I am pretty excited about this blogpost, last week I was at NVIDIA GTC in San Jose, California. I was invited by NVIDIA to come and talk about my experience with delivering 2D/3D apps with remote graphics solutions from Citrix. In this session I cover the history of remote graphic solutions from Citrix (XenDesktop, XenApp and XenServer) and whats possible to do today with the technologies and how the collaboration is together with NVIDIA. You get an understanding how to build the solution on a high level and then I tell about 4 real world examples, where you get key insights for determining if these solutions are the right for your company.
You will learn how Vestas have been using this technology with Citrix XenDesktop HDX 3D Pro since 2008, and how Ramboll uses this for several years and what they gained of implementing remote graphics solutions globally. The third case is a very excited story, which is a POC I did at an Oil client and in this case ,we used the new NVIDIA GRID K2 with Citrix XenDesktop HDX 3D Pro and Citrix XenApp HDX 3D + the new OpenGL GPU sharing feature and how this works together with thin clients and collaboration software from CISCO UC, so the business are able to take their 3D application from their desktop session, and share this to a collaboration room and then share this with multiple screens to multiple locations globally and work in 1 place with people and technology combined in place. Amazing stuff. The last case study is how Raysearch Lab have been using Citrix XenDesktop HDX 3D Pro to their clients for several years and how they make the world a better place with their software for cancer treatment.
I have had some amazing days at NVIDIA GTC 2013 where i did my presentation on how business adapt remote graphics solutions from Citrix.
The same week I did a Tech Talk webinar together with Yvonne Dresser, Sr Marketing Product Manager at Citrix HQ in Santa Clara. The topic we discussed Virtualizing 3D Professional Graphics Apps and. In this webinar you will learn how Citrix XenDesktop & XenApp can deliver remote graphics with 3D applications and how they can be virtualized in multiple layers from Servers to Desktops to Apps and how they can be delivered to any device from a PC to a tablet, phone or even a thin client.You will learn which graphic solutions from NVIDIA thats available and how the new NVIDIA GRID K1/K2 fits into these solutions from Citrix.
I covered the best practice part from the field i have experience in the years since 2008 and share this with the audience and we got 30 questions that we cover, so for me it was amazing having such a big audience attending and asking for very technical questions how to build these solutions and what the requirements are, whats available whats possible.
I have been testing this new feature and its truly amazing to see how powerfull this new feature works. You are now able to run multiple users that use 2D/3D CAD,CAM,CAE application on either bare metal attached with a GPU or with VM’s attached with a GPU with GPU pass-through (Citrix XenServer 6.x or VmWare vSphere 5.1) This lowers the cost dramatically and removes some load from the CPU, which some 2D/3D applications used if they supported software rasterizeof OpenGL and most important it delivers an amazing user experience for the user on any device on even poor bandwidth. Citrix XenDesktop HDX 3D Pro is still the top of the flagship when it comes to local user experience, because of the high frame rate it delivers and the deep compression codecs that works great over high latency connections and most important if customers requires 3DConnexion SpaceMouse, this special mouse is working with USB redirection with Citrix XenDesktop and this does not work with Citrix XenApp you have this requirement.
You can now build solutions with XenApp & NVIDIA GRID K1/K2 and increase the user density for the 2D/3D app workloads. Imagine you have 1 server with typically 2 NVIDIA GRID K2 cards. Virtualize the server with either Citrix XenServer 6.x or VmWare vSphere 5.1 and create 4 VM’s with Citrix XenApp 6.5 and attach each Citrix XenApp 6.5 VM’s to a GPU with GPU pass-through. So total 4 Virtual machines and the beauti comes here. Instead its 4 users accessing 4 VM’s you can max out the GPU and in many cases its the CPU cores thats the limitation or the memory or even more important the iOPS. Cause iOPS will be the bottleneck many times in these new solutions, so remember to design this properly. To measure the GPU, Memory, CPU, iOPS, Network load i recommend you use Microsoft Process Explorer this great tool can give you the numbers realtime.
I have made a video of the user experience with different OpenGL applications running on a virtualized Citrix XenApp 6.5 with Citrix XenServer 6.1 GPU pass-through to a NVIDIA GRID K2. I can tell you its truly amazing to see how powerfull this GPU is, the GRID K1/K2 are the GPU’s that will supports the upcoming VGX hypervisor from NVIDIA.
Comments from Citrix early Tech Preview participants have been very positive and informative:
I tested ten OpenGL applications including some Tier 2 apps/games with OpenGL GPU Sharing on XenApp 6.5 and it works brilliantly.
On a system with two NVIDIA Q4000 cards we ran 18 users (ten in one XenApp VM and eight in another VM) using a test app that works with ESRI ArcGIS, and we still had space for more.
Our customer purchased a new dedicated Dell server with an NVIDIA Quadro 6000 and we installed XenApp 6.5 with the OpenGL GPU Sharing feature add-on to test Dassault SolidWorks. The customer said this is “AWESOME”! They said it makes a huge difference; it looks and responds just like at the console. In some cases it performs better than their dedicated desktop systems! They are really impressed.
Running Dassault SolidWorks, Ansys Workbench and Fluent, our tests indicate that customers will hit a CPU limitation before they hit a GPU processing limit or GPU RAM issues. We first tested using an NVIDIA Quadro 4000 card. We got good performance numbers per GPU as the models are not overly complex. Scalability was 6 to 10 users per Q4000. With the new NVIDIA GRID K2 card it seems that the CPU will be the limiting factor. Currently our test XenApp servers have eight cores and around 16-32GB of RAM depending on the application.
We tested on the NVIDIA Quadro 6000 card (448 CUDA cores) with four users all running our most complex animation. The animation runs for 166 seconds with one user. With four users it took just three seconds longer! Considering our timing is manual stopwatch, the margin for error basically says no slowdown with four users. In fact, the Quadra 6000 was able to support 30 users running Dassault 3DVIA Composer Player with only minor slowdown. At 33 users a few users started to experience jerky motion, but the app was still usable. 40 sessions seems to be the limit. The GPU was maxed, not the video memory. My test case was users running the animation non-stop, whereas in real world usage the animation is like a training video and it has forced pause points, so real users would stop at times to read or do work. The point is that the test was harder on the graphics card than the real world is, yet we could run about 30 concurrent users on a Q6000.
More about the Citrix XenApp 6.5 OpenGL GPU Sharing Feature Add-on
OpenGL GPU sharing is a feature add-on to XenApp 6.5 to enable graphics processing unit (GPU) hardware rendering of OpenGL applications in Remote Desktop sessions. This functionality can be used on bare metal or virtual machines to increase application scalability and performance. The Citrix XenApp 6.5 OpenGL GPU Sharing Feature Add-on is available for download from http://www.citrix.com/downloads. Select Product > XenApp and Download Type > Components
HDX 3D allows graphics-heavy applications running on XenApp to render on the server’s GPU. By moving OpenGL rendering to the server’s GPU, the server’s central processing unit (CPU) is not slowed by graphics rendering. In addition, the server is able to process more graphics because the workload is split between the CPU and GPU. The XenApp 6.5 OpenGL GPU Sharing Feature Add-on requires no special settings, but is available only on servers with a GPU that supports a display driver interface (DDI) version of 9ex, 10, or 11.
You can install multiple GPUs on a XenApp server, either by installing a graphics card with more than one GPU, or by installing multiple graphics cards with one or more GPUs each. Mixing heterogenous graphics cards on the server is not recommended.
Note: Virtual machines require direct passthrough access to a GPU, which is available with Citrix XenServer or VMware vSphere. When HDX 3D is used in conjunction with GPU passthrough, each GPU in the server supports one multi-user XenApp virtual machine.
Most users do not require the rendering performance of a dedicated GPU, so OpenGL GPU Sharing enables multiple concurrent sessions to share GPU resources. This functionality does not depend any specific graphics card. When running on a hypervisor, select a hardware platform and graphics cards that are compatible with your hypervisor’s GPU passthrough implementation. The list of hardware that has passed certification testing with XenServer GPU Passthrough is available at hcl.vmd.citrix.com/GPUPass-throughDeviceList.aspx. When running on bare metal, XenApp distributes the user sessions across eligible GPUs; to guarantee that all installed GPUs are eligible, use identical GPUs. Scalability using OpenGL GPU Sharing depends on the applications being run, the amount of video RAM they consume, and the graphics card’s processing power. For example, scalability figures in the range of 8-10 users have been reported on NVIDIA Q6000 and M2070Q cards running applications such as ESRI ArcGIS. These cards offer 6 GB of video RAM. Newer NVIDIA GRID cards offer 8 GB of video RAM and significantly higher processing power (more CUDA cores). Other applications may scale much higher, achieving 32 concurrent users on a high-end GPU.
Note: Some applications handle video RAM shortages better than others. If the hardware becomes extremely overloaded, this could cause instability or a crash of the graphics card driver. Limit the number of concurrent users to avoid hitting the ceiling on resource allocation.
To install OpenGL GPU Sharing on a XenApp 6.5 server
The XenApp 6.5 OpenGL GPU Sharing Feature Add-on can be installed on any XenApp 6.5 system, regardless of which hotfixes are already installed. However, Citrix recommends that you install Hotfix Rollup Pack 1 or above before installing OpenGL GPU Sharing. This feature add-on is packaged with Microsoft Windows Installer 3.0 as a .msp file.
For more information about deploying .msp files, see Microsoft article 884016 or visit the Microsoft Web site and search on keyword msiexec. This installer program complies with Microsoft User Account Control (UAC). If UAC is enabled, you must run the installer program in elevated mode; that is, with administrative privileges enabled. For more information about UAC, see Microsoft TechNet or visit the Microsoft Web site and search on keyword UAC. To install this feature add-on successfully, servers must not have registry modification restrictions in place.
Citrix XenApp 6.5 OpenGL GPU Sharing Feature Add-on uses the Hotfix Rollup Pack Installation Wizard to install the feature add-on.
Copy the feature add-on package to an empty folder on the hard drive of the XenApp server.
To try experimental GPU acceleration for CUDA or OpenCL applications
Citrix XenApp 6.5 OpenGL GPU Sharing Feature Add-on also provides experimental support for GPU acceleration of CUDA and OpenCL applications running in a user session. This support is disabled by default, but you can enable it for testing and evaluation purposes.
To use the experimental CUDA acceleration features, enable the following Registry
Citrix have released a new version of AppDNA 6.2. This is a major software release and this versions contains many new features, lets dig in whats new:
What’s New in AppDNA 6.2
The AppDNA 6.2 release is focused on providing full support for Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, and Internet Explorer 10, support for App-V 5 and System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr) 2012, incremental loading of ConfigMgr data, Install Capture support for VMware vSphere 5.1, and reporting performance and usability improvements.
Full support for Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012
The Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 reports now have full general acceptance (GA) release status. You can switch these reports on in the Configure Modules Wizard. If you used the early access support in AppDNA 6.1 SP1 and want to take advantage of the new and improved algorithms, you need to re-analyze your applications.
AppDNA now captures more information about digital signatures when you import applications. Some of the Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 algorithms use this additional DNA in conjunction with the operating system (OS) DNA, to identify applications that will not run on Windows 8 and Server 2012 because of certificate trust issues. To take advantage of these algorithms for applications that you have already imported into AppDNA, you need to re-import the applications (in order to capture the additional DNA) and then run the analysis. For more information about the digital signature DNA, see Digital Signatures.
Full support for Internet Explorer 10 and other Internet Explorer improvements
The Internet Explorer 10 algorithms now have full GA status. These algorithms are within the Internet Explorer (IE) report and you can turn them on in the Configure Modules Wizard.
Algorithms – There are a number of new Internet Explorer 9 algorithms, which also apply to Internet Explorer 10. For a list of the new and changed algorithms, see Algorithm Changes. If you want to take advantage of the new and improved algorithms, you need to re-analyze your web applications.
OS images – The Internet Explorer report includes a number of algorithms that check the OS image. For example, some of the ActiveX algorithms check whether a particular ActiveX control has been registered in the OS image. You can now analyze applications for IE compatibility against multiple OS families. This is useful, for example, when analyzing for compatibility with Internet Explorer 10, which is supported on both Windows 7 and Windows 8.
Support for App-V 5.0
AppDNA 6.2 extends the existing App-V support with support for App-V 5.0.
Direct import of App-V 5.0 packages – Direct Import can now handle App-V 5.0 .appv packages. This means that you can now import applications directly into AppDNA using their .appv packages, like you can for App-V 4.6 .sft files.
Algorithms – There is not a separate report for App-V 5.0 – if you want to analyze your applications for compatibility with App-V 5.0, run the Configure Modules Wizard and select App-V 5.
App-V 5.0 has a new feature that enables the virtualized application to have more entry points to the base OS. For example, this means that applications can register themselves as the default email client or as a custom URI handler on the OS. A new algorithm has been introduced to test for this scenario in earlier versions of App-V where it is not supported. In addition, additional algorithms have been introduced to test for newer versions of Microsoft Office applications that are unsupported or that require special sequencing. For a summary of these new algorithms, see Algorithm Changes. To take advantage of these new algorithms, you need to re-analyze your applications.
Execution profile – AppDNA 6.2 comes with a new execution profile called App-V 5.0 Sequencer, which can sequence applications for App-V 5.0. See App-V 5.0 Sequencer Execution Profile for more information.
Improved integration with ConfigMgr and AD and support for ConfigMgr 2012
Support for ConfigMgr 2012 – AppDNA 6.2 introduces the ability to integrate with System Center Configuration Manager (ConfigMgr) 2012 and supports the new ConfigMgr application model for deploying applications, in addition to the legacy ConfigMgr package model for deploying applications. AppDNA 6.2 retains support for ConfigMgr 2003 and ConfigMgr 2007, and can handle integration with multiple versions of ConfigMgr. This is useful if you are implementing a phased migration to ConfigMgr 2012 and have two versions of ConfigMgr running in parallel.
New data load wizard – AppDNA 6.2 introduces a completely new wizard for loading Active Directory (AD) and ConfigMgr data into AppDNA. Designed for scalability, this has several advantages over the old feature it replaces. It has a more streamlined and attractive user interface and provides options to load only ConfigMgr data that has changed since last time, or to select applications and packages individually or in batches, by date, for example. These features provide support for loading data into AppDNA from large ConfigMgr sites. Like the old Import Data feature, you can run the wizard from within AppDNA or remotely – for example, on the ConfigMgr server. See Loading AD and ConfigMgr Data for more information.
Improved loading of ConfigMgr data – AppDNA now extracts only data that is relevant to AppDNA from the ConfigMgr server. In addition, the actual loading of the data into the AppDNA database has been improved not only to support loading data in batches, but also to conserve data that has not changed and to remove data that has been deleted in ConfigMgr. When removing deleted ConfigMgr items from the AppDNA database, any associated applications that have been imported into AppDNA are retained, but their links with the deleted ConfigMgr entities are removed.
ConfigMgr connectivity – The option to connect to ConfigMgr through a direct connection with the ConfigMgr database has been removed in favor of Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), which is recommended by Microsoft. Using WMI requires Distributed COM (DCOM) to be enabled on the local computer. For step-by-step instructions for enabling it, see Troubleshooting Extracting AD and ConfigMgr Data.
Connection settings – When you enter the connection details in the wizard, AppDNA automatically stores them in the Settings dialog box. This means that you only need to enter the details again if they change.
Install Capture support for VMware vSphere 5.1
You can now use a VMware vSphere 5.1 virtual machine for Install Capture (and for Forward Path tasks that automate the Install Capture process). This requires access to a fully licensed installation of vSphere 5.1, a virtual machine for the exclusive use of Install Capture, and a vSphere user account that provides permissions for advanced virtual machine operations through web services. The virtual machine must be configured to allow remote desktop connections and must have the VMware Tools installed. See Setting up a vSphere VM for Install Capture for more information.
AppDNA 6.2 introduces a new internal report view architecture, which can more easily handle very large application portfolios. This means that the reporting results are now faster to display within both the AppDNA desktop client and the web client. The performance improvement is particularly noticeable when displaying the results for very large numbers of applications.
In addition, there have been a number cosmetic changes to the report views to improve usability, provide a more attractive experience, and continue the Citrix re-branding that was started in AppDNA 6.0.
As a result of these changes, the old “Allow paging” reporting setting has been replaced by a “Default page size” setting. In addition a new “Show counts in PDF exports” setting has been introduced. See Reporting Settings for more information.
Improvements to the Configure AppDNA Environment wizard
In order to simplify the initial configuration of AppDNA, there have been some changes to the AppDNA Web Site Credentials step in the Configure AppDNA Environment wizard. The wizard now provides an option to automatically create and configure a local service account. This change may not be apparent to existing users unless you use the option to create a new database. See Create a New AppDNA Database for more information.
In addition, when you use this wizard to reset the website credentials – for example, after a password change – it now automatically performs an IIS reset if this is necessary.
Previous versions of AppDNA installed only the Snapshot execution profile. The other standard execution profiles had to be obtained separately. AppDNA 6.2 now installs all of the standard execution profiles. However, only Snapshot is activated by default. For a full list of the installed execution profiles and instructions for activating them, see Execution Profiles.
Multi-selection in the Application List
You can now select multiple adjacent and non-adjacent applications in the Application List screen and the Select Applications window in the Report Viewer. To do this, hold down CTRL and click the applications that you want to select (or click the first application and then hold down SHIFT and click the last application that you want to select). Then press CTRL+M to select those applications or CTRL+U to deselect them. (In the Application List, you can click the options on the Edit menu instead of pressing CTRL+M and CTRL+U.)
Although AppDNA 6.2 is not available in translated versions, it has been tested on Simplified Chinese, Japanese, Traditional Chinese, and German local language versions of Windows and has been found to provide general support for the following:
Installing and running AppDNA on local language versions of Windows.
Running AppDNA with local language versions of the applications with which it interacts (such as Microsoft Word, Adobe Reader, and Microsoft SQL Server).
Importing, analyzing, and reporting on applications that have names in local languages.
Using path names that contain characters in local languages.
However, there are some known issues. See Known Issues for more information.
New Help system – AppDNA 6.2 comes with an improved Help system. This has a navigation pane that facilitates browsing the contents of the Help system and finding related topics. With one or two exceptions, the structure mirrors the structure of the AppDNA 6.2 documentation on the Citrix eDocs website (http://support.citrix.com/proddocs/).
Updates – Both the Help documentation and the documentation on the Citrix eDocs website have been updated for this release. In addition to the changes for the new and updated features, there have been a number of other improvements. For example, the following are new or significantly improved:
See System Requirements for information about the supported operating systems and essential pre-requisites.
Note: In the next version of AppDNA, Citrix intends to change the required version of the Microsoft .NET Framework to Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0 for both the AppDNA server and desktop client. This means that you may need to install this framework before upgrading (depending on which version of Windows you are running).
Download Citrix AppDNA standard version here (Require MyCitrix ID)
Download Citrix AppDNA enterprise version here (Require MyCitrix ID)
Citrix have released a new version of ShareFile Sync for Mac 1.5
Whats new in 1.5
Starting in this version, Mac Sync will update itself when a new version is detected in sharefile.com. This is a transparent process where a user will only be prompted for an administrator’s password when certain files that require system changes are updated.
1) How often does it check for an update? Every day.
2) How do I disable this from my machine? This can only be as an account wide change done by an administrator.
3) How can an administrator disable this as a system wide setting for everyone in my company? Please contact the support team to disable this feature.
4) How do I manually trigger an update? Simply close ShareFile and open it again.
Enhanced Proxy Support
Mac Sync now supports additional proxy settings such as scripts and authentication requests.
When upgrading while 2 different sessions are running, and error is displayed in the sessions that is not up front.
Changing a password online doesn’t prompt the user for a new password.
SAML authentication is currently not supported for OSX versions 10.6.8 or earlier.
Non-admin installations are currently not supported.
The launch website option from the ShareFile Sync notification area icon does not function when using certain complex passwords.
Installing Citrix Receiver with the FMD plugin in combination with this release is not supported.
Download Citrix ShareFile Sync for Mac 1.5 here (Require MyCitrix ID)