Code pondering – Number 1: Swapping two integers

Having done a fair few academic computer science courses and various coding jobs in a past-life I found that it was often thinking about the smallest code snippets carefully that you pick-up the raw building blocks for good, safe and efficient code. I haven’t written much code recently so have been brushing up my basics.

Compilers are now so good and computers so powerful that in practice you can write pretty terrible code and still make a perfectly performant and functional application.

One famous code problem is to swap two numbers without using an additional temporary variable. So you use only the memory already storing the numbers without requiring extra for the temporary variable. Consider….

 

Method 1: Using a temporary variable

int temp;

int a = 6;

int b = 5;

 

temp = a;

a = b;

b = temp;

 

Method 2: Avoiding a temporary variable

int a = 6;

int b = 5;

 

a = a + b;

b = a – b;

a = a – b;

 

OK now let’s think about this harder, which method is better?:

  • Method 2 seems clever and no unnecessary memory used

But:

  • It’s far less readable
  • If you really are just swapping two integers the extra memory for a single integer is negligible
  • the sum (a+b) can larger than the addressable space of an integer so overflow could occur, i.e. (a+b) could wrap around and the algorithm break!
  • If using real or another data type you could pick up machine level errors
  • I suspect many modern compilers would take care of this for you
  • With method 1; a is safely stored in temp should something go wrong
  • Both methods use the same number of copies but the amount of checking required to ensure no overflow occurs on (a+b) and similar really is more trouble than it’s worth and would make the code look messy

So when would you avoid a temporary variable:

  • When you are certain your data is going to be well below half the capacity of the data type (e.g. int) – more relevant if looking at facetted data in real format; i.e. scenarios where you can safely avoid extra checks and code
  • When you don’t care about machine level noise
  • When it isn’t just two pieces of data but a vast array of data perhaps representing a frame buffer or screen

Of course, we can now go on to ponder how this code could be made fail safe…. But it’s amazing how three lines of code make you think a bit harder…. And another discussion is using pointers …

I’d be interested to hear whether people actually use Method 2 (other than those using EDSAC2) and how much can be relied on to be taken away by compilers… and whether people still think hard about such things…

 

 

Citrix Linux VDA now supports Ubuntu 16.04

Last year I wrote a blog on how to find out which Linux distributions are supported by VMware/Citrix, at the time I struggled to find some of the Citrix info as there wasn’t a master list in their documentation. With the recent 7.12 XenDesktop release though this changed and there’s now a nice clear list in the System Requirement Documentation (at the time of writing for 7.12), this reads:

  • SUSE Linux Enterprise:
    • Desktop 12 Service Pack 1
    • Server 11 Service Pack 4
    • Server 12 Service Pack 1
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux
    • Workstation 6.8
    • Workstation 7.2
    • Server 6.8
    • Server 7.2
  • CentOS Linux
    • CentOS 6.8
    • CentOS 7.2
  • Ubuntu Linux
    • Ubuntu Desktop 16.04
    • Ubuntu Server 16.04

It’s great to see the addition in 7.12 of support for Citrix users for the Ubuntu OS. It is important you use a supported _version_ to ensure support. There’s a really good overview of this addition and other details of the latest Linux VDA from the Citrix Product Manager for the product, Vipin Borkar, on the Citrix blog – worth a read, here.

VMware Linux VDA Support

For VMware there is similar documentation linked to from their Linux VDA home page in the “Horizon 7 for Linux FAQ”.

  • Which flavors of Linux are supported in the first release of Horizon 7 for Linux?
  • Ubuntu 12.04 and 14.04, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6.6 and 7.1, CentOS 6.6, and NeoKylin 6 Update 1 (Chinese), SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 SP3 are supported with Horizon 7 for Linux.

 

NVIDIA GRID Support

NVIDIA GRID vGPU technologies also support some Linux OS versions and distributions. These are a subset of those supported by VMware and Citrix so you need to also check that as well as using a supported OS for the Linux VDA in use that you also use a version supported by the vGPU technologies. The OS versions and genres supported for each hypervisor are listed in release notes for the driver for each hypervisor, these are available in the driver download but have been added to NVIDIA’s knowledge base for certain releases, e.g.

 

If you are mixing vendors for VDI and hypervisor, e.g. Citrix XenDesktop on VMware ESXi you will also want to double check the hypervisor and Linux VDA support matrices overlap.

 

XenServer Support for Linux Guest OSs

This is documented in the “Citrix XenServer® Virtual Machine User’s Guide” for the relevant version of XenServer e.g. for 7.0, here: http://docs.citrix.com/content/dam/docs/en-us/xenserver/xenserver-7-0/downloads/xenserver-7-0-vm-users-guide.pdf

 

ESXi/vSphere Support for Linux Guest OSs

Supported Linux OSs are listed in the “VMware Compatibility Guide”: https://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php?deviceCategory=software

 

Case studies in Education – NVIDIA GRID

There are now so many GRID case studies both from NVIDIA and the vast number of partners involved including:

  • OEMS (Cisco, Dell, Lenovo, Supermicro, HPE…)
  • Storage/HCI/SDN vendors: Atlantis, Nutanix, NetApp, EMC…
  • Virtualisation and protocol vendors: Citrix, Microsoft, VMware, Teradici…

And so many use cases, applications deployed…. That frankly I can’t keep track or remember the specifics so I’ve set myself up an index to track these by industry:  https://virtuallyvisual.wordpress.com/useful-links/remote-graphics-case-studies/

Taking Education as an example I’ve collated a vast list in a format where I can use ctrl-f to find a specific app or server… below are all the ones I’ve collated to date, split by VMware / Citrix….

Education and Citrix

  • Butler County Community College. Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp. VMware vSphere. SolidWorks, AutoDesk Building Design Suite, Adobe® Creative Cloud. NVIDIA Case Study.
  • Drake University; Citrix XenApp, XenDesktop and XenServer. Dell R720 servers. Esri ArcGIS. NVIDIA GRID K2. NVIDIA Case Study
  • Georgia Tech. Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp, XenServer, Hyper-V. NVIDIA vGPU. AutoCAD, SolidWorks, NX, PTC Creo and CATIA; NetApp and EMC ExtremIO; Dell. NVIDIA GTC2015 Video; Citrix Case Study;
  • Istanbul Aydin University (IAU). Citrix XenDesktop; Autodesk applications including AutoCAD and Adobe; VMware vCenter; Dell R720; NVIDIA GRID; 1000 Users; BYOD; Dell Case Study
  • The Meijin Company; Moscow State Technical University. Citrix XenDesktop and XenServer; Meijin Custom Servers Intel Xeon E5-2640v2 CPUs. NVIDIA QUADRO K4000. Solidworks, Autodesk, 3D Studio Max, Maya, Inventor, and AutoCAD, and Chaos Group V-Ray. NVIDIA Case Study.
  • Northern Arizona University. Citrix XenDesktop and XenServer. NVIDIA vGPU. Dental devices with USB pass-through. Autodesk, ArcGIS, Google Earth. Dell Wyse thin-clients. Citrix Case Study. NVIDIA Blog
  • Roger Williams University. Citrix XenDesktop, XenServer, NVIDIA K2 GRID vGPU. R720 Dell Servers. Autodesk AutoCAD and Revit, Adobe Creative Suite. Architecture School. NVIDIA PDF;
  • Stevens Institute of Technology; Citrix XenServer, XenDesktop and XenApp; HP WS640c Gen8;  NVIDIA Quadro K3100M and GRID K1; Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks, Mathworks Matlab, and Adobe® Creative Suite®;  NVIDIA Case Study
  • St Lawrence Academy; Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp and XenServer. Dell PowerEdge R720. NVIDIA GRID K1. Adobe Creative Cloud. NVIDIA Case Study
  • Ufa State Aviation Technical University, Russia; Citrix XenServer and XenDesktop. IBM servers, Autodesk Inventor 2013, 3D Studio MAX 2014. NVIDIA GRID K2 GPU pass-through. NVIDIA Case Study;
  • Villanova University; Citrix XenDesktop + VMWare vSphere; NVIDIA vGPU GRID K1. Autodesk AutoCAD and SketchBook Designer, PTC Mathcad, MathWorks Matlab, Dassault Solidworks; NVIDIA Case Study;
  • York County School Division (VA); serving nearly 13,000 K-12 students, BYOD, streaming video/apps. How Virtualization and BYOD Help Students Learn Anywhere, Anytime — THE Journal

Education and VMware

  • Austin Community College. VMware Horizon and View and vSphere. Apple Macs. Thin-clients. Dell R720, NVIDIA GRID K1, Dell Wyse D10DP Thin-clients. General office and academic applications, streaming video, Google Hangouts. NVIDIA Case Study
  • Butler County Community College. Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp. VMware vSphere. SolidWorks, AutoDesk Building Design Suite, Adobe® Creative Cloud. Cisco B200 M3 and C240 M3. Wyse Xenith 1-3’s and old desktop PCs used as thin and zero clients. GRID K2 cards. NVIDIA Case Study.
  • Corona-Norco School District; Cisco UCS C-series; Nimble Storage CS700; NVIDIA GRID K1; Autodesk AutoCAD; BYOD support; VMware vSphere 6 and Horizon View 6.2; Cisco Case Study.
  • 4 Leading Colleges & Universities Transform Engineering Programs with VMware Horizon & NVIDIA GRIDVMware Case Studies including additional videos
  • Kempenhorst College; VMware Horizon View, vSPhere, vRealize and ThinApp; IBM Servers and blades. NVIDIA GRID; Applications including AutoCAD, Solidworks, Pinnacle; Samsung thin clients; Pure Storage SAN; Veeam Backup; Dutch Language VMware Case Study.
  • La Cité College, Canada; VMware vSphere, Horizon, ThinApp and vCloud; Autodesk Suite, AutoCAD Mechanical/Civil 3D, Architectural, Autodesk Revit, SketchBook, 3DS Max; PTC Creo 2; Mastercam CAD; Bentley Systems. Dell R720, NVIDIA GRID K1/K2; Dell Compellent storage. 1000 users (550 repurposed workstations; 450 Dell zero thin-clients). VMware Case Study. VMware Video.
  • Little Rock School District. VMware Horizon View and vSphere. Autodesk Inventor, RobotC, various web and Flash applications. NVIDIA GRID K2. Wyse P25 zero clients & Dell Chromebooks. NVIDIA Case Study.
  • Meridian Technology Centre. VMware Horizon View and vSphere. Dell R720, NVIDIA GRID K2. Autodesk Inventor and Revit, Google Earth. NVIDIA Case Study.
  • NC State University – VMware Horizon View, vSphere, High-availability, vMotion and Distributed Resource Scheduler; Dell servers; NVIDIA GPUs (vDGA and vSGA). Naval ROTC Training Simulator deployment for U.S Navy, SolidWorks, AutoCAD, and other products in the Autodesk portfolio for faculty and student projects including simulations and fluid dynamics. Security. VMware Case Study. End points include low-resource laptops and mobile.
  • UCS Viterbi School of Engineering; VMware Horizon View, vSphere; Dell R720 and R730; End-clients: Various desktop, laptop, and mobile devices; Thin and zero clients. NVIDIA GRID K1 and K2 GPUs; BYOD; Autodesk Maya® 2015, Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS® 2015, Siemens PLM Solid Edge ST, NX Nastran and NX, and MSC Software Adams and Nastran. Autodesk AutoCAD, Revit, Civil 3D, Adobe® Creative Cloud® 2015, and MATLAB. CIO Insight Article; NVIDIA Case Study
  • UMMAS – University of Massachusetts Lowell; Dassault SolidWorks, Autodesk Moldflow and AutoCAD, Esri ArcGIS, Adobe Creative Cloud, ACD/ChemSketch, MathWorks MATLAB, and more than 70 others for engineering departments; BYOD access for Chromebook, iPad and any PC. NVIDIA GRID. VMware Horizon and vSphere and vApps. VMware Case Study; NVIDIA Video.
  • Villanova University; Citrix XenDesktop + VMWare vSphere; NVIDIA vGPU GRID K1. Autodesk AutoCAD and SketchBook Designer, PTC Mathcad, MathWorks Matlab, Dassault Solidworks; NVIDIA Case Study;

NVIDIA GRID and Microsoft Windows Server OSs and Hyper-V

Just a quick blog to clear up some FAQs on Microsoft Hyper-V support and NVIDIA GRID.

The GRID 4.1 release support matrix details support for Windows Server OSs. Windows Server OSs also include the Hyper-V role and support for the Hyper-V hypervisor.

Baremetal Support for Windows Server OSs

Bare metal (when a single version of an OS is installed directly on a server) is a popular choice for many customers especially those using RDSH remoting solutions such as Citrix XenApp. Some GRID cards e.g. M60, M10 carry multiple GPUs and Microsoft OSs are limited in their support for multiple GPUs on bare metal. GRID options do exist:

  • M6 support for Windows Server OSs – as the M6 (blade) GRID card has a single GPU this card is fully supported for baremetal use with the documented versions of Microsoft Server
  • Cards with multiple GPUs can be used with Windows Server OS but due to the current limitations
    • M60 / M10 are not supported as boot/primary device on Windows. NVIDIA support it as a secondary device, where some other GPU must be available as the primary. On OS earlier than Server 2012 / Windows 8, the primary GPU must have a vendor WDDM driver, otherwise the NVIDIA driver will not load. Any software / apps being run must be able to handle using non-primary GPUs; not all software does (AutoCAD < 2017, for example).
  • Older K1 / K2 cards are support as the primary device
    • In this scenario on a K1 card, one GPU will be the primary and the other GPUs will be available as secondaries to applications designed to leverage secondary GPUs e.g. RemoteFX is one such application.

Full details are given in the GRID support matrix: https://griddownloads.nvidia.com/flex/GRID_4_Product_Support_Matrix.pdf

DDA Support and Hyper-V

Deploying a hypervisor allows multiple copies (or even multiple OS varieties) to be installed on a server, each within its own VM. As such deploying a hypervisor allows GRID cards with multiple GPUs to be utilized whereby each VM can access a one of the GPUs available. NVIDIA and Hyper-V currently support only one physical GPU passed through per VM. So on a M60 card with 2 GPUs, two copies of Windows Server should be run to fully utilize the card with DDA.

DDA for Hyper-V is the equivalent of GPU pass-through/vDGA available for Citrix/VMware. Hyper-V support was introduced to Tesla passthough drivers in the R375 driver branch. DDA can be used to associate a VM running Windows Server OS with a GPU on a multi-GPU board.

With DDA (and similar PCIe passthrough technologies) the VM leverages the GPU vendors driver to get access to the native GPU drivers and capabilities such as support for the latest versions of OpenGL, DirectX, OpenCL, CUDA etc. The latest level of support for such technologies for the GRID supported Tesla GPU products such as M60, M10, M6 etc can be found in the vGPU user guide, see http://images.nvidia.com/content/grid/pdf/GRID-vGPU-User-Guide.pdf.

Support for the Hyper-V role is included in the Windows Server support detailed in: https://griddownloads.nvidia.com/flex/GRID_4_Product_Support_Matrix.pdf

Direct Device Assignment (DDA) was new Windows Server 2016 Hyper-V feature enabling PCI-Express devices to be passed directly to a VM, specifically GPUs and NVMe storage devices. With DDA passing a GPU to a VM it enables the native GPU driver to be used within the VM and all capabilities of that driver such as DirectX 12 and CUDA (at the time of writing RemoteFX supports Direct11 but not 12). With DDA you cannot share the GPU between VMs, it is assigned directly to a specific VM; it is directly equivalent to GPU pass-through and vDGA on Citrix XenServer and VMware ESXi/vSphere. Additionally the guest must be Windows 10, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2016 or a supported Linux distribution.

NVIDIA GRID Drivers for Hyper-V DDA

These can be obtained for the M6, M60 and M10 GRID cards via the customer login portal, see: http://nvidia.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/4120/

ddadriverlocation.png

NVIDIA GRID licensing for Hyper-V DDA

This is the same as licensing for pass-through/vDGA on Citrix XenServer/VMware ESXi respectively (see: http://images.nvidia.com/content/pdf/grid/guides/GRID-Packaging-and-Licensing-Guide.pdf). For passthrough VDI VMs on Citrix XenDesktop a vWs license is required, whilst when used with XenApp/RDSH solutions a per user vWS or vApp license is required depending upon whether Quadro features are needed (see my blog on the equivalent licensing for XenApp upon passthrough, see https://virtuallyvisual.wordpress.com/2016/09/05/nvidia-grid-rdsh-licensing-including-xenapp/

Microsoft RemoteFX Support

The RemoteFX protocol is able to leverage GRID GPUs and can be used as an alternative to Citrix/VMware VDI access to VMs. Microsoft RemoteFX is currently licensed as a vPC feature vPC license per CCU, details can be found in NVIDIA GRID PACKAGING AND LICENSING GUIDE, when used without DDA.

Customers are also able to leverage RemoteFX in conjunction with Citrix VDI technologies although the Citrix HDX/ICA protocols are often more appropriat ein a Citrix environments. Customers looking to do this should consult Citrix Support for advice, see https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX129509.

RemoteFX’s use of GPUs is confusingly often called vGPU, this is completely different to NVIDIA GRID vGPU (which pertains to sharing a GPU between multiple VMs). The system requirements, DirectX support and limitations are detailed by Microsoft, see: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/16652.remotefx-vgpu-setup-and-configuration-guide-for-windows-server-2012.aspx

RemoteFX has been available for a long while on many legacy versions of Windows. Improvements in releases during 2016 included support for DirectX11, OpenGL 4.4, OpenCL 1.1, 4k resolution, and Windows Server virtual machines (see https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server-docs/compute/remote-desktop-services/rds-whats-new)

RemoteFX vs DDA

There are a lot of user blogs and experience that might help you choose if RemoteFX or DDA is the most appropriate way to use a GPU for your licensing and application needs. E.g.:

As with all hypervisors pass-through/PCIe technologies such as DDA have limited hypervisor support for some features:

  • Monitoring from the hypervisor of the GPU is not possible, only in-guest
  • Features like High-availability, live snapshots, VM migration are not possible

Hardware Compatibility List

Microsoft publish a list of GPUs supported for use with Windows Server OS, customers should verify that the version of Windows Server OS they are using supports the use of the specific NVIDIA GPU they are using in the Windows Server Catalogue.

Customers should verify that their Server is certified for use with NVIDIA GRID to ensure support. The list of GRID supported servers can be found on the NVIDIA GRID web pages, here: http://www.nvidia.com/object/grid-certified-servers.html

Citrix and Hyper-V

Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop both provide versions that support the use of Hyper-V as an alternative to other hypervisor options supported (such as VMware ESXi, Citrix XenServer, Nutanix Acropolis AHV) and Citrix XenApp supports the use of Windows Server OSs in bare metal scenarios. See the Citrix Support Matrix for details: https://www.citrix.co.uk/products/xenapp-xendesktop/feature-matrix.html.

Microsoft Azure N-series

These VM’s from Azure leverage the Hyper-V DDA functionality. The demand has been significant and even in “available” regions there has been over-demand so availability may be limited. I’ve previously blogged about options to leverage this and some details for those wishing to including Citrix XenApp, fra.me and Teradici Cloud Access Software.

https://virtuallyvisual.wordpress.com/2016/12/08/a-few-faqs-on-azure-n-series-inc-do-azure-n-series-vms-include-nvidia-grid-software-license/

When using Azure N-series, customers should source the supported drivers via Azure and the process as documented by Microsoft for Azure.

Feedback

Within minutes I started getting questions on twitter… so as it comes in I’ll add my best effort answers… ideally though post any questions in the comments below… twitter is not the easiest way to respond!

Q: So does support up to 64 sessions (M10)) on a XenApp VM with ?

A: There isn’t a session limit with XenApp GPU-sharing (this also applies to all pass-through technologies doing GPU-sharing). With 4 GPUs on an M10 you would use 4 Server OS VMs using DDA. The number of sessions allowed on each GPU is not limited by the technology but the raw GPU capacity and performance demands of the applications. Many XenApp users may find better densities using an M60 card, if you have lots of CAD/video/media users but for a boost to windows aero and 2D-apps I suspect the M10 could reach the densities you want. GPU-sharing densities were covered when this technology was first launched for XenApp on XenServer with pass-through (see https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2013/02/22/how-many-users-can-share-a-gpu/).

VMWare ESXi announce High Availability (HA) for NVIDIA GRID vGPU VMs with vSphere 6.5

I was very pleased yesterday to see Pat Lee from VMware’s PM team tweet about this yesterday…

patleetweet

It’s something we knew VMware had added to vSphere 2016, vSphere 2016 supported in the GRID 4.1 (Nov 2016) release. As a VMware implemented feature this was something we at NVIDIA had to wait for them to announce. I think there have been a few problems with the documentation update staging which is why this has been a rather quiet feature release. I’ll update this blog with links to the documentation when it becomes available which should be soon!

But since Pat has let the cat out of the bag…. Probably best to answer a few basic questions straing away.

What is High Availability (HA)?

Basic HA is a feature to ensure VMs are up and running as soon as possible in the event of host failure. The VM will automatically restart as soon as possible on another host if one is available with sufficient resources. So for vGPU enabled VMs that means on a host with an appropriate GPU etc. Although the user will experience some down-time where possible this is minimized without the need for manual intervention by a system administrator.

Guaranteed High Availability…

This can be provided by HA features by allowing resources to be resourced such as RAM/CPU on hosts e.g. maybe 15% of a hosts capacity, which allows a guarantee that resource will be available to restart VMs upto a certain number of host failures. I believe that VMware’s configuration does not extend to configuring GPU resource reservation and so the support announced today will not offer guaranteed HA. It is a feature VMware could add in the future though if they saw sufficient demand, it is not a feature engineered by NVIDIA.

Can HA provide continual up-time?

No, not alone. Many hypervisors though offer Fault Tolerance (FT) which can provide such support, this is a very expensive feature to use as it relies on running essentially a duplicate VM on mirrored hardware which is phase-locked to the original (i.e. milliseconds behind), in the event of failure the user is switched to the duplicate with only a momentary glitch in user experience. It’s a feature essentially only used in a few safety / mission critical use cases as it’s so costly to implement.

So is Fault Tolerance (FT) supported for vGPU?

No not today, the technology to continually essentially snapshot a live GPU is not available. This is also a pre-requisite for live migration/motion e.g. vMotion and also regular snapshots.

The Future

NVIDIA and all the partners such as Citrix and VMware appreciate that live motion and snapshotting are key enterprise datacenter needs so we continue to work towards making such technology happen (it’s very technically hard I’m told!). We all know what you want and what you want our priorities to be!!!

NVIDIA GRID is architected with a software model which gives us the ability to add additional support for new OSs for customers existing hardware allowing them to pick up new features.

A few FAQs on Azure N-series inc. Do Azure N-Series VMs include NVIDIA GRID software license?

Last week I was at the UK Citrix User Group in London on December 1st 2016, the day Azure launched a new series of graphics focused. There is an NVIDIA blog as well as a Microsoft one overviewing the technology. Whilst I was there CTP Thomas Poppelgaard and others asked a few questions that I couldn’t answer on the spot, so this blog is a bit of an update for them.

The interest in Azure N-Series which use NVIDIA GRID GPUs via DDA (Direct Device Assignment – essentially pass-through) has been incredible and quite a few questions have come up already.

What regions have N-Series availability?

Check at the time of reading, but initially on 1st Dec 2016 the N-series was launched in 4 regions: South Central US, East US, West Europe and South East Asia. You can check the availability and pricings here: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/details/virtual-machines/windows/

Are NVIDIA GRID Software Licenses included in the pricing?

I went back and asked the Product Manager for this release and I’m told that if using VDI (e.g. for Citrix XenDesktop) then yes they are included within the Azure pricing and there is no need to buy additional NVIDIA GRID software licenses.

However if using a RDSH solution such as XenApp. End-users are required to purchase NVIDIA GRID vApps licenses per session, I believe this is because currently Azure doesn’t have the mechanism to bill for this in their current implementation, that may of course change in the future though. You can find out more about NVIDIA GRID Licensing in the guides available under “Resources->Deployment Guides” on the NVIDIA GRID home page, here.

I have struggled to find documentation on this though – so if anyone has a link! That would be useful! I’ll update this blog when I find one!

So I can use XenApp with Azure N-series?

Yes, although not the requirement to purchase vApps Licenses. Citrix themselves are very enthusiastic about this option and have published some excellent blogs, deployment guides etc. See:

Can I use Teradici Cloud Access Software on Azure N-series?

I believe so and NGCA Marius Sandbu has been trialing this already http://msandbu.org/test-run-of-teradici-cloud-access-software-on-azure-n-series/; Marius works intensely with Azure and has been part of the N-series early access program so I’d highly recommend reading his other blogs.

Can I use fra.me with Azure N-Series?

Yes, fra.me who specialize in CAD and graphical application delivery have done some great work in conjunction with NVIDIA’s own performance engineering teams to investigate ESRi ArcGIS and AutoDesk Revit performance on N-Series. Read here: https://blog.fra.me/a-first-look-microsoft-azure-n-series-vs-aws-g2-instance-type-9930c5b1a644#.2a2yh15so

Autodesk Applications – Anywhere, Anytime Mobility on Any Device! Powered by NVIDIA GRID technologies.

greendrafters1-300x225NVIDIA GRID vGPU was launched in 2013 to enable applications to virtualize GPU resource and share GPUs to enable super-responsive graphics at a cost-effective price. Autodesk applications benefit greatly from GPU acceleration and over the last 3 years we’ve seen a huge number of customers deploy Autodesk applications such as Maya, Inventor, Moldflow, Revit and Autocad with our technologies.

This week NVIDIA is yet again at the amazing Autodesk University and I thought it would be nice to highlight some of the benefits of these technologies via a review of 4 of my personal favourite real customer implementations and stories and what they achieved virtualizing Autodesk applications.

 

  • Allow university students doing course work with Autodesk applications to do their coursework on their own laptops (Macs, Chromebooks, Windows laptops) or even their iPad from wherever they want without compromising security.

For many Autodesk users a choice of end-point is vital. Students want to remotely log in to use software for course work on their own Chromebooks, Apple Macs, tablets, laptops etc. BYOD is a huge driver for virtualizing Autodesk software.  Istanbul Aydin University (IAU) have recently deployed an NVIDIA GRID deployment to 1000 users using Citrix XenDesktop and VMware vCenter on Dell R720 servers. You can read more about the BYOD driving factors that drove the project here in this Dell Case Study.

Professional AEC users and designers also often have their own preferences for iMacs or even Linux workstations and love the ability to run Windows applications on their workstation or laptop of choice. Many companies already have lots of hardware so the flexibility to repurpose it as an end-point has cost benefits too!

 

  • Architects (AEC) able to buy cloud services rather than run and maintain hardware so can quickly adapt to changing projects.

dwp|suters are an architectural firm headquartered in Australia who operate in 15 countries.  With one  option being a very costly hardware upgrade  this company decided instead to implement a Citrix XenApp DaaS solution from a service provider on HP servers. It’s worth reading the Citrix Case Study as it covers how as well as savings it allowed dwp|suters to work in a completely different way freeing them from IT management and allowing them to scale their business, take on new projects rapidly and build a larger distributed team with enhanced security and data backup benefits too.

 

  • How Autodesk with NVIDIA GRID is simply the power behind amazing world renowned AEC and BIM projects including Olympic Stadiums!

Populous has created some of the most recognisable sporting venues, including Wembley Stadium in London, the new Yankee Stadium in New York, Soccer City in South Africa, and the Fisht Stadium in Sochi, which was the focal point of the 2014 Winter Olympics. The firm used VMware Horizon View and vSphere together with NVIDIA GRID K1 and K2 to virtualize AutoDesk Revit alongside other AEC applications. You can read more here: NVIDIA Case Study or even watch this VMware Video;

 

 

  • Enables designers, engineers and users to work remotely, flexibly and differently.

At Citrix Synergy in the spring of 2014 (NVIDIA GRID’s been around a while!), I saw one of the most fascinating demos of NVIDIA GPUs running Citrix XenApp to deliver Autodesk REVIT. XenApp (or similar RDSH solutions) can be a really cost effective and user-satisfying way to deliver Autodesk applications on VMware vSphere, Citrix XenServer or physical servers using NVIDIA GPUs.

This demo wasn’t so much about the underlying cost of the technologies though but end-user experience and utility. NVIDIA commissioned a real CAD drafter to design a house over three days at Synergy using our GRID GPU technology; this meant that you could go back time-after-time and watch how it had progressed and the various stages of design from 2D plans to 3D rendering and ray-tracing. It was a fascinating insight into the design process and I was delighted to find a blog by the designer himself on the GreenDrafters blog, here.

Designers are by their nature demanding and sensitive to the user-experience and I was delighted to see his comments:

  • “The short answer is that I was blown away.”
  • “The bottom line is that I did not notice any performance degradation between my personal workstation and the NVIDIA GRID K2 VDI”

I was also excited to see how the designer himself started imagining working differently, better, with virtualisation technologies:

  • “What I did notice was the simple thin client on my desk that took up far less space, needed far fewer cables, and caused far less clutter than my workstation.”
  • “I could use my Macbook Air or possibly even an Ipad to continue the design work away from my office, maybe at a Starbucks.”
  • “I also realized the intriguing potential of client/designer collaboration at the job site. Tweaking the design with the client in Revit, on-site. Now that is cool.”

 

 

Interested? Come and talk to NVIDIA at Autodesk University this week

Learn how designers can create from any connected device and location with NVIDIA GRID, which will be running Autodesk Revit 2016, 123D Design, AutoCAD, Inventor and other applications on VMware Horizon with vSphere. See our side-by-side comparison and discover how GPU-accelerated cloud services such as Autodesk’s Fusion 360 can offer 3D CAD, CAM and CAE tools on a single cloud-based platform with twice the performance of the CPU.

We’re also helping lead some informative AU classes:

 

 

Visit the BOXX, Dell, HP and Lenovo booths to see how our partners use NVIDIA graphics technologies to deliver the best performance and visual experience for Autodesk users. And be sure to follow us on Twitter on @NVIDIAGRID and @NVIDIA_MFG for the latest on our activities at AU or follow #AU2016.

 

There will also be plenty of other NVIDIA technologies and exciting demos at #AU2016 including Photorealistic rendering, Virtual Reality as well as Quadro and workstation products.

 

Can’t make it? There’s plenty of other ways to learn more: