Microsoft launches Windows MultiPoint Server 2010

Microsoft said on Wednesday that it has made Windows MultiPoint Server 2010 available for purchase by schools and educational institutions around the world.

The idea of MultiPoint Server is that it will reduce the cost for many businesses and schools worldwide. The solution works by having a central point for one server to exist and multiple mice, keyboards, speakers and monitors attached to the one system. Each session provides a user with a unique Remote Desktop to the MultiPoint Server. The product is a brain child of Microsoft Research India. Microsoft officials demonstrated 16 monitors simultaneously playing 720P HD video using the processing power of one PC (an Intel Core i7 system) in 2009. Microsoft is aiming the shared resource computing technology primarily at schools but claims businesses who wish to train staff on technologies could benefit too. The cost savings are huge as each session would only require an additional monitor, keyboard, mouse and a user license to use the Remote Desktop session in MultiPoint.

Earlier this month, a beta build of the new server operating system leaked online for all to see. The build, named RC2, became available on popular file sharing networks and BitTorrent sites. Windows MultiPoint Server 2010 is built on top of Windows Server 2008 R2.

Microsoft faces stiff competition from Userful Corporation, the world leader in multiseat Linux desktop virtualization. Userful said on Tuesday that 30,000 schools worldwide have chosen Userful virtual desktops in the past seven years. Userful believes Microsoft will be playing catchup. "Another classic case of Linux vs. Windows, only this time Linux has the upper hand with Userful having already sold 750,000 seats," said a Userful spokesperson.

MultiPoint Server 2010 is available immediately, for more information see the MultiPoint site.

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21 Comments

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@pinTero
There is a company called DisplayLink who's software allows you to connect multiple monitors to your computer using USB. It says on their website that they are working with HP using MultiPoint server to connect many displays (using a USB-DVI adapter) , keyboard and mice to a computer for a multi-seat setup... perhaps this is one way to get up to 16 users!

we need to take this concept and bring back microsoft's Mira (yes remember that? the video screen slate remote terminal) and use that in schools

Can the heads connect via Ethernet or something? Will thin clients work with this? Is there a limit to the number of clients connected?

The school district I work for is looking to replace about 400 computers over the summer, and it'd be nice if we could just buy a few powerful servers and have remote devices connect to them. We looked into thin clients, but terminal server licensing is way too expensive for us.

Have you looked at LTSP? Or K12LTSP? Both free, and kids learn a lot quicker than adults.

Edited by farmeunit, Feb 25 2010, 1:22am :

This is nothing new, and Linux is NOT and never was the only OS to support this. Several third parties have been implementing multi-seat on Windows XP for years. Here is just ONE example... http://www.greenwarecorp.com/multi-user_pc_virtualization.php

ironcladlou said,
This is nothing new, and Linux is NOT and never was the only OS to support this. Several third parties have been implementing multi-seat on Windows XP for years. Here is just ONE example... http://www.greenwarecorp.com/multi-user_pc_virtualization.php
While there may be other options, they haven't received the kind of publicity as the MS solution. This will be good for the competition and schools.

Schools will review the MS solution, then they can review the competition which they might not have found on their own because they were never looking for something like this.

Either way, it seems like it would be a good way to cut hardware costs and make support easier. Since it's a remote session, I'm guessing there is a possibility for students to have a roaming profile that is available to them through out the school/campus.

ironcladlou said,
This is nothing new, and Linux is NOT and never was the only OS to support this. Several third parties have been implementing multi-seat on Windows XP for years. Here is just ONE example... http://www.greenwarecorp.com/multi-user_pc_virtualization.php

Yes indeed but Userful Corporation is the biggest.

It's nice, but I don't believe you can add it to a domain and have it act like a normal domain joined workstation would, rather it seems that it services it's own user accounts and so on, which makes it totally useless for schools that already have a network.

Please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

If they already have a domain
1) Do they really need this and
2) Instead of logging into the "multipoint" server, they could use their domain login, and vola.

Yes and no.
If they have a domain, they could use this in a random classroom and provide 6 systems straight away that allows domain login, that would be pretty nice, instead of buying 6 systems or 6 thin clients accessing a TS.

and no, it won't even give you the option to logon to a domain if the machine isn't joined to a domain, which this doesn't allow.

They could access file shares with \\server\blah and enter the domain user/pass but that's about it..

Sounds like a good idea, how much would a Server to do this save over say 6 normal bottom end desktops?

Ashl said,
Sounds like a good idea, how much would a Server to do this save over say 6 normal bottom end desktops?

Well, it's benefits go well beyond that though. It dramatically reduces maintenance, creates a centralized location for the teacher to review work, etc. There are a lot of benefits...

dogmai said,
I saw and read up on this the last time something was posted here. It looks pretty promising. I like it. I'd like to use it too.

Yeah, I would be interested in something like this too.

I'm also curious if some of the improvements made available in this OS would be able to improve the Desktops application Microsoft has available... That is a handy application, but has some serious limitations.