Citrix and Nvidia are working to enable high performance 3D graphics for virtual desktop environments (VDI) by allowing virtual machines to run on Nvidia's Kepler GPU under XenDesktop.
The two firms announced at the Citrix Synergy event that Citrix's XenServer will support virtual machines running directly on the GPU in the next release, due in the third quarter of this year.
XenServer is Citrix's virtualisation technology that underpins the XenDesktop VDI platform. XenDesktop also runs on VMware and Microsoft's Hyper-V, but this GPU support will initially only be availble for deployments based on XenServer.
Nvidia's general purpose GPU compute (GPGPU) development has thus far been largely aimed at high performance computing (HPC). However, the firm is now aiming at the enterprise market with its Grid GPU virtualisation technology.
The firm unveiled its Grid VCA appliance at the GPU Technology Conference in March in order to support its Grid VGX virtual desktop software. At that event, the firm said it was working with hypervisor vendors to allow virtual machines to run directly on the GPU rather than on the CPU.
A technology preview of XenDesktop with support for Grid virtual GPU will be released this quarter, according to the two firms. Nvidia said it is working with other hypervisor vendors including Microsoft but that integration with Citrix's Xenserver was proceeding the fastest.
Nvidia is pitching its Grid VGX as a high performance virtual desktop that supports 3D rendering and offers the graphical capabilities of a standard local desktop. The Grid VGX software only works with its latest generation Kepler GPU cards.
Each XenDesktop user will have a 512MB frame buffer for either a Grid K1 or Grid K2 GPGPU card. Nvidia said its next generation chips will support larger frame buffers, implying that its next generation GPGPU cards will have more than 4GB or 6GB of GDDR5 memory.
Nvidia already has Cisco, Dell and IBM shipping Grid servers and indicated that HP will announce products this summer.
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