Back in February of 2010, Microsoft launched a new product, called Windows MultiPoint Server 2010, which is designed primarily for the education market to help schools increase computing access to more students for a lower total cost. Today the public beta of 2011 is available for you to try.
As an IT Consultant, why should you care?
If you look at the solution, MultiPoint can actually reduce the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) of clients in a small business. Much of the hard work of running products like Windows Small Business Server Codename “Aurora” and Windows Small Business Server Codename “SBS7” is dealing with client computers, keeping them patched and secure. Typically in a small business each employee might have one sometimes two computers to manage. With the release of MultiPoint Server 2011, you can reduce the number of clients in your infrastructure that need maintaining, while keeping (or if you choose, increasing) the number of virtual workstations via terminal services. Using Terminal Services in App Sharing mode, and normal clients takes some of the risk away, but you still have to worry about patching those “thin” clients. With MultiPoint server, you simply just patch the server and you’re done. Simply join it to your “Aurora” or “SBS7” domain, and let your users log in to the MultiPoint server.
So what’s new with Windows MultiPoint Server 2011? We’ve been listening to customer and partner feedback and here are some of the new things you’ll find:
- Desktop thumbnails that make it easier for teachers to orchestrate activities across the classroom, see what students are working on, and interact with student sessions.
- Support for connecting thin clients over the LAN. This allows for virtually unlimited distances between stations.
- The ability to string multiple MultiPoint Server “pods” and manage them from a unified MultiPoint Manager console. Great for labs and libraries where there are a large number of stations in a single place.
- Split screen capabilities at each user station. Turn one screen into two separate stations for a new way of collaborative learning between students.
- An ISV extensibility model based on a common SDK with the next versions of Windows Small Business Server and Windows Home Server, which enables ISVs such as learning and classroom management providers to integrate with MultiPoint Server.
- Support for domain join to integrate Windows MultiPoint Server with your existing Active Directory infrastructure.
If your organization is struggling with providing enough computers for your users, decreasing technology budgets, limited technical support and outdated hardware and software, I encourage you to check out Windows MultiPoint Server 2010 today and to take a look at the enhancements we are thinking about for through the now available Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 beta.