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Microsoft TechEd 2011: Windows MultiPoint Server Nearly Tops List of Cool Things

A sleeper product at Microsoft TechEd 2011, Windows MultiPoint Server was actually announced earlier this year but may well be the coolest product you've never heard of. Basically it allows 10 to 20 workstations to connect to one computer--sort of a "turn-key Terminal Services" as it was described by Microsoft Product  Unit Manager Dean Paron, who noted that it hooks into Internet Explorer to do its thing.

What's cool about it, especially for IT pros in the education sector, is that you can use old hardware and turn it into a thin client. And Paron indeed in his demo pointed out that several of the boxes whose monitors showed the Windows 7 display were Windows XP boxes.

He also demoed how you could configure the stations for auto log-in, and how the controlling display--likely owned by the teacher, but perhaps a trainer in industry also, or some other use case not yet thought of--can block a station, configure web blocking to prevent errant surfing, can project its display to all work stations, and how the controlling display can see what is going on with each work station.

Paron said a hypthetical institution with $50,000 to spend could either buy 43 seats the usual way or using Windows MultiPoint Server could buy 127 seats for the same amount. There are 2 editions: Standard, which lets you run 10 stations, and Premium, which lets you run 20 stations, has Hyper-V licensing, and is discounted for academic markets: running you $115 plus $29 CAL ($817 for non-educational organizations with a $139 CAL). 

To learn more about  Windows MultiPoint Server, see the server's website.

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