When a GPU can be utilized with session virtualization in 2016

Q. In what scenarios can a GPU be leveraged in session virtualization environments in Windows Server 2016?

A. Prior to Windows Server 2016 a GPU could only be leveraged in VDI environments with an Enterprise client SKU via the RemoteRX technology which allows a GPU to be virtualized and enabled in the VMs via vGPUs. Windows Server 2016 now enables the GPU to be leveraged in session virtualization environments enabling DirectX, OpenGL and OpenCL for sessions however this GPU is available in two configurations:

  • The session host (RDSH) is deployed to hardware which has the GPU
  • The session host is running on a 2016 Hyper-V host which has a GPU that has be assigned to VM via Discrete Device Assignment (i.e. not shared via RemoteFX)

To enable the GPU it must be enabled via Group Policy by setting the Computer Configuration - Administrative Templates - Windows Components - Remote Desktop Services - Remote Desktop Session Host - Remote Session Environment - Use the hardware default graphics adapter for all Remote Desktop Services sessions policy to Enabled.

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