How VMware and NVIDIA Are Bringing GPU Sharing to the Masses

by Tony Paikeday

Life is full of trade-offs.

In the world of virtualization, enterprises have faced what I call a “trade-off of extremes” when it comes to graphics. They could choose either GPU sharing or dedicated GPUs, and both have advantages and disadvantages.

With GPU sharing, you get the economic benefits of shared hardware to many users. But limited API support has a big impact on performance.

With dedicated GPUs, you get great performance. But it doesn’t scale because each GPU is mapped to a single user.

That trade-off is about to end, with the support of NVIDIA GRID vGPU with VMware Horizon 6 built on vSphere. This combination provides virtualized graphics that are rich, immersive and delivered in real time for workers of all types. No matter what device they choose.

This is particularly important for the majority of enterprises whose users are neither high-end designers nor task workers. These people in the middle—power users and knowledge workers—have graphics needs that fall between the designers and engineers at the high end, and task workers with limited graphics needs.

Until now, they’ve had no viable means to tap into the power of the GPU when using VMware solutions.

With NVIDIA GRID vGPU for VMware Horizon and vSphere, we offer an outstanding user experience combined with the economics of GPU sharing, native NVIDIA drivers in the guest OS and performance that scales.

Our test data shows consistently high encoded graphics frame-rate (frames per second)—for anywhere from 1 to 15 virtual desktop users per GPU. And there was no discernable reduction in performance as virtual machines were added.

This means an uncompromised experience for all users sharing that GPU.

To better understand the benefits, let’s look at this from the perspective of a business’s workflow:

Productivity & Efficiency – What if your user’s day didn’t start or stop based on their time in or out of a traditional office? What if they could get to their designs without the commute, without even being in proximity to a brick and mortar office? Instead they can work from the job site, from the airport, or from the coffee shop.

Collaboration – What if collaboration was a capability that happened in real time between your distributed teams, instead of a serialized process of handing work from one group to the next? Imagine your team reviewing and modifying large 3D datasets in real time while separated by tens of thousands of miles.

Security – The risk associated with data “at rest” sitting on local storage is sometimes unfathomable. It can mean millions of dollars lost when a drive falls in the hands of a competitor, or a crippling delay to the introduction of a product. What if you could reliably host and protect mission-critical designs from within your data center, where it belongs?

VDI NVIDIA GRID vGPU diagramVMware Horizon and vSphere with NVIDIA GRID vGPU delivers rich 3D graphics from the data center that can be easily accessed across devices and locations—more affordably than ever before.

Using a single platform based on vSphere, the industry’s leading hypervisor, VMware Horizon with NVIDIA GRID vGPU ensures that power users and designers enjoy a graphics experience that’s equal to dedicated hardware. And it’s delivered with the cost-effectiveness that only GRID vGPU can provide.

And because the solution scales, scores of less demanding users, like knowledge workers and task workers, can also have their needs met.

With full certification for a growing list of ISVs, VMware and NVIDIA are enabling organizations across the globe to easily support real-time collaboration with 3D applications at scale.

New Direct Access Program

Are you ready to accelerate your success with 3D graphics-enabled VDI? If so, then new NVIDIA GRID vGPU on VMware Horizon 6 and vSphere 6.0 Direct Access Program is for you. It provides select customers who meet certain qualifications with priority access to NVIDIA’s enterprise graphics virtualization experts and VMware’s solution architects.

Participants in the program will get an exclusive by-invite-only experience, designed to speed up their desktop transformation initiatives and move from VDI pilots into scalable production deployments.

Participants in the Direct Access Program will also receive other benefits:

  • invitations to exclusive community forums
  • priority access to NVIDIA and VMware graphics and virtualization experts
  • product training
  • opportunities to try new technologies while providing input to influence future virtualization products

Customers can apply now to the Direct Access program.