Nvidia is working with Citrix to implement its latest Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) to improve the user experience for mobile
workers who use Citrix enterprise
desktop virtualization. Specifically, the Nvidia Grid vGPU can now be integrated into Citrix XenDesktop 7.
The new Nvidia Grid vGPU technology targets a challenge that has grown in recent years alongside the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend.
Citrix points out that more employees who use their own notebooks and portable devices for work are relying on desktop virtualization technologies for anytime-access to computing resources. But they can't always tap into the graphic-intensive apps they need.
That's because, until now, virtualization technologies have only been used to offer employees access to standard enterprise applications. Performance and portability constraints have made it difficult to use some of the more graphics-intensive apps, like building information management (BIM), product-lifecycle management (PLM), and video-photo editing.
The Hosted-Shared Desktop
"With Nvidia Grid vGPU, even the most intensive graphics applications can be delivered by XenDesktop 7," said Bob Schultz, vice president and general manager of Desktops and Applications Group at Citrix. "Now businesses can provide their users with the performance that they expect and need for engineering, design, and video applications, while centrally securing and managing valuable intellectual property and sensitive information."
With the introduction of new HDX GPU sharing and deep compression techniques in XenDesktop 7, Nvidia and Citrix said their customers can start taking advantage of the hosted-shared form of desktop virtualization to deliver graphics-intensive applications. Using the Microsoft Windows Server RDSH and XenDesktop 7 platform makes it possible to share GPUs across multiple user sessions.
The companies also pointed to another benefit of combining Citrix XenServer and Nvidia GRID vGPU technology -- allowing customers to share GPUs across multiple virtual machines. With this capability, businesses can address a broader set of users with their desktop virtualization infrastructure across a spectrum of verticals.
Back to the Future
For example, architects, engineers and contractors can use computer-aided design (CAD) tools, like Autodesk BIM. Manufacturing businesses can automate the connection between product design and operations using PLM tools, like Enovia 3DLive, PTC Windchill PLM Connector and Siemens Teamcenter software . Digital-content creation workers can use video and photo editing tools, like Adobe Photoshop software. And healthcare specialists using picture archiving and communication system can use (PACS) applications, like GE Centricity EMR.
We asked Rob Enderle, principal analyst at The Enderle Group, for his take on the new capabilities. He told us Nvidia GRID is the first system truly optimized to provide a high-performance desktop-as-a-service.
"I still think Citrix is a bit pricey for what it provides, but the underlying hardware is very well sorted. The virtualization market has been looking for a solution like this to connect the dots so you get a true performance PC experience through a service," Enderle said.
"With this solution, it's kind of a back to the future in many ways. It's a revisiting of the mainframe concept where the hardware at the end points is relatively simple and all the aggravation and complexity is kept centrally where it's much more easily managed and updated."