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How does Citrix HDX 3D Pro support GPU virtualization?

IT administrators can use Citrix HDX to deliver graphics-intensive applications in XenDesktop and XenApp, but they'll need HDX 3D Pro to optimize the application performance even more and limit bandwidth consumption.

IT administrators need help delivering graphics-heavy virtual applications to users, and tools such as Citrix's HDX 3D Pro can help employees get a better experience with those apps on their PC, laptop or mobile device. HDX 3D Pro is also hypervisor-agnostic, so companies can use it with existing infrastructure -- even VMware vSphere.

HDX is a group of remote display technologies that deliver a high-definition user experience on virtual desktops and applications. HDX 3D Pro is a subgroup of graphics acceleration technologies that enables the use of 3D or other resource-intensive virtual apps on the XenDesktop and XenApp platforms.

The difference between standard HDX and HDX 3D Pro is that the latter is designed specifically to support graphics processing units (GPU), which can achieve the type of hardware acceleration necessary to run 3D and other graphics-intensive virtual apps smoothly. Admins can distribute a single GPU across as many as 64 users per virtual machine (VM). A CPU-based Deep Compression codec keeps graphics-intensive apps from using too much bandwidth, which, along with other wide area network (WAN) optimization technologies in HDX 3D Pro, allows users to run apps on any WAN with 2 MB of bandwidth.

Using HDX 3D Pro with virtual GPUs

HDX 3D Pro also supports virtual GPUs such as NVIDIA GRID cards, which can further optimize the delivery of demanding virtual apps. HDX 3D Pro began supporting NVIDIA GRID vGPUs on Citrix's XenServer hypervisor in 2013 and two years later added support for VMware vSphere.

Using HDX 3D Pro unlocks remote access to a range of resource-intensive applications, including computer-aided design, manufacturing and engineering apps, geographical information system software, and picture archiving and communication systems for medical imaging. Workers can access their graphics-heavy virtual apps remotely through XenDesktop or XenApp, all with the security of running those apps from the data center. This setup allows designers and engineers in different locations to collaborate without putting intellectual property at risk. Workers can also access graphics-intensive applications from smartphones, tablets or thin clients, although the user experience of virtual apps on mobile devices is often still not strong.

Admins can enable GPU pass-through to provide users with a 1:1 or 2:1 dedicated GPU ratio.

HDX 3D Pro is straightforward to set up and use. Admins must install Citrix's Virtual Desktop Agent (VDA) for HDX 3D Pro onto the VMs hosting their resource-intensive apps. The company's Receiver client software connects the VDA to the user's XenDesktop or XenApp instance to deliver the app. Compatible servers can support two NVIDIA GRID K2 cards or four NVIDIA GRID K1 cards per chassis, and admins can enable GPU pass-through to provide users with a 1:1 or 2:1 dedicated GPU ratio.

Citrix HDX 3D Pro is compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, Apple iOS, Google Android and HTML5 endpoints, and it's similarly agnostic when it comes to server virtualization. Admins can use HDX 3D Pro with bare-metal hypervisors, Citrix XenServer or CloudPlatform, or VMware vSphere.

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