The week of VMworld, I announced that we would soon be releasing a tech preview for true hardware GPU sharing (vGPU) with NVIDIA GRID GPUs.  At the time I anticipated a release at the end of September, and that we would be supporting vGPU on XenDesktop 7 with some patches for XenServer 6.2.

As it turned out, we ended up slipping to October 1st (not too bad of a slip considering this is software), and we’ve aligned our tech preview with the XenDesktop teams’ tech preview of XenDesktop 7.1.  Doing this allows us to take advantage of some improvements in XenDesktop, but also to simplify the installation process.

What do I need to evaluate hardware GPU sharing?

You will need compatible hardware (some options are listed in my previous blog), XenServer 6.2 and the XenDesktop 7.1 tech preview.  All of the details are listed on our vGPU tech preview page.  Please note that you will need a valid MyCitrix login, and active XenDesktop Subscription Advantage to access this content.  Since this is a technology preview, we are aware of some issues and strongly recommend anyone performing an evaluation read the release notes carefully.

Will the vGPU tech preview work with XenDesktop 7?

vGPU support takes advantage of several improvements included in the XenDesktop 7.1 tech preview.  Unfortunately, we were not able to create compatible patches for XenDesktop 7.

Is this tech preview appropriate for production use?

No.  Technology previews are designed to provide our customers with early access to potential functionality, and they should never be considered “production ready”.

Can I use this tech preview with Windows 8.1?

No.  This tech preview is designed for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008R2 workloads only, and the driver bundle will not work with Windows 8 or Windows 8.1.

Will I be able to upgrade from the tech preview when vGPU is released?

It is very unlikely that an upgrade path will be provided between this tech preview and any potential release of XenDesktop and XenServer which enable the functionality.  Since the next question is likely to be when, that too is something I unfortunately can’t comment on.