Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 RC Now Available
Microsoft on Monday announced that the release candidate (RC) version of its Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 solution can be downloaded for testing.
The RC is available through the Microsoft Connect portal here (requires sign-up). This RC release follows a beta announced by Microsoft in October. Microsoft is looking for feedback from testers now that the features introduced in the beta have been baked into the RC. A few new features also were added in the RC.
Windows MultiPoint Server is a shared computing solution designed to meet the needs of schools, libraries and labs. It can create up to 15 "nontraditional" dumb terminals consisting only of USB-based screens, keyboards and mice. These dumb terminals all connect to a single computer, allowing an instructor or an institution to serve up common materials.
The new features introduced in the beta include support for thin clients over LANs, management of multiple MultiPoint Server "pods" through a single console, split-screen capability at a single dumb terminal (to aid collaboration among students) and a domain join feature for Active Directory integration. The Premium edition of the product will enable domain joins; Microsoft also will offer a Standard edition without that capability.
Microsoft described some new features in the RC for teachers and administrators in this blog post. The RC also has a few new deployment options for administrators. For instance, Remote Desktop Protocol files can be created to enable remote desktop management. RemoteFX support for thin clients has been enabled, which provides richer multimedia experiences for those connecting over a LAN, according to Microsoft's blog.
If the MultiPoint Server 2010 product is any guide, the new 2011 product will come with somewhat complex licensing options. For instance, client access licensing is priced differently depending on if MultiPoint Server 2010 is bought through an original equipment manufacturer or through the Microsoft Academic Volume Licensing program.
Licensing and pricing details for the MultiPoint Server 2011 product aren't announced and the product isn't available yet. Microsoft provides licensing and purchasing details for the 2010 product at this Web page.
Kurt Mackie is online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.