get ready for tech preview of NVIDIA GRID vGPU to XenServer and Citrix XenDesktop 7 VDI

At Citrix Synergy in May 2013, I was so excited to see CEO of Citrix & NVIDIA showing, how people can virtualize high performance graphical intense applications with Citrix XenDesktop 7 HDX 3D Pro, XenServer with vGPU support and NVIDIA GRID K2.

vGPU isn’t released yet, but  it’s soon time for true hardware virtualization of the GPU. NVIDIA GRID GPU’s are the “only” GPU’s available on the marked, thats build for cloud computing. What I mean with build for cloud computing, is that the GPU’s have multiple GPU’s build onboard and soon a software component “vGPU” from NVIDIA will be released to XenServer, which enables hardware virtualization of the GPU and reduce the cost and density for high performance workloads. Each virtual machine gets its own reserved GPU ressources of the GPU, before it was a 2:1 with the K2 soon its 8:1 maybe more.. time will tell 😉

If you got a NVIDIA GRID K1 or K2 running in your environment and you would like to virtualize the GPU and get access to the vGPU, please follow next step:
Advice: You need a XenServer as your chosen Hypervisor, vSphere and Hyper-V is not supported with vGPU.

How do you get access to the vGPU:

  1. XenDesktop 7 deployed with XenServer 6.2.  Both of these pieces you can obtain today, and on September 27th Citrix will release a tech preview add-on pack with the technologies to fully enable vGPU access for Windows desktop VDI workloads, extending our high performance GPU sharing capabilities beyond Windows Server RDS workloads.  When you look at the combined solution you’ll find there are some immediate benefits.  The most notable is that with the combined solution applications interact directly with NVIDIA drivers, not hypervisor drivers.  This means greater application compatibility, and greater performance with large 3D models.  Plus it doesn’t hurt that we’re able to natively support the latest versions of both DirectX and OpenGL out of the box. This will be true hardware vGPU with professional graphics performance benefits differentiating it from software vGPU and API intercept technologies such as Remote FX and vSGA which address less demanding 3D use cases like Aero effects and PowerPoint slide transitions
  2. Servers capable of running the NVIDIA GRID K1 or K2 cards. We’ve been working with the major hardware vendors and NVIDIA to bring a new generation of servers optimised for these technologies to market, multi-slot servers capable of supporting NVIDIAs best GPUs . Only a year ago Boeing’s engineers were dedicating a single server to a one user, today the possibilities got a whole lot wider.  Here are some server options to start with, and others do exist.

These new servers will support up to 12 GPUs, and with multiple users sharing each GPU, we expect these servers to support tens if not hundreds of users. Bringing the cost of ownership of a GPU enabled desktop within the range of entirely new markets and applications

Using XenServer vGPU capabilities, applications interact with an NVIDIA driver directly, not a XenServer one.  That means application vendors don’t need to recertify their applications to run with both NVIDIA and Citrix display adapters to leverage the power of XenDesktop 7 with high performance graphics.  Once certified with an NVIDIA driver, users can have every confidence that their applications will also work when accessed remotely via XenDesktop


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