Global by Design: How CannonDesign Knits Together Teams from 16 Offices

by Anne Hecht

From famous shopping centers in Paris to prestigious golf courses in Korea and industry-leading biomedical research facilities in the US, AEC firm CannonDesign is world-renowned for turning the most complex projects into architectural excellence.

CannonDesign harnesses innovative approaches to architecture and engineering to help solve its clients’ greatest challenges – from improving healthcare access and offering equitable education to improving business performance and furthering scientific discovery.

And the 1,000-person firm does this worldwide by sharing projects and working on files living in a single data center, among designers and architects in 16 offices throughout North America and abroad.

The key: A virtual desktop infrastructure, powered by NVIDIA GRID. It enables collaboration across projects, regardless of location — whether in the field, at the office or in a client’s meeting space.

“NVIDIA GRID allows our employees to work with any application from any location with no compromise in performance,” says Andrew Schilling, chief infrastructure officer at CannonDesign.

To unify its teams, CannonDesign deployed a secure digital workspace that can accommodate up to 1,000 employees. It’s built on VMware Horizon, powered by 166 Cisco UCS Blades with NVIDIA GRID and Tesla M6 GPU accelerators.

NVIDIA GRID and the Tesla M6 GPU accelerators enable higher user density at twice the performance of any GPU on the market.

Today, CannonDesign has about 60 percent of its users on virtual desktops at any given time. This lets them collaborate with clients and have access to applications from the field.

“NVIDIA GRID gives us a lot more flexibility to allocate resources,” Schilling says. “Before, if we wanted to move a designer from a small project to something bigger, we had to swap out a physical machine or upgrade internally. Now it’s a matter of two clicks and they’re on a machine sized perfectly for them.”

With its virtual desktop deployment powered by NVIDIA GRID, CannonDesign requires 85 percent less server space. And it saves 13.5 hours a week in employee time. That adds up to about $130,000 in annual billable hours.

Join our webinar on Wednesday, June 21, at 10 am PT for a deep dive on CannonDesign’s deployment of NVIDIA GRID.