I have customers who are looking to virtualize their desktops for remote users; however they use AutoCAD and other 3D intensive applications to manipulate giant files (> 1 GB) comprising architectural plans, build diagrams, etc. I read somehwere that VMware and nVidia are working together to come up with some sort of solution for offloading graphics to dedicated hardware in the vSphere hosts (VGX), and that currently 3D is handled in software in View (or has that changed?). I had heard that View 5.1 on vSphere 5.1 would allow for adding the nVidia Quadro cards to the hosts, but AFAIK View isn't supported on vSphere 5.1 yet.
Does anyone actually have any experience with the 3D performance as it is available today? If so, could you please point to some resources (white papers, referance architectures, etc.) that would assist in architecting a workable design?
With vSphere 5.1, VMware has partnered with Nvidia to provide hardware-based vGPU support inside the VM. You need to install supported Nvidia GPU card on the ESXi 5.1 host. This new vGPU support targets View environment that runs graphic-intensive workloads such as graphic design and medical imaging.
The next release of View will have the ability to leverage this feature.
Hope this helps.
NVIDIA has now released their GRID graphics card which would be a perfect solution for your deployment. Included are links to a vmware whitepaper and a nvidia one.
I think this discussion needs to be revived - any new experience on 3D AutoCAD / CATIA? We are just in the discussion with a customer from automotive industry leveraging Citrix on vSphere. And we are planning to test it with EMC XtremIO. Will keep you posted. If you have any experience to share in the mean time, feel free to post! Thank you!
I know of a local healthcare system that is pretty "advanced" in their consumption of hardware GPU horsepower to deliver desktops with accelerated graphics for their radiology group, though they are presently doing this on the "Citrix stack" using the NVIDIA GPUs.
It's very impressive, and I agree with David that this discussion needs to be revived for additional discussion. This is a definite "nerd-cool" topic, and one that has real business value for the right use cases.
I have deployed vSGA and vDGA with View for use with Autodesk (CAD) and Solidworks. I also have had some other deployments where google earth was heavily used. These were in rackmount UCS servers...
I used the GRID K1 and K2 cards (along with teradici APEX cards). GRID K1 cards were great in vSGA mode (lots of shared adapters) 100's of desktops.
When I worked with a architecture design firm who wanted remote access solution for CAD and Solidworks users - They used to copy files back and worth across VPN to work locally, but it was a slow process.
ONLY vDGA with K2 cards were acceptable with View for this particular client with bigger 3D models. 4 users to a card was the density ratio. This was not outright displacing the users with heavy workstations in the office - but a nice solution for external users and people with afterhours work to do. Something super simple like 2D floorplans was OK with sVGA
as far as storage goes - anything flash based is great.