Graphics firm Nvidia has introduced a platform tailored to accelerate graphics in cloud-based virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) environments, with the aim of delivering a desktop experience comparable to using a PC or workstation onto any mobile device.
Set to be available later this year, the Nvidia VGX platform uses a combination of hardware and software to virtualise GPU resources, allowing each server in a cloud computing environment to host multiple virtual desktop machines and provide each one with hardware accelerated graphics.
Nvidia chief executive Jen-Hsun Huang outlined the technologies that would allow the company's latest GPUs to drive virtual desktops during his keynote address at the firm's GPU Technology Conference (GTC) in California.
"We can make this technology highly pervasive so anyone in this audience can get a supercomputer in their hands," he said.
The platform comprises special Nvidia VGX graphics adapters that fit into a standard PCI Express slot in a server, plus the Nvidia VGX GPU Hypervisor, a software layer that integrates with commercial hypervisors such as Citrix XenServer and provides virtualised access to the GPU.
The first Nvidia VGX board design is configured with four of the new Kepler GPUs, each with 192 Nvidia CUDA architecture cores, plus 16GB of memory. It is claimed to be capable of supporting up to 100 virtual desktop users, according to the firm.
Nvidia allows the GPU resources available for each end user to be configured via User-Selectable Machine (USM) options, which make the VGX adapter take on the characteristics of specific Nvidia GPU types.
These include a standard configuration, Nvidia NVS or Nvidia Quadro, depending on each worker's role and the graphics requirements of the applications they have access to.
Kepler technology is Nvidia's "greatest technical achievement to date", according to the firm. It improves upon Nvidia's older Fermi technology to create more powerful and efficient chip architectures.
The technology has been given approval by industry analysts who said it could change the way virtual desktops are viewed in the enterprise market.
"It is a good advancement," said Gartner research director Brian Blau.
"[It is] stage one for enabling a cloud for the future and change how we think about desktop virtualisation."
The Nvidia VGX platform, including VGX boards, Nvidia GPU Hypervisor and USMs, will be available later this year via Nvidia's hardware and VDI partners.
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