Evaluating Windows NT Terminal Server Performance

Alexander Ya-Li Wong and Margo Seltzer


With the introduction of Windows NT, Terminal Server Edition (TSE), Microsoft finally brings to Windows the ``thin-client'' computing model the X Window System has offered Unix for a decade. TSE's two most salient features are the provision of multi-user login service and the provision of that service remotely, over a network link. These features distinguish TSE from previous Microsoft operating systems not only by functionality, but also by how its performance ought to be measured. Because TSE's primary service is interactive, user-perceived latency is more important than ever. In this paper, we examine the resource consumption and latency characteristics of shared usage on a TSE system. We find that the introduction of remote, multi-user access has added to the minimal level of resource consumption, that the efficiency of TSE's RDP protocol is generally good but degrades on dynamic user interface elements, and that TSE can exhibit poor latency performance when subjected to high processor, memory, and network load.
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