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According to Ovum research, the majority of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) deployments are Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop running on VMware vSphere. However, until now, this segment of the market has been unable to benefit from virtual graphics processing units (vGPUs) as a way to deliver enhanced user experience, particularly with graphical content. Nvidia and VMware have jointly announced that vSphere 6, released on March 13, supports the Nvidia vGPU technology.

High-end VDI deployments are now possible for more organizations, providing some key benefits

Adopting a VDI approach to “high-end” users represents the starting point for driving increased VDI adoption and solves three main business issues.

First, it enables the protection of corporate IP by keeping it centrally hosted but accessible to all its users. The perceived wisdom has always been that keeping the data as close to the processing as possible provides a performance benefit. Prior to Nvidia vGPUs, this meant running individual workstations. These workstations are used to operate on the corporate IP, but this means locating them where the engineer is, which could be in a foreign territory – representing an increased risk to IP.

Second, it addresses the need to recruit expensive engineering design talent who may not want to relocate just to work for a particular company. The vGPU enables these engineers to work from home on low-end consumer-grade devices and manipulate large computer-aided design (CAD)/computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) designs remotely. It therefore widens an organization’s access to talent.

Third, it increases the productivity of the engineers by eliminating the time taken to load large data models on remote workstations. This model-loading process can take hours on remote workstations, due to having to transfer the data from the data center to the workstation and the associated time to save the data. In a VDI approach, this data takes minutes to load, as it is done locally in the data center, and the model is worked on remotely. For some engineers this can save up to four hours a day.


Further reading

The Viability of VDI in 2015, IT0022-000281 (January 2015)


Roy Illsley, Principal Analyst, Infrastructure Solutions

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