Confessions of a VMware Secret Agent – NVIDIA GRID and Blast Extreme – answers!

I have a new secret double life! I’ve recently been involved in doing the live chat and Q&A from NVIDIA GRID webinars. If you never attended our webinars but you are interested in NVIDIA GRID technologies you should consider trying it. They usually take the format of a 1+ hour Webinar hosted by internal technology specialists like Support, Readiness or Product Management. We will show live demos, hints and best practices. And also we have regular Guest Speakers or partners involved.

Our next webinar is on Thursday 12th May 2016 (8am PST/11AM EST/4PM UK): “See How Virtual GPU Technology Can Increase User Productivity and Reduce IT Cost.”

A Bonus of these webinars is that you can ask questions during the webinar, which will be answered by our Field Specialists (like me) and see the questions and answers from others! Back at the end of March (22nd March 2016) we did one of these webinars in partnership with VMware and focused on their new Blast Extreme protocol and how it leverages NVIDIA GPU’s to improve server scalability and user experience.

FAQs – Blast Extreme and NVIDIA GRID – webinar 22nd March 2016

Now for some legal regulations, we cannot share the full Q&A but I going to share some of the questions we received. I’ve tidied up and checked the answers but you should bear in mind these were the answers as per the date of the webinar and whilst I do try to keep blogs updated, you really do need to check with official documentation at time of reading.

Q: Where can I get a copy of the webinar?

A: If you missed the webinar you can find it here:

Past webinars are also posted on the VMware NVIDIA Community site:

Q: What is the supported maximum network latency for Blast Extreme? 

There is no explicit limit for latency. User acceptance for latency is very subjective; interactive CAD users require lower latency than video users (where buffering available) where the user is not-interacting as much with the session.

Q: Is Blast Extreme using H.264 encode?

Yes it is H.264 encode being performed by the NVIDIA GPUs. Blast Extreme is built upon standard TCP/UDP protocols. Blast Extreme supports both H.264 encode and JPG/PNG encode.  Both these options are available to admins with the later being primarily used for lossless image quality

Q: Is vMotion possible with NVIDIA GPUs?

A: No – not yet, neither XenMotion nor vMotion is currently possible, because a GPU feature called pre-emption would be required to allow workloads to be halted and moved. vSGA does support vMotion. Both NVIDIA and VMware are actively investigating how to enable vMotion in the future.

Q: Is Blast Extreme supported for GPU-passthrough only?

A: Blast Extreme will provide hardware accelerated encode with suitable GRID GPUs for vDGA and vGPU modes (where a suitable GPU is available) and software encode for vSGA.

Q: Does Blast Extreme still only refer to the protocol being used inside a web browser?

No it doesn’t, Blast Extreme is a full protocol that will be support by all the View clients; You can read more here: Blast Extreme is new name for Blast with full feature parity with PCoIP. It is not limited to HTML access.  Blast Extreme supports HTML Access, Linux VDI and Windows VDI.

Q: Does the nvidia Grid only for rendering graphics or does it include CPU-Offload Compute?

A: Blast extreme uses the NVENC NVIDIA technologies to offload the CPU used in the protocol (H.264) encoding, leaving more CPU resource availbe for applications which helps increase server scalability. CUDA/OpenCL is available on the vGPU profiles that represent a whole physical GPU for the Maxwell generation of cards.

Q: Will JIT instant clone work with NVIDIA vGPU desktop pools?

A: Instant Clones do not work with vGPU today.

Q: Will the older Grid K1 cards work with Horizon 7?

Support and certification is undertaken for a combination of hypervisor version, OEM server model, GPU card and GPU technology (e.g. vDGA and vGPU listed separately).  Please refer to the compatibility Guide for support of hardware with specific releases of Horizon to ensure that the OEM, VMware and NVIDIA have all agreed to support a particular combination.

Q: Is NSX available with Horizon vSphere license, or do we need to acquire it separately?

There are multiple ways to acquire an NSX license for use in a VDI environment, please see: for details.

Q: Where can I get information on App Volumes?

The best place to get info on App Volumes / UEM is on the VMware corporate website.

Q: What is the reason the NVIDIA went to a software licensing model for GRID 2.0?

The true value of NVIDIA’s solution is delivered through software which allows continuous product innovation independent of hardware cadence. This means we can deliver the features like management, monitoring, motion, etc. that our customers have been asking for faster than hardware only solutions, where innovation pace is locked to the introduction of new hardware every 2-3 years.


Many enterprise customers have also asked us to align our support level on the software drivers to that of the other components of their graphics stack such as the hypervisor, windows OS and application software.

Q: Is Blast a replacement for PCoIP?

Blast Extreme is not intended as a replacement for PCoIP but offered as an alternative.  Horizon 7 fully supports PCoIP and VMware continues to work with Teradici.


For Horizon 7, protocol choice can be limited in the Pool settings if you want.  You can restrict users to a specific protocol or give them a choice, assuming you are using a client that supports multiple protocols (Blast, PCoIP, RDP).

Q: The current maximum resolution for K1 and k2 cards is 2560×1600 is that restricted by the GPU technology or by View, will we be able to use 4k using vGPU within view?

A: It is limited by neither. The Maxwell generation cards, such as the M60, already offers profiles with 4K support. You will have to remember that 4K is a large amount of pixels to support especially with multi-monitor support and the lower the profile the larger the number of VMs on each card.

Q: Is Blast Extreme hardware encoding on GPU available with K1/K2 (Kepler) or does it require the (Maxwell) M generation of GPUs?

A: Yes it is believed to work on the K1/K2 cards, however, this is not a supported feature of NVIDIA GRID 1.0 (K1 and K2) so NVIDIA will not be doing testing, benchmarking or troubleshooting for these environments. Customers who have GRID 1.0 can leverage the VMware Blast Extreme protocol and may see performance increases from NVIDIA acceleration but we cannot guarantee what levels they will experience. With reduced encoder availability the Kepler boards cannot achieve the level of performance that Maxwell can with GRID software.

Q: Where can I ask more questions about NVIDIA used with VMware?

A: We have a joint community site with news updates, how-to-guides, an event calendar and also forums where you can ask questions; take a look here:

Q: We are a financial services company so what we need is an excellent user experience across 3 or 4 displays, but our applications do not need high end GPU performance. We currently use GRID K1 cards in vSGA mode as the current vGPU profiles available would require us to run 2GB of video RAM per user (to support more than 2 displays) if we ran vGPU this does not allow us the consolidation ratios we need. Could you enable more than 2 monitors on the profiles with 1GB?

A: This is a very interesting use case. Whilst a 1GB profile would provide a CAD user with a mediocre experience (particularly if 4K monitors were involved), we can see that for those that use lighter-weight applications but need multi-monitor could find this profile useful. We have passed this on to the Product Managers for consideration. [Update 3/May/2016: Our Product Managers agreed and uses should see the new Virtual PC options with vGPU profiles like the M60-1B – see

Q: Is the TryGRID environment using Horizon 7 and Blast Extreme?

A: The VMware and NVIDIA GRID Test Drive gives you instant access to hours of NVIDIA GRID vGPU acceleration running on VMware vSphere 6 and Horizon View 6. This experience includes a Windows desktop with 2D and 3D industry-leading enterprise applications such as: Autodesk AutoCAD, Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS, Esri ArcGIS Pro, Siemens NX – See more at: This environment is in process of being updated to support Horizon 7 and Blast Extreme – we will update the Community once this work is complete.

Q: Does Blast Extreme support RDSH?

  1. Yes – Blast Extreme supports RDSH.  For more info on Blast please review:

Q: Is it possible to take advantage of Blast Extreme with a thin or zero client?

Existing legacy thin clients will not support Blast extreme immediately. A new version of the View client would need to be incorporated into the client by the OEM – existing thin clients can support Blast Extreme if clients are upgraded to 4.0.  User will get the best experience when the hardware supports H.264 decode capability.  Contact your OEM for further details.

Zero clients based on Teradici hardware will only support the PCoIP protocol and do not support Blast Extreme.

Q: I work in the state and local government sector as an account manager. How would I begin a conversation to introduce GRID to those IT departments?

The best place to find information to discuss within your organization is our website Please engage the NVIDIA VMware Community ( to post any requests for additional support with your opportunity, and it will be routed to SME’s who can guide you appropriately.

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