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