MultiPoint Services Role in Windows Server 2016


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Introduction

MultiPoint Server (MPS) is a technology and solution based on Windows Server and Remote Desktop Services. MPS was originally built for use in the classrooms and educational institutions and It allows you to provide low-cost sharing between MPS and user stations. User stations can be consist of only monitor, keyboard, mouse (zero clients) and be connected to MPS through USB (usb hubs), video cables or through LAN (RDP-over-LAN, if clients are not zero. for example, laptops, thin clients and etc..).  MPS uses some of the RDS services (by default): RD Session Host and RD Licensing Server.

First version of MPS was released in February, 2010 . In MPS 2010 you can connect stations and host only through USB hubs and video ports.

Ability to use LAN between user stations and MPS was added only to the next version – MPS 2011 released in March, 2011.

Some of the main features of MPS 2011:

  • RDP-over-LAN
  • RemoteFX support
  • Virtualization Support
  • Single administration console to manage multiple MPS
  • Projecting desktop from one stations to another
  • Filtering and blocking internet browsing on stations
  • Ability to open and close applications remotely, lock keyboard and mouse on stations
  • Standard and Premium Editions

MPS 2012 (next generation of MPS based on Windows Server 2012) has been updated with the following new features:

  • MultiPoint Dashboard, new management console to monitor and interact user desktops
  • Disk protection (system volume protection from unwanted changes)
  • Windows 8 desktop experience for users, including access to the Windows Store
  • MultiPoint Server Connector to monitor and manage PCs and Tablets (you need to install manually one on each rich/thin clients)

Differences between Standard and Premium editions :

Name Standard Premium
Maximum simultaneously connected stations up to 10 up to 20
Virtualization No Yes (1+1 licensing model)
Maximum x64 sockets 1 2
Maximum memory 32 Gb Unlimited
Domain joining No Yes

MultiPoint Server 2010-2012 requires license that can be purchased from OEM/VL channels.

Additionally, all MPS user stations require CALs.

MPS 2012 supports the following user stations (endpoints):

  • Direct-video-connected stations (also supported by MPS2010/2011)
  • USB-zero-client-connected
  • USB-Over-Ethernet
  • RDP-over-LAN connected stations (rich clients/thin clients/tablets connected through RDP protocol)

Direct-Video-Connected stations:

MPS host with many video cards –> stations connected to MPS video cards (VGA, for example) –> keyboard and mouse and other devices connected through personal USB hubs

Example (stations and hosts are in close proximity):

  • VGA port on MPS <> VGA port on station’s monitor
  • USB port on MPS <> Station USB hub
  • Peripheral devices on station <> Station USB hub

USB-zero-client-connected stations:

MPS host  with one video card –> stations are connected through specialized USB hubs with video ports

Example (stations and hosts are in close proximity):

  • VGA, USB ports on station <> station USB+VGA hub (all in one)
  • station USB hub <> USB port on MSP

USB-over-Ethernet-connected:

Works  similarly as USB-zero-Client-connected stations but can be connected to LAN and send/receive all data through existing LAN. More flexible but it’s a little bit more expensive.

This type of stations appears as virtual devices in MultiPoint Server. Please refer manufacturer’s documentation before deployment.

To fully understand zero clients (with/-out LAN) please review :

Wyse Zero Clients for Microsoft MultiPoint Server Interactive Brochure

With the Windows Server 2016 Technical Preview release (at the end of 2014) , Microsoft announced that MultiPoint Server will be added as a new server role called MultiPoint Services.

So after WS 2016 RTM MultiPoint Server might be discontinued.

multipoint_services_windows_server_2016_12

There is no any information about MPS licensing and limitations in Windows Server 2016 either. I’ll keep this post up-to-date.

Update: MultiPoint Premium Server 2016 is a new SKU and it requires Windows Server CALs and RDS CALs. This Windows Server edition is available only for academic licensing. More details are in the licensing datasheet

Deployment steps

We’ll walk through the MPS deployment (rdp-over-lan) in Windows Server 2016 TP4 (domain joined)

  1. Open “Add roles and features” wizard and select MultiPoint Services. You may notice there are some additional features are required for MPS such as File And Storage Services, Print and Document Services and etc. Just click on “Add features” and click Next

multipoint_services_windows_server_2016_1

  1. Read a great explanation from Microsoft “what is MPS?”.

Remote Desktop Licensing needs to be activated or use trial period (120 days)

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  1. Read and click next

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  1. I leave default settings and click Next.
  • Print Server is needed to manage multiple printers
  • Distributed Scan Server – enables you to manage and share networks scanners that support Distributed Scan Management
  • Internet Printing creates a web site where users can manage printer jobs on the server .
    If you have installed Internet Printing client on stations you can connect and print to shared printers using Web Browser and Internet Printing Protocol
  • LPD service – Line Printer Daemon Service enables UNIX-based computers using the Line Printer Remote service to print to shared printers on MPS

multipoint_services_windows_server_2016_4

  1. Leave default settings.
  • RD Gateway – to publish RDS (not suitable for MPS)
  • RD Connection Broker – to distribute connections  (not suitable for MPS)
  • RD Virtualization Host – for VDI
  • RD Web Access – web access to RD session/vdi/remoteapp collections (not suitable for MPS)

multipoint_services_windows_server_2016_7

  1. After server restart press “B” to identify primary station and wait while remote desktop services complete configuration*

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  • To install MultiPoint Services you can use PowerShell (server restarts automatically by default):

multipoint_services_windows_server_2016_8

TIP: MultiPoint Services add built-in account named as “WmsShell” to support multi-station mode and create group WMSOperators for allowing access to Dashboard functionality

  1. Press Start button and open MultiPoint Manager

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  1. Add MultiPoint Servers or personal computers (optional)

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  1. Go to Users tab and click “Add user account”, click Next and select user type

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10.  Connect to MultiPoint Server from the user connection using RDP.

When user firstly log on to MPS he receives privacy notification “To assist you with your usage of this computer, your activities may be monitored by your system administrator”

Click on “Accept and continue using this computer” and go back to MPS server.

multipoint_services_windows_server_2016_11

  1. On MPS server run MultiPoint Dashboard. All screens from user stations are being added and updated to dashboard.

You can see what happens on user’s station, block this desktop, set message for blocked users, take control, write IM to user, block USB storage or limit web access on selected desktops.

multipoint_services_windows_server_2016_17

  1. You can also project your desktop to all or selected user desktops.

It’s really needed when trainer or teacher does not have projector so he or she shares screen to all user’s station.

If you are familiar with Lync/Skype there is a similar feature called as “desktop sharing”

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  1. If you want to block selected or all desktops use Block/Unblock options. It’s recommended to set message for blocked users as well.

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  1. To limit web access you need to define list of sites that you are going to “hide” from users

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  1. If you open MultiPoint Manager you can notice that list of stations has been updated with rlevchenko’s station

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  1. To configure MPS server go back to Home tab and click on “Edit Server Settings

You can disable privacy notification at first user logon or assign a unique IP to each station.

image

  1. To enable disk protection (recommended) click on “Enable Disk protection”.

image

18.If you have application requires its own instance of a client operating system for each user you can create Virtual Desktop based on Windows 7 or later.

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FAQ:

How to uninstall MultiPoint Services in Windows Server 2016 TP?

Use Remove Roles and Features , restart server and run this script

multipoint_server_removal

Where is the powershell module for MultiPoint Services?

At the time of writing, there is no PS module for MultiPoint Services

21 thoughts on “MultiPoint Services Role in Windows Server 2016”

  1. Is there any documentation on setting up for MPS over WAN – my client base are primarily SMB with anywhere from 3 to 25 users who historically were SBS Server customers – going forward I was looking at the possibility of setting up WS 2016 with MPS role for these clients and selling ‘seats’ on my server as a cost effective solution and for ease of administration / management for myself…

    1. JMSill, thank you for your comment. There is the only one way to provide MPS functionality in your case – RDP-over-LAN . You need to publish your MPS and share it with end users or discuss full RDS implementation (session-based deployment)

    1. Hi, Gordon!

      At this time, we don’t have any published official guides from MS.

      I guess there will be no any changes for RDS at all..but we should wait RTM release and get licensing model for WS 2016 + scalability options.

      MPS is not the right choice for large deployments. It was designed for small computer labs or smb and limited up to 20 concurrent connections per server. So, I think these limits will be just transfered to WS 2016.

      If you want to have more than 20 stations, you should implement classical RDS (session-based or vdi) or deploy many MPS Servers and manage them from one console.

      Please review hardware and performance recommendations: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj916403.aspx

  2. Thanks for your post. Did you see any updates compared to Mutlipoint 2011 / 2012 or is are the services just a copy of the 2012 functionality?

    Thanks!

    1. I suppose MPS was not profitable so MS decided to make MPS as a new RDS server role instead of separate product. At this time, there are no differences in functionality. But let’s wait for the RTM version.

    1. Hi, Ariel.

      For MPS 2012 (just for instance) we need to cover all user stations by MPS CALs (it’s quite different than RDS CALs) and add them to MPS as client access licenses (see https://technet.microsoft.com/ru-ru/library/dn690074.aspx). So, RDS CALs are not required. MPS uses it’s own CALs + Windows Server CALs (VL channel)

      To get a little more information please review “licensing” tab at https://www.microsoft.com/windows/multipoint/buy.aspx

      For WS 2016 I don’t have any information related with licensing MPS scenarios. I’m not sure that existing licensing model will make sense in WS 2016 environments.
      Let’s wait official guides.

      1. An other point that worth noting and can broaden the interest in the product is that there is no more limit to the number of users in each MPS (other than hardware specs). Quoted from https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/rds/2014/10/27/announcing-the-multipoint-services-role-in-window-server-vnext-technical-preview/:
        “We decided to integrate this functionality as a role within Windows Server to make it more broadly available and to do away with the 20 users per MultiPoint Server limit against which we had heard strong feedback.”

        1. There is workaround for MPS user limit : use many MPS and manage them from one console.

          MPS movement to Windows Server 2016 is a way to achieve more scalability and yes..for better efficiency (more powerful Windows Server = happier users and customers:) ) .

          Don’t forget that Microsoft can change some features until RTM release. So, it’s better to compare MPS 2012 and MPS inside of Windows Server 2016 only after Windows Server 2016 will reach general availability

      2. Hi. MPS needs RDS CAL on WS2016 Licensing. MPS CAL is no longer exist. and, MPS is Academic Volume License SKU only. Thanks.

  3. I saw that MS has a Multipoint Server 2016 as a seperate licensing / .iso available as well as the Server 2016 role. In the Multipoint documentation it said that the Multipoint OS is available for EDU and corporate/enterprise can use the role. What is the difference and why? I am using Multipoint in EDU and a Standard 2016 license is a decent amount cheaper than the Multipoint Server license so I am confused.

      1. Yea, with EDU pricing the server 2016 standard without user cals is $20 for 2 core. Windows Multipoint 2016 is $88. It’s not so much about the money as it is why would any one pay 4 times the amount if multipoint is a server role in 2016 standard??

        1. John, are you using Std price for 8 packets/2 cores to compare with Multipoint price? we need to license at least 8 cores/proc and 16 cores/server for WS Standard (for example, pack of 2 cores is 20$ , cost of required 8 packs is 160$). Multipoint licensing model is a bit different – it requires license for each processor (not cores) + CALs (Windows Server/RDS).

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