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ArcGIS Pro is popular GIS software choice designed and released in the last year or so. It brings together 2D and 3D visualization and spatial analysis in a 64-bit multi-threaded application with a state-of-the-art rendering engine that uses DirectX and OpenGL designed with GPUs in mind. Last week, I was lucky enough to hear how scientists and engineers at a real customer, Southwest Florida Water District (SWFWMD) uses ArcGIS in Virtual Environments (VMware Horizon on Cisco C240 hardware). The webinar promised to cover:
- Best practices for testing, configuring, and sizing your environment
- How to deliver a great experience for your ArcGIS Pro users
- The best way to deploy ArcGIS Pro with NVIDIA GRID and VMware Horizon
In practice it did that and far more, it was fascinating to here really specific details about not just the technologies but the customer and how water resources are managed and how GIS software helps:
- Water is such a precious (literally essential for life) resource and yet all over the world there are severe challenges caused by too little, too much, pollution, politics, conflicting pressures and competing demands. The webinar is fascinating as SWFWMD discussed the range data from which they generate simulations and make planning decisions, geological data, water pumping and extraction data, rainfall and weather, surface water flow and data on water transport through geology; they also discussed how this data is collected via sensors, other data collection agencies and regulation on those pumping and extracting water. I learned so much!
- The problems and conflicting demands and the effects of the planning SWFWMD were staggering, their work dictates where people can live safe from flooding, ensures their water supplies are not jeopardized by contamination and dictates the economic viability of areas for industries with water demands in manufacturing processes.
- How mixed the application workloads and roles people do in an organization like SWFWMD are. Including 2D, light-3D and heavy 3D users, ranging from ordinary office workers, scientists performing heavy simulations and planners needing viewing and review capabilities of large data sets. How SWFWMD had introduced VMware Horizon View alongside their existing virtualized capabilities including Citrix and vSphere infrastructure was covered.
- Details of the deployments use of NVIDIA GRID K2 GPU cards within the Cisco C240 server.
- There was an incredibly in-depth Q&A recorded where the panelists from NVIDIA, SWFWMD and ERSI covered specific details of user density achieved on the Cisco hardware with heavy 3D workloads, optimal RAM, CPU speed and vCPU configurations for ESRI ArcGIS. How benchmarking had been performed, their experiences of adding non-intensive users on top of the heavy 3D users.
- How much work and performance investigation ESRI have done with ArcGIS and built their recent products from the ground up to perform well will NVIDIA technologies both on physical hardware but also in a virtualized environment.
- The range of options now open to customers like SWFWMD after their initial deployments to use thin-clients, run ArcGIS on tablets such as iPads and on mobile devices off site, expand access to the application data and results to a broader audience.
- How SWFWMD employees no longer have to wait frustrated for hardware resources and how quickly SWFWMD can repurpose hardware to new projects and team members. The customer’s system administrators and architects satisfaction with the simple provisioning and deployment technologies provided by the VMware stack were also covered.
Really I’ve only scratched the surface in this review and I recommend you do check out the webinar for yourself if you missed it! >>> HERE. Personally, I’m now spending more time than I should reading ESRI’s fascinating pages on Water Management and the numerous challenges the world faces, fascinating yet sobering how wide and complex the issues are. A must read even for those not interested in virtualization or GPUs! The demo’s on California’s Historic Drought and Houston’s Water resource issues on the ESRI page are just stunning! ESRI have the “2016 Esri Water Conference” dedicated to water coming up in Austin, Texas, 9-11th February 2016.
Want to learn more:
- More case studies on virtualising ArcGIS in a range of other industries such as Oil and Gas, Education etc – are available here. I also have a list that covers a multitude of third-party case studies as well as NVIDIA ones, here.
- Find out more about joint VMware and NVIDIA solutions for accelerated mobile and virtualized graphics, here. Including how to get a free test drive of a Windows desktop with 2D and 3D industry-leading enterprise applications such as: Autodesk AutoCAD, Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS, Esri ArcGIS Pro and Siemens NX.
- Download the newest NVIDIA Performance Engineering Lab benchmarking guide detailing performance and scalability metrics for Esri ArcGIS 3D Pro 1.0. Results support a recommended “users per server” metric when virtualizing Esri’s ArcGIS Pro application with NVIDIA GRID vGPUs running VMware vSphere 6 w/ VMware Horizon 6.1. – http://www.nvidia.com/object/app-guide-esri.html
- Ask real NVIDIA architects and engineers questions on the NVIDIA GRID FORUMS, here. You can also chat to other real users/customers and ask for their independent views and experiences.
- Follow and read the ERSI blogs, particularly bloggers involved in virtualization, such as Emily Apsey (from ESRIs performance engineering team) and John Meza
- Follow @NVIDIAGRID, @vmwarhorizon, @Esri on twitter to hear about future similar webinars.
- Learn more about how Cisco are heavily investing in reference architectures and accelerated graphics with VDI, here.