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April 06, 2016

The Tony Stark of the Modern Workspace

Ruben Spruijt - Atlantis

Give your virtual desktops, applications and workstations the performance boost they need. Your business consumers expect nothing less. They are KING in the modern virtual workspace. High performance storage and discrete graphics are being using in every physical PC so why settle for less in the virtual workspace? In order to be successful, we must make the virtual workspace cheaper, simpler and faster with a better user experience than the physical PC experience.  The key to make this happen is to understand the breakthrough and impact of GPUs, Flash, Software-Defined Storage (SDS) and Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) appliances so customers and business consumers can benefit from the Virtual Workspace today. Be the Tony Stark of the modern virtual workspace.

Use-cases of GPU in Virtual Workspace

GRID_Importance.jpg GPU capabilities and blazing fast solid state storage is the standard for a modern virtual workspace!”  Historically, the target market is large for delivery of 2D/3D graphics for virtual workspace. Today, everyone can benefit from graphics in their virtual workspace, independent of the virtual applications/sessions with Citrix XenApp or RDSH, RemotePC, virtual desktops (VDI) or virtual workstations. There are many great examples of customer use cases today.  If you are interested in use cases specific in your industry let me know.
Most of the successful implementations of GPU enabled virtual workspaces include these key business drivers:
  • Flexibility and access: Work isn’t a place, it’s something you do from anywhere with any device. Work independently of location, endpoint and network. Support work from home, global product development teams, contractors and BYO scenarios.
  • Application integration: Applications integrate with each other and include large files / datasets, sometimes terabytes of data, are accessed by users all over the globe. File transfer and WAN acceleration are not the solution.
  • Security and control: Protect your intellectual property (IP).  Information systems and data stays inside the protected data center.
  • BYO: Enable the delivery of applications and desktops for Bring Your Own devices or within Corporate Owned Personally Enabled (COPE) scenarios.
  • High performance: High-end graphics, 10Gb+ networking and flash based storage solutions combine to deliver fast 2D/3D graphics and resource intensive applications to any device while keeping the data central. “The virtual workstation is faster than my physical workstation(s) under my desk.”
  • Reduce cost: Operating system, applications and user environment are centrally managed in a more cost effective manner. Resources can be shared where needed.
  • Cooling: Use zero clients with multiple screens in larger setups in the offices and keep heat generating workstations inside the cooler data center. 

GPU is affordable for everyone

GPU technologies are evolving and the increasing competition between AMD, Intel and NVIDIA are making the cost of adding graphics affordable for everyone. Every PC or Workstation already has a GPU (Graphics Processor Unit), so why is this not the case for today’s virtual workspace? Many people associate the use case of GPU and Virtual Desktops with the heavyweight workstation graphics workloads such as CAE/CAM/CAD/PLM – the designer and high-end power users. While there are many high-end graphics customer success stories, the reality is that everyone can benefit from a GPU in their virtual workspace, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, Server Based Computing – Desktop Virtualization. Many of today’s standard applications leverage the GPU. Modern web browsers such as Internet Explorer and Chrome, Microsoft Office and Office365, Unified Communications such as Skype, Multimedia and Windows Aero effects all benefit from GPU acceleration. Modern Remoting protocols from Citrix, Microsoft and VMware can offload their H.264 encoding to superfast and efficient GPUs driving the performance up and CPU impact and cost down. What is the cost of adding GPU to the virtual desktop or virtual workspace? Ask yourself the question, what is the cost of an unproductive and unhappy business consumer? It depends… What is the cost of adding a GPU? That depends as well. You should be asking what kind applications are being used, how are these applications used, which application APIs are leveraged (e.g. DirectX, OpenGL, CUDA etc.) what is the delivery platform e.g. XenApp, Horizon View or Blade workstations and what is the system (including GPU) resource utilization. In many scenarios a GPU can be shared with many other users while in other scenario’s a high-end, high-performance and expensive GPU is required for the high-end engineer. Understand the demands of your business consumers before you start with any modern workspace project.

Atlantis and GPUs

3waysToSupercharge_NVideo.pngAs a CTO, community peer and all-round geek, it’s great to see more and more customers interested in using GPUs in their current or new to design virtual workspace environments. It is time to move outside traditional thinking as it relates to virtual workspace. The key is to understand the breakthrough and impact of all-flash, Software-Defined Storage (SDS) and Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) appliances and the latest GPU developments from NVIDIA, AMD and Intel. Customers, community peers.  The key is for the industry as a whole recognize the days of VDI 1.0 are over and that it is time for a new era an era of GPU, flash Hyperconvergence and Software Defined Storage. Most VDI customers are using a diversity of servers and storage solutions to deliver applications and desktops to their business consumers. One of the key benefits of the Atlantis offering is the freedom of choice - freedom of hardware and configuration. The choice valued by organizations which makes us unique in the Software-Defined Storage (SDS) and Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI) industry. Customers can apply our Software-Defined Storage solution, one of the core elements in a modern virtual workspace, to their current and new to deliver virtual workspace infrastructure. Atlantis Software-Defined Storage and Hyperconverged infrastructure is able to deliver value for:
  • Every server vendor; HP, Dell, Supermicro, Cisco, Lenovo, Fujitsu, Huawei, Inspur, Themis, Tyan and more.
  • Every form factor: Rackmount, server or workstation blades and cartridges such as HP Moonshot.
  • Every GPU capable Virtual Infrastructure solutions, Citrix XenServer and VMware ESX today.
  • Every GPU/APU solution powered by NVIDIA GRID (K1/K2, M60, M6), AMD FirePro (e.g. S7150) and Intel IrisPro and Xeon E3 APUs with Intel GVT-g technology.
Let’s raise the bar for the virtual workspace experience by applying GPUs in Hyperconverged infrastructure and Software-Defined Storage solutions. 


Welcome to the world of GPUs, All-Flash, Software-Defined Storage (SDS) and Hyperconverged (HCI) solutions — welcome to Atlantis Computing.  Come join me with my friends from Entysis and NVIDIA for a webinar discussing the 3 ways to supercharge performance in your modern virtual workspace.  You'll learn about how to combine flash, SDS and GPU and see real world data with customer examples of combining Atlantis and NVIDIA in action.

I'd love to understand your virtual workspace story and be able to share the insights and vision I have in order to support you and your business consumers to move forward with the modern workspace. Please reach out to me If you want insights in the GPU industry or workspace 2020, share insights from customers and partners, or discuss reference designs for instance with Citrix, NVIDIA and VMware.

Ruben Spruijt — CTO — Atlantis Computing
@rspruijt |
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