Is anyone out there using (or heard of) hp's "Remote Graphics Software" (RGS)? - Brian Madden - BrianMadden.com
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Is anyone out there using (or heard of) hp's "Remote Graphics Software" (RGS)?

Written on Jun 01 2007
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21,577 views, 12 comments


by Brian Madden

Promising a "just like local" experience, hp's Remote Graphics Software is a VDI-type software solution that does remoting at a different level than RDP. The technical description reads like RDP, except they claim it makes full use of the sender's high-end graphics capabiliies.

So what's the catch? Cost? Bandwidth? Is this even real?

I'm curious as to what others have seen... 

 
 




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Comments

Guest wrote Why don't you try the trial version of the software and write a review?
on Sun, Jun 3 2007 8:16 AM Link To This Comment

Make sure you include the cost of the retail version in your review too. . .that is the kicker!  :)

https://h20293.www2.hp.com/portal/swdepot/try.do?productNumber=RG088AAT

Guest wrote RGS
on Sun, Jun 3 2007 11:04 PM Link To This Comment
I am interested in how RGS compares to progressiv scan technologies in PS4.5.  My counterparts in other areas my organisation have tested RGS in anger with HP blade PC's.  The user base is apparently not best pleased with the results.  Apparently mysterious display issues can occur.  
Guest wrote RGS
on Mon, Jun 4 2007 2:13 AM Link To This Comment

Hi,

I read a customer reference case where RGS is being used in a VDI environment. The solution is in many ways different than the Citrix Speedscreen technology. Within a few days i'll have finished my RGS testing and let you know how thinks are working.

With regards,

Ruben Spruijt

Guest wrote Different underlying methodology
on Tue, Jun 5 2007 11:18 AM Link To This Comment

At my workplace (an investment bank) I am involved in an RGS deployment to trading users. The technology work very differently to RDP / ICA and is currently pitched very much at power users requiring dedicated hardware. It is not a multi-user environment in the vein of Citrix / TS.

We have some of the G1 blades which are dual AMD Opertrons with 4GB of RAM with a NVIDIA graphics card on board on the blade. RGS works by sniffing the frame buffer, seeing what has changed, compressing the changed pixels and then sends them to the client device. The client device is currently either a HP 7600 SFF case with a 512mb flash drive, two nvidia NVS 285 graphics cards running a cut down linux OS.  This runs the RGS reciever software that does the decompression of the traffic.

The performance and feedback from the users (traders) has been suprisingly positive. They are happy with the performance of the devices and the improved enviromental conditions of their desks due to the device consolidation we have been able to do.

We also have improved availability as the blades are in a data centre and we have standby blades in cases of problems. As with Citrix no data leaves the data centre and the applications run less network hops from their data servers.

The cons - not a cheap solution - the hardware is expensive and it cannot be upgraded - new blades are required. No Vista support yet - XP only. The software is still slightly immature although HP have been proactive in getting feedback and working with us to fix and improve the product. The support guys have had to get used to remote management rather than just been able to swap a device straight out.

 

Guest wrote I used the eval a few weeks ago Brian.
on Thu, Jun 7 2007 5:00 PM Link To This Comment

I visited nike.com and found the RDP was smoother than the HP version. I would go as far to say RGS was crap.

 Tested just using my laptop though. Reason for the test was to see if it would suit a project I am invovled in.

Guest wrote HP RGS
on Mon, Jun 11 2007 12:14 PM Link To This Comment

I have done some testing of HP RGS for CADCAM applications and it works as advertised.  It is very fast over the LAN, and it fully utilizes the graphics card on the server.  HP pairs this software with their Blade Workstations that have PCIe graphics cards.  RGS becomes sensitive to latency when you get to about 100ms rt, and the bandwidth consumption can be quite large when performaning graphics intensive tasks.  Although that is to be expected since you are able to send many more frames since they are hardware accelerated. 

For those that compared RGS to TS/CPS they should have seen RGS dominate TS/CPS (even 4.5) in cases involving OpenGL.  RGS leverages a graphics card for accelerating OpenGL images (assuming your server has a graphics card).  RGS does not accelerate DirectX / Direct 3D.  If you were testing normal Office type applications or DirectX/D3D apps you probably wouldn't have seen much difference.  CPS 4.5 introduced SpeedScreen progressive display, which claims to accelerate images.  What Citrix means by this is it accelerates image delivery, the rendering engine is still the standard software rendering from Microsoft (in the case of OpenGL), so there is no acceleration in the image rendering.  Citrix removed some of their own internal bottlenecks and introduced more aggressive compression techniques.  By applying more compression they send less bits over the network to deliver the images faster.

RGS also allows the user to select their desired level of detail of their session.   This is really a nice way to ask how much compression to apply to the session, the more compression the lower the fidelity of the image.  This basically does the same thing that Citrix is doing, although Citrix implemented this via a policy and HP allows the user to choose their setting.

In summary I would say HP RGS is good at what it is designed and marketed for, Remoting High-End Graphics.  I would add to this that is is good over the LAN and some WAN scenarios. 

Guest wrote RGS works, but impact on VDI is big
on Fri, Jul 27 2007 5:55 PM Link To This Comment

I think to state that RGS is a VDI-type software solution is highly misleading.  VDI is creating virtual machines to host PC images.  RGS is a connection protocol that allows a user to connect to one of those VMs - or to a blade workstation or blade PC.  It's most comparable to RDP or ICA in terms of what type of software it is.  But for mainstream users, RGS will be your best choice.

RGS blows away RDP and ICA when it comes to performance capability, particularly around anything that requires 2D or 3D - still image or video.  However, it does require more bandwidth.  No matter what you do in terms of compression, there's only so much you can do.  Eventually, a large amount of data needs to move from the host device to the desk.  As a result, RGS delivers the best performance premium over RDP, ICA, etc, on a LAN.  When you move to a WAN environment, you should always test to see which one works best.

One word of caution on using RGS with a virtualization solution like VDI.  RGS will substantially lower the number of VMs you can put on a piece of hardware.  RGS is software, and it consumes hardware resources to do it's compression and transmission to the remote user.  As a result, there are fewer hardware resources available to run the actual virtual machines

Moral of the story - try before you buy, but know what you're trying.  For mainstream users, where webcasts and other still image and video-based communications are a requirement, RGS delivers a true and complete desktop experience.  RDP6 and ICA cannot deliver a PC-like experience for webcasts and other web-based streaming video.

Guest wrote RGS on WAN
on Tue, Sep 25 2007 9:13 AM Link To This Comment

Well, this is not a fair comparion, since CPS 4.5 does not provide OpenGl hardware acceleration.

Has anyone tried comparing RGS and CPS 4.5 over a WAN with ping times of ~100 ms?  My hunch is that CPS would catch up with RGS even with it's software rendering because they have optimized bandwidth usage over long time frames.

And yes, true comparison would be when  CPS comes enabled with OpenGl Hardware Acceleration.

  

Guest wrote Hardware Acceleration
on Tue, Sep 25 2007 11:17 AM Link To This Comment

It ain't over 'til the fat lady sings! 

;-)

Guest wrote Re: RGS works, but impact on VDI is big
on Fri, Oct 5 2007 5:07 AM Link To This Comment
I managed to get a NFR from HP for RGS... I managed to make it work with a physical HP server - but I've had no success with getting it to work inside a VMware VM. I understand from my HP friends that you need to add an entry to the VMX file of a VM - called SMBIOS.reflectHost = "true" However, this doesn't seem to work. The problem is that the RGS software only works on HP Hardware. So the VM has to be able to see the SMBIOS of the HP pc/server to function... But I haven't seen this entry in the VMX file fix the problem...
Guest wrote engr
on Sat, Mar 22 2008 7:06 PM Link To This Comment
I've demo'd RGS on and off for the last two years on my employer's exclusive HP deskstops.  I work a lot remotely from home (nowadays almost exclusively) and RGS provides full access to my graphics resources at work. Apps include Ansys and Unigraphics (I think that this is the target app family that I saw one of the posts mention - yes, scientific crap) - In all of my experience RGS does it right.  I don't need iron at home, I don't even need a fast connection at times. But the graphics are still true and fast, and I dont have to disable hardware acceleration on the remote machine (read windows remote desktop, or vnc).  I've been looking around for other remote applications of this sort.  If you guys know of another, let me know.
Guest wrote VirtualGL
on Tue, Apr 22 2008 10:21 AM Link To This Comment
We've come across VirtualGL. VirtualGL is able to offer 3D capability to remote clients as well. It fakes the OpenGL library and renders openGL commands in an off-screen Pixel buffer. The rendered images are then retrieved (I'm afraid I don't know enough about rendering pipelines to know exactly how this particular feat is done) and injected into any X Display.

The author has also developed an optimized VNC implementation that performs very well for both video and 3D content, called TurboVNC (although for video, it still "transcodes" the video to a VNC encoding in stead of just streaming it to the client like Citrix SpeedScreen technology, so the bandwidth is higher than Citrix' solution).

Also worth mentioning: the turboVNC encodings that enable its good video performance are being integrated into the (perhaps better known) TightVNC VNC implementation.

VMGL (Virtual Machine GL) is another effort we are aware of (but we have not tested it). It is able to offer the graphics acceleration capabilities of a host machine to the Virtual Machines running on top of it. I don't think it would be well suited for remote applications though, it seems focused very much on local application.

Kind regards,

Jeroen De Wachter

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