RDP VS VNC

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RDP VS VNC

Dave9060
Hey all,

I am currently setting up guacamole on AWS. My intended configuration is:

guac server on one instance (server is running a couple of additional
website too)
guacd on a separate instance (so I can scale this if needed)
Virtual PCs on a separate servers (a linux and windows box)

my intended use case is a bit of a mixed bag light web browsing and document
work to programming and potentially some CAD(fusion 360) work

I've been looking at both VNC and RPD(XRDP) trying to decide which is best,
they feel about even, tightVNC feels a little smoother but XRDP(scales
cleaner). But this is from very limited single user testing at the minute.

I've hunted high and low for some research into performance comparisons or
some kind of reasoning but all I find is people saying that RDP is
apparently "better".

As it stands I don't currently have a figure for concurrent users but there
is a need to have scalability (not sure if this will even have an effect on
the protocol choice).  

I guess my question is what do people who currently manage guacamole systems
uses? what is the general consensus on what performs better?

Thanks in advance
Dave



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Re: RDP VS VNC

vnick
On Wed, Jun 17, 2020 at 5:17 AM Dave9060 <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hey all,

I am currently setting up guacamole on AWS. My intended configuration is:

guac server on one instance (server is running a couple of additional
website too)
guacd on a separate instance (so I can scale this if needed)
Virtual PCs on a separate servers (a linux and windows box)

my intended use case is a bit of a mixed bag light web browsing and document
work to programming and potentially some CAD(fusion 360) work


CAD is really the only place that I've found VNC to be a preferable option, and that was sitting on a LAN using TigerVNC with some hardware GPU acceleration in a VDI environment.
 
I've been looking at both VNC and RPD(XRDP) trying to decide which is best,
they feel about even, tightVNC feels a little smoother but XRDP(scales
cleaner). But this is from very limited single user testing at the minute.


This depends on your use-case and your connection between the client and the remote system.  In general, VNC does very well over high-bandwidth, low-latency connections, and will give you a very smooth user experience in those conditions.  VNC degrades very quickly as latency goes up, losing its ability to function well in those conditions, whereas RDP tends to handle higher latency and lower bandwidth in a way that gives the user a better experience.

That said, Guacamole is designed to help resolve this, giving you good performance over those higher-latency/lower-bandwidth connections and automatically detecting available resources and scaling them to give the best possible user experience within the resource constraints.  Since it can connect to both RDP and VNC (and SSH and Telnet) on the back-end, it also gives you a single place to make all those sessions available - and all with no client required other than a web browser.  (There, that's my sales pitch :-D).
 
I've hunted high and low for some research into performance comparisons or
some kind of reasoning but all I find is people saying that RDP is
apparently "better".


I think most of the data out there is anecdotal, but the sheer mass of the anecdotal data is probably an indicator.  It isn't as if it's just a sales/marketing team saying it, it's real users who've tried both and have largely come down on the side of RDP.

Aside from the user experience, session management is another feature that most RDP servers (including XRDP) support and VNC servers generally lack.  So, with Windows or XRDP, I can connect to the server and enter my username and password, then disconnect and reconnect later or from somewhere else and get the same session.  To accomplish the same thing in VNC, I have to (generally) manually allocate VNC ports to individual users and have each user connect to a specific port.  There are some productions out there (NoMachine, X2Go) that attempt to resolve both the session management and performance issues while still leveraging (mostly) VNC under the hood, but Guacamole does not integrate with those.

-Nick
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Re: RDP VS VNC

Dave9060
Hey Nick,

Thanks for the reply.


> CAD is really the only place that I've found VNC to be a preferable
> option,
> and that was sitting on a LAN using TigerVNC with some hardware GPU
> acceleration in a VDI environment.

I'll keep this stuff in mind, but my use case might be a little more
distributed than LAN. I'll just have to try it and see, at least now I can
set up a local test that should work and I know the limitations.  


> I think most of the data out there is anecdotal, but the sheer mass of the
> anecdotal data is probably an indicator.  It isn't as if it's just a
> sales/marketing team saying it, it's real users who've tried both and have
> largely come down on the side of RDP.

By no means am I disagreeing there is obviously some reason for RPD over VNC
I've just never seen an explanation as to why and I couldn't see it myself,
so thank you for the detailed reasoning.


> Aside from the user experience, session management is another feature that
> most RDP servers (including XRDP) support and VNC servers generally lack.

 
I hadn't even started to think about session management yet I was just
trying to get something up and running, so once again thank you for saving
me some headache down the line.

Thanks
Dave  
 





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Re: RDP VS VNC

vnick
On Thu, Jun 18, 2020 at 4:29 AM Dave9060 <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hey Nick,

Thanks for the reply.


> CAD is really the only place that I've found VNC to be a preferable
> option,
> and that was sitting on a LAN using TigerVNC with some hardware GPU
> acceleration in a VDI environment.

I'll keep this stuff in mind, but my use case might be a little more
distributed than LAN. I'll just have to try it and see, at least now I can
set up a local test that should work and I know the limitations.   


> I think most of the data out there is anecdotal, but the sheer mass of the
> anecdotal data is probably an indicator.  It isn't as if it's just a
> sales/marketing team saying it, it's real users who've tried both and have
> largely come down on the side of RDP.

By no means am I disagreeing there is obviously some reason for RPD over VNC
I've just never seen an explanation as to why and I couldn't see it myself,
so thank you for the detailed reasoning.


LoL - I would definitely not call my reasoning "detailed", nor do I have access to any studies or research that demonstratively proves this.  Like I said, anecdotal experience, both personal experience and that of others.
 

> Aside from the user experience, session management is another feature that
> most RDP servers (including XRDP) support and VNC servers generally lack.


I hadn't even started to think about session management yet I was just
trying to get something up and running, so once again thank you for saving
me some headache down the line.


There may be situations where this is not an issue and VNC works just fine, just something I've run into in the past before XRDP was a viable option, and it certainly caused me my share of frustration!