How, With Google and VMware, We’re Unlocking Full Potential of Cloud-Hosted Desktops

by Justin Boitano

Just a few weeks after sharing our plans to transform Chromebooks from the inside out with the Tegra K1-powered Acer Chromebook 13, we told the crowd at VMworld 2014 today that we’re working with VMware and Google to bring these powerful, power-efficient Chromebooks to businesses.


Many enterprises have adopted desktop virtualization. But lots of IT organizations have struggled to economically move users to cloud-hosted desktops and applications – without sacrificing productivity – because it just hasn’t been feasible to virtualize rich graphics-intensive apps.

Acer Chromebook CAD NVIDIA GRID
NVIDIA, VMware and Google bring a fluid, remote user experience with any Windows app on Chromebooks.

We’re changing that through our collaboration with VMware and Google – by allowing businesses to cost-effectively provide a great user experience with cloud desktops and 3D or graphics-rich workloads to Google Chromebooks, with the full benefit of desktop virtualization.

Unlike traditional thin clients (the “receiving end” of a virtualized set-up), Google Chromebooks allow employees to move around the office or take their work home with them, while providing a superior virtual desktop experience at low cost.

Amazingly, until now, there hasn’t been a way to connect Chromebook users to the rich graphics applications they want from the data center without compromising performance. Our demo at VMworld delivers any graphically rich Windows application from the cloud to Chromebooks with the same fluid user experience you’d get with a local application.

Bringing Rich Graphics to the Virtual Desktop
Accomplishing this required several fundamental changes to the traditional virtual desktop infrastructure.

Every computing device, whether a smartphone, tablet or PC, has a GPU. And for good reason: the user experience suffers without one. So, the first challenge was to add rich graphics to the virtual desktop running in the data center. We’re working to add our NVIDIA GRID vGPU technology to VMware in the data center, so any user running on any device can benefit from having a GPU, as well. (Click here for more details on the Early Access for NVIDIA GRID vGPU on VMware.)

Next, we’re working with VMware and Google to enhance Chromebooks as an endpoint by enabling a new low-latency, high-frame-rate access from the client receiver to NVIDIA Tegra K1-based devices.

Put all this together and it’s possible to have completely fluid interaction with even the most graphically demanding applications, from Adobe Illustrator to Microsoft Office, on Google Chromebooks.

Tegra K1-based Chromebooks will be the first to fully support these new capabilities. This not only results in a better experience – the power-efficiency gains are dramatic. Battery life is extended by up to 50 percent using decode technologies exclusive to Tegra processors.

Check it out for yourself at VMworld 2014 in San Francisco, where, in booth 529, we’ll be showing a tech preview running a range of enhanced applications, such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

And give it a look on the Acer Chromebook 13 in the video below: