, it will start talking the 9-year-old RDP 5.2 protocol.User Experience
To test the user experience improvements that the RDP 7 client provides when connecting to a Windows 7 guest VM, we picked the following scenarios:
Let’s examine the performance of the RDP 7 protocol compared to the RDP 5.2 protocol of the Windows XP era.
Windows 7 with RDP 7 takes remote session security to the next level. When connecting to a Windows XP VM, a connection will be created before security handshakes are finished:
Windows 7 VM with RDP 7 supports all of the functionality you need to keep your system more secure: user-server authentication, Single Sign On, and Network Layer Authentication.Administration
Windows 7 VMs are easier to deploy and administrate than Windows XP VMs.
The take-home message from this blog is simple: if you are considering deploying a VDI environment and you're after the best user experience, performance, security, and administration support, I recommend you use a device running the new RDC7 client connecting to Windows 7 as the desktop OS running in the virtual machines.
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