Virtual desktops offer centralized management, lower maintenance costs, improved security, and remote access to superior storage and computing capabilities. Historically, however, they were limited by the inability to handle the graphics-intensive computing needs of designers, engineers, and scientists. The graphics processing requirements of computer-aided technologies (CAx), limited graphics API support, and the inability to share physical GPUs all made it unfeasible to use virtual desktops as graphics workstations. The latest generation of hardware-based graphics acceleration technology from VMware and NVIDIA makes this task not only feasible but practical, by moving the required functionality from the individual workstation to the data center, making immersive 3D graphics available to remote users. This solution enables users with the most demanding graphics needs, such as 3D engineering applications, to take advantage of the superior computing, storage, and networking power of the data center while freeing them from the limitations of the physical workstation.
The tests conducted as part of this reference architecture highlight the more than acceptable performance characteristics of 3D and engineering benchmarks and applications when running on a virtual desktop. The key elements that make this solution possible are graphics cards compatible with GPU virtualization, that is, NVIDIA GRID K1 and K2 cards, and the supporting virtualization infrastructure for View desktops supplied by VMware vSphere® and VMware Horizon® 6.
Customers can choose among three hardware-based graphics acceleration options:
- Virtual Dedicated Graphics Acceleration (vDGA)
- Virtual Graphics Processing Unit (vGPU)
- Virtual Shared Graphics Acceleration (vSGA)