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.