CAEN Knowledge Base
CAEN Knowledge Base

Note: For updates from the College about resources for learning, teaching and working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit: covid-19.engin.umich.edu


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NOTICE: Changes to CAEN's Windows Remote Desktop Service (March 2020)

Many updates occurred to the Windows Remote Desktop Service in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we will continue to ensure everyone stays informed of all changes.

The University of Michigan has moved to online classes for the remainder of the Winter 2020 term, as well as the Spring and Summer 2020 terms. In order to meet increased demand on CAEN's Windows Remote Desktop service, the following changes have taken place.

Windows Remote Desktop Service Hardware Upgrade

The hardware that powers CAEN's Windows Remote Desktop Service was upgraded on March 6. This was a planned upgrade that began in the Fall 2019 term with the purchase of six new Dell servers, which provide:

  • Two (2) 24 core / 48 thread Xeon processors (96 total threads per server)
  • 384 GB of RAM
  • Five (5) Nvidia Tesla video cards to provide an enhanced vGPU experience for the demanding 3D workload of Engineering coursework

New Virtual Machine Specs

Using this new hardware, the CAEN Windows Remote Desktop Service is now providing 100 virtual machines with the following specs:

  • 16 GB of RAM
  • 4 GB of vRAM
  • 8 processors
  • 100+ GB of SSD (solid state disks)

In benchmarking the new environment, we have found performance to be increased by a factor of up to 12x the performance of the old virtual machines. In addition, the new hardware allows 4K (3840x2160p) connections to the Windows Remote Desktop Service. We heard community feedback regarding this feature, and are pleased to announce that 4K displays are now fully supported.

Increased Seat Count

In addition to the hardware upgrades covered above, we have also increased the available remote connections in other ways.

With the closing of the Duderstadt Center in mid-March 2020, CAEN staff worked with VMware to make computers that reside in the building available via the Windows Remote Desktop Service. There are currently 204 Duderstadt Center computers available through CAEN's Windows Remote Desktop Service. Remote access to these machines also includes the ability to use the GPU in the systems, providing an excellent remote use experience for demanding Engineering coursework.

How to Connect

We recommend using the VMware Horizon Client for the best experience. Once you have the VMware Horizon Client installed, set the connection server to caen.midesktop.it.umich.edu. After logging in with your U-M uniqname and password, and completing the Duo two-factor authentication steps, you will be greeted with the following options:

  • CAEN Labs 2019 (General CAEN Lab VMware systems)
  • CAEN Labs 2019 - 32 GB RAM (VMware systems with 32 GB RAM)
  • CAEN Labs 2019 - Duderstadt Center (204 Duderstadt Center Workstations)

Future Plans

CAEN is committed to providing Michigan Engineering students the best remote access experience possible. Because of this, we also plan to continue expanding capacity of the Windows Remote Desktop Service with physical desktop systems in CAEN labs. This will most likely occur as CAEN labs are shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.