It's official: Microsoft will extend the TS connection broker to also handle VDI (updated)

SearchWinIT is reporting from Microsoft TechEd in Barcelona this week. In an article publised today, Margie Semilof wrote that Microsoft is extending Terminal Services Remote Desktop Services for Windows Server 2008 R2, due out in 2010.

SearchWinIT is reporting from Microsoft TechEd in Barcelona this week. In an article publised today, Margie Semilof wrote that Microsoft is extending Terminal Services Remote Desktop Services for Windows Server 2008 R2, due out in 2010. Quote from the article:

Terminal Services now has a single broker to connect users to sessions, or virtual machines, or virtual desktop scenarios with Hyper-V, said Ward Ralston, group product manager in Microsoft's Windows Server group.

This move was widely expected. Microsoft majorly revamped the Session Directory feature from Windows Server 2003 to become the Session Broker in Windows Server 2008, and it probably wasn't too hard for them to extend that futher so that it could also broker incoming connections to single-user VDI instances too. This is also a perfect example of the path that Microsoft usually takes with new products. Other companies invent the product and create / open / prove the market, and then when Microsoft thinks they can enter the arena and be successful, they make a product that is not better than the third-party products, but that's just good enough (and free) that people stop buying the third-party products.

So what's this mean for the connection broker market? First of all, having a single connection broker that can broker connections to Terminal Servers and VDI instances is the bigger trend. Ericom, Quest, and Leostream all do this now. Citrix kind of does it because they have two connection brokers that can run side-by-side that you can aggregate at the web portal level. And VMware announced that new versions of their connection broker will also connect into Terminal Servers.

The big question, at this point, is whether Microsoft's solution will be locked to Hyper-V. That quote from Ward Ralston, where he talks about virtual desktop scenarios with Hyper-V... I wonder whether he threw the term Hyper-V into that sentence as a matter of illustration, or if it will actually require Hyper-V.

I'm sure more details about this will emerge over the next few days. I'll schedule some time with Microsoft this week to collect the full story.

UPDATE: November 4

Microsoft just posted more information about this via their TechNet blog. Specifically:

  • The new connection broker will be called the "Remote Desktop Connection Broker."
  • They're positioning this as a VDI solution for "low complexity, departmental environments, and a platform for partners." (i.e. it's being positioned just like terminal services today.)

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Right now I'm at Microsoft Tech-Ed in Barcelona and I attended the opening keynote earlier today. During this session, Brad Anderson disclosed the Remote Desktop Services news to the public. On Wednesday, there will be a session covering more details on Microsoft's VDI plans. I will keep you updated.



So now everyone does it.. greeeeeat! As tony would say..

I really hope that we will se more interaction or a third party building an interface/broker entity that will allow integration to several backen systems, thereby allowing the customer to pick best of breed for each problem/pain.

Best solution for heavy graphic LAN, best solution for thin WAN connections.. it would be great if customers did not have to choose the solution with the least downsides but instead could choose the best solution for any given problem. And to be honest i think a vendor like that might get some room, same goes for administration of the different hypervisors.

Rene Vester


this has been online for almost a week......

Between minutes 48 and 55….


More interesting times for Citrix.  I remember the joint announcement where Microsoft stated they would provide the management tools with SCVM and Citrix would provide the broker with XenDesktop.

So now MSFT have the management tools, a broker, a hypervisor and Calista but what is interesting is how they pitch their VDI offering at low-complexity  departmental environments,  very much the same as their pitch around WS2008 TS.

It will be good to see the architecture of a Remote Desktop Services  deployment  and just how the broker works under the bonnet.


Super cool demo of RDP 7 at:


RDO in Windows 7 seems to overtake current citrix features regarding performance of rich grafics. I'm very exited how the demo within this msdn video performed.

Let's have a look what will happen to the ica protocol in the future?


These are great improvements for DirectX stuff, if you're using a Win7 or Vista client, but let's not kid ourselves.  There was no mention of using this stuff over a low bandwidth connection, with the rest of the Windows UI, with OpenGL, line of business apps, Internet browsing, desktop publishing, acrobat... i.e. the apps people use every day.

I'm excited to see Microsoft making improvements in RDP, but these are polishing the edges without addressing the middle.  This is why Quest has spent so much time extending RDP to make it work over low bandwidth connections, latent connections, with multimedia, with non-Windows clients...

Every time Microsoft comes out with something new for TS people are saying "we won't need Citrix or ICA anymore", but you're forgetting that 70% of the client computers on the planet are not capable or running the latest Windows OS, or are running a non-Windows client OS.  This is why Quest and Citrix are such great Microsoft partners as we enable the delivery of a rich Windows experience to virtually any client OS.  

RDP7 enhancements are fantastic.  The one I like the most is the multi-monitor support for many, many displays.