Last week, I blogged about what goes on behind the scenes with alternative 3D technologies from Citrix and VMware. All these technologies appear to solve the same problem, and indeed, may even appear similar during evaluations to an untrained eye. Benchmarks are easier and quicker to run and measure, so many people use these apps to do a spot-check before moving on to real production apps. It is necessary to cut through the hype, and learn the different capabilities and their relevance to high-end professional graphics use-case. Even for less demanding use-cases, a robust 3D rendering engine provides greater scalability and leads to happy and satisfied end-users.

Benchmark tests contain multiple tell-tale signs that provide a fairly good indication of the capabilities, performance, and scalability one can expect from complex 3D apps in production. Check out these side-by-side videos that quickly reveal the strength of Citrix + NVIDIA architecture. Pay attention to the call-outs that highlight important differences between the two renderings. On the right side is VMware View configured with default vSGA settings and maximum video RAM (512MB) on NVIDIA GRID K2 card. On the left is the comparable K200 vGPU, powering Citrix XenDesktop on exact same type of GRID K2. The videos are recorded when four users are simultaneously sharing the GPU. Click here to view video:

It quickly becomes apparent that vSGA is unable to leverage the full power of NVIDIA GRID card, managing the illusion of “smooth” playback at the expense of smudged rendering and dropped frames. HDX 3D Pro easily delivers expected performance, both in terms of detail and frame rate.  In her fantastic blog about how to watch out for dark shadows during trials and proof of concepts, Rachel Berry notes if you are evaluating vSGA versus vGPU or similar it can be really insightful to set them up running side by side and play spot the difference. To make an informed decision, beware the tricks these benchmarks can play.

VMware vSGA is designed for knowledge workers, and is not suitable for CAD, CAM, 3D modeling, and video applications. The table below clearly lists major graphics apps that are not appropriate for use with VMware shared 3D technology.  It is, in fact, sourced from  VMware’s deployment guide. On the other hand, all apps work great with Citrix HDX 3D Pro using NVIDIA GRID vGPU. For flexible deployments, there are multiple profiles within vGPU and two of those profiles, the GRID K100 and K200 vGPU are designed for knowledge workers, same as vSGA. However, they leverage native NVIDIA drivers, just like the other vGPU profiles. This allows K100 and K200 to support complex use-cases much better than VMware vSGA (with it’s custom SVGA drivers).  This differentiation is critical for enterprise customers looking to meet 3D design engineering requirements with virtualization.

Source: VMware Virtual Machine Graphics Acceleration Deployment Guide, May 2013

On your way to Citrix Summit 2014, Orlando?

We will talk more about planning and deploying HDX 3D Pro evaluations during the breakout session SUM224 on January 13, at 2PM in Citrix Summit, Orlando. Feel free to drop by and say hello.