One of the more interesting products displayed at this year’s Microsoft TechEd was Windows MultiPoint Server 2011. MultiPoint server allows multiple users to share one computer at the same time. This is achieved by connecting workstations and thin clients on a LAN via the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). Hardware used to connect to a MultiPoint server can include traditional thin clients like products by Wyse, multiport graphics cards, USB Zero clients and repurposed workstations. There are several economic and admistrative benefits for deploying multipoint client for several users to share over the traditional “one computer to one user” common deployment. Think of large institutions like schools, for example.
MultiPoint Server 2011 has been recently released to manufacturing and includes several new features and upgrades to MultiPoint Server 2010. Desktop Orchestration is a new administration feature. It gives admins a thumbnail view over all MultiPoint desktops in a network. With it, administrators can instantly block a station, close or open a stations’s applications, project one station to another and limit website browsing. Software integrators have new capabilities as well with MultiPoint Manager extensibility. They can add new tabs or sub-tabs to the MultiPoint Manager interface and create new controls. MultiPoint Server has a common SDK with both Windows Small Business Server 2011 and Windows Home Server 2011 and is built on the Windows Sever 2008 RS SP1 platform.
Other key features include a Windows 7 desktop experience at each station, multiple language support, private USB and unique IP addresses for each station.
MultiPoint Server comes in two editions: Standard and Premium. Standard gives up to ten simultaneous station connections and Premium, by default, gives 20. Premium also gives the ability to join a domain plus support for Hyper-V. The Standard edition is priced at $330 while the Premium is $817. CALSwhich are licenses for the stationare $139 but academic and charity organizations can purchase them for $29.