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How VMware Horizon and NVIDIA GRID Make Virtual Workstations Possible

A Contributed Article by Victoria Rege, product marketing manager for NVIDIA GRID

Soon, you won't have to go to the office. It will come to you, wherever you are.

The workplace is changing-it's no longer simply a desk with a PC and keyboard in a cubicle. Businesses need to keep connected with a mobile workforce that uses different devices in various locations. They need to keep data secure. And they need to offer graphics-rich applications, wherever their users roam.

We built NVIDIA GRID technology for exactly these sorts of challenges.

And we've partnered with the world leader in virtualization, VMware, to deliver these solutions to companies around the world.

Our goal is to deliver powerful, graphics-intensive applications for virtual desktop environments. GRID technology, along with VMware Horizon, puts graphics cards in the data center to let anyone from power users and designers to Windows app users enjoy a graphics experience that's equivalent to dedicated hardware.

It's delivered securely and cost effectively, and certified by NVIDIA and VMware for use with the applications businesses depend on most. But this isn't just for simple applications. A virtual desktop connected to an NVIDIA GRID-fueled data center offers an environment that's safe and scalable for the most demanding 3D applications.

Flexibility and Mobility

Designers, contractors and architects-whose work requires computer-aided design or 3D resolutions-are already embracing these groundbreaking processors. GRID technology gives them access to critical applications, powerful connectivity and great graphics performance from any device.

For companies such as STV Group Inc., a U.S.-based design construction firm, and Jellyfish Pictures, a U.K. visual- effects animation studio, adopting virtualization means sharing highly detailed drawings among their workforce is no longer a complex undertaking.

Now a desktop can come in the form of a handheld device on a remote job site, but with PC-quality images and resolution. Design plans and large files can be shared, and data is kept secure.

Servers equipped with NVIDIA GRID K2 cards and VMware Horizon View desktops can offer interactive visualization for a variety of desktop applications. And businesses can scale up without incurring huge additional IT infrastructure expenses.

Workstation Performance from Any Location

STV takes on huge projects worldwide, like New York's 1 World Trade Center. The company also has a widely dispersed workforce that includes engineers and architects based in trailers at worksites.

For STV, costly workstations weren't an option. It needed a new kind of desktop that could support every employee - virtualization was the solution.

Traditionally, GPUs have rendered graphics on physical devices near the user, hence the age of powerful workstations. But STV didn't need fancy workstations, it needed flexibility.

By adding NVIDIA GRID K1 cards to its VMware Horizon View deployment, STV had the hardware-based GPU virtualization needed to deliver rich graphics to remote users. Now employees using laptops on job sites get the graphics performance of a high-end workstation.

Centralized data storage means designers, engineers, and architects can access files and see real-time updates.

Agility for On-Demand Needs

Operations may differ in scale, but businesses can face similar issues. Jellyfish Pictures wanted to unify how its 100 employees worked. Meridian Technology Center in Stillwater, Okla., needed flexibility in serving its more than 11,000 students.

Each business came to the same conclusion: They needed a virtualized desktop infrastructure that could be scaled to suit needs on demand.

Jellyfish worked with a cloud provider to adopt a desktop-as-a-service platform powered by NVIDIA GRID technology. GRID enables its graphics artists and editors to work from anywhere as if they were using a physical workstation with all the usual computing power, software applications and graphics-intensive creative tools.

The platform reduced Jellyfish's desktop service costs by up to 30 percent and gave the company flexible work practices that could be easily scaled up or down for different production needs.

For Meridian, addressing the needs of its diverse student body in a bring-your-own-device culture required a powerful system that offered remote access while being cost effective to manage.

VMware vSphere and Horizon View provide the hypervisor and remote desktops.

Thanks to NVIDIA GRID, Meridian's students can access even the most graphics-intensive applications. Meridian also uses it to enhance its curriculum, keep costs down and scale up as demand increases.

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About the Author

Victoria is a product marketing manager responsible for NVIDIA GRID solutions. She's passionate about cloud and virtualization products and technologies, and the way that they're changing how enterprises work.

Prior to joining NVIDIA, Victoria worked in the hedge fund industry, developing executive-level conferences and managing an association of COOs of hedge funds.

Victoria has a B.A. in public relations and French from the University of Rhode Island. Most days you can find her on Twitter @NVIDIAGRID. 

Published Friday, January 30, 2015 6:37 AM by David Marshall
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