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Everything you need to know about GPU virtualization

Task workers who don't use graphics-intensive apps are generally the best candidates for virtual desktops. GPU virtualization changes that by moving resource-intensive, complex graphics rendering to the data center.


Virtual desktop infrastructure is a great way to deliver desktops and apps to workers, but in the past, it's only been viable if those workers use applications that don't rely on complex graphics or video rendering.

VDI is not ideal for delivering the type of performance power users need to accomplish work with apps that display complex graphics. That's where virtual graphics processing unit (vGPU) cards come in. A vGPU renders the graphics on a back-end server rather than on the actual endpoint device. As a result, the server expends the resources to deliver graphics instead of the laptop, PC or mobile device the user is running. The device will run more smoothly because it can focus on CPU.

Use this comprehensive guide to determine if GPU virtualization is right for your organization. Discover the value of vGPUs, how this technology works and the product options from companies such as VMware and Citrix.

1A good fit-

Why and when to use vGPUs

GPU virtualization can help make sure virtual desktop performance is top notch. But you must know when and where vGPU cards are necessary before investing in the technology. If you are mostly dealing with task workers, then you can probably skip out on vGPU, because they can get along just fine with plain old VDI. But if you have employees, such as video editors, who work with graphics-intensive applications then GPU acceleration is for you. Once you have determined that, you also need to know what type of GPU technology to adopt -- dedicated hardware, shared hardware or GPU virtualization.


Don't overlook the importance of vGPUs

If your users need computer-aided design, video editing or 3D rendering, finding the right vGPU technology is essential to implementing effective VDI. Continue Reading


Solve VDI graphics issues with shared GPUs

Image rendering in VDI deployments is often an issue, but GPU pass-through and shared GPUs can deliver physical desktop-like performance if IT admins know what to look for in a product. Continue Reading


Nvidia delivers high-performance graphics to remote users

The Kepler family of graphics cards from Nvidia takes the rendering process off the user's device and puts it on the VM's server. The server combines with a local graphics resource to grant speedy access to complex graphics rendering from anywhere. Continue Reading


Is GPU virtualization right for your organization?

GPU virtualization is a great way to improve application and VDI performance, but it's not worth the cost in some situations. Sometimes protocol offload is a more efficient way to solve VDI performance problems. Continue Reading


When to offload GPU processing

By sending CPU processing to GPU hardware, products such as the Nvidia GRID card improve virtual desktop performance. GRID, however, only offloads specific graphics types, such as those generated by Direct X 9, 10 or 11. Continue Reading

2Products and Features-

Evaluate GPU virtualization technologies

As with most technologies, picking the right product is key to successfully implementing GPU virtualization. Nvidia and AMD are the top two vGPU card manufacturers, with Nvidia's GRID graphics card standing above the competition. Citrix and VMware are the dominant players that support Nvidia's technology. Citrix's XenDesktop GRID vGPU feature offers pass-through support on XenServer 6.2 with Service Pack 1. VMware's three products for GPU acceleration are Virtual Dedicated Graphics Acceleration (vDGA), Virtual Shared Graphics Acceleration (vSGA) and Soft 3D. Each one addresses a different level of graphics performance needs.


Find the right GPU virtualization technology

When it comes to GPU virtualization, IT admins must first determine their users' needs, including whether they need graphics remoting API support, and then pick the best product based off those requirements. Continue Reading


Citrix vs. VMware for GPU supremacy

Citrix and VMware both offer GPU virtualization features based on Nvidia cards. Citrix's offering, XenDesktop GRID vGPU, supports both GPU pass-through and sharing. VMware's vSGA shares the GPU across VMs, while vDGA dedicates GPU to a specific virtual desktop. Continue Reading


VMware GPU power for any situation

Dig deeper into the three forms of VMware GPU virtualization -- Soft 3D, vSGA and vDGA – which are each designed for a specific user scenario. Both knowledge and task workers who use lightweight apps, for example, will be best off with vSGA. Continue Reading


VMware vDGA provides a near-native experience

VMware Virtual Dedicated Graphics Acceleration dedicates a whole GPU card to one virtual machine, so IT admins can deliver maximum graphics performance to virtual desktops. Admins can have only up to eight cards per ESXi server. Continue Reading


Improve graphics at a fair price with vSGA

VMware's Virtual Shared Graphics Acceleration technology enables virtual machines to share the same GPU card, so IT admins can deliver high-powered performance to virtual desktops without overpaying. Continue Reading


CPU stands in for GPU with Soft 3D

VMware vDGA and vSGA aren't the only options. In environments where users only need minimal graphics performance and CPU bandwidth is not a problem, IT can turn to Soft 3D, which uses CPU to emulate GPU. Continue Reading


How to implement and run Citrix GRID vGPU

To install Citrix's GRID vGPU feature, admins must add the Nvidia vGPU GRID Manager driver, which delivers a paravirtualized driver to the GPU. Admins can also decide if a workload will use a full GPU or just portions of the GPU as shareable vGPUs. Continue Reading


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What is a good solution for graphics support on a VDI supporting 100 or so systems? Adding some high-end graphics cards?