I am at the fabulous GPU conference in San Jose this week.

Organized by NVIDIA, this is my second time in these surreal surroundings, which is all about dazzling videos, complex beautiful art, and engineering drawings.

Watching some of those complex, high-end graphics come alive on Citrix-powered XenApp and XenDesktop machines is awe-inspiring. And yet, not everyone at the conference even knows who Citrix is or what we do.

Most of these folks are graphics gurus that work on some of the most expensive and sophisticated computers money can buy. They grapple with challenges of providing a great user experience when loading files that can run into several megabytes, and may contain intellectual property worth billions of dollars. They find innovative ways of sharing such data with other stakeholders, whether clients or other artists, securely and quickly.

Talking to some of these technical leaders, one gets a feeling that the graphics industry (with its high-stakes intellectual property) is perhaps at the same stage where knowledge-workers in banking or healthcare were at the start of the millennium.

Traditional IT long assumed that the only way to deliver computing resources was through “personal” computers at the office, ironically owned by the organization instead of the “person”. In most financial, government, healthcare, and IT organizations, the Bring Your Own (BYO) concept has caught on and many companies now use cloud computing to enable mobile workspaces, where the virtual workspace is owned and delivered by IT but the computers (or any end-point device) themselves are often owned by the employees.

When I look at the different stages of desktop transformation between the graphics industry and more traditional (for the lack of a better word) industries, I am reminded of a parallel in Indian society.

In India, it used to be that most children didn’t leave home until well into their 20s. Even college was usually something in the vicinity of the home, and parents liked to maintain a degree of supervision on their wards. This had advantages in terms of close-knit families, more disciplined kids (hah! really?), and lower costs of education and living. It also meant that our choices remained rather conventional, influenced by elders in the family — whether in choosing a career or choosing a life partner.

For the past couple of decades, this has been changing. While not as common as in the West, a large number of young adults are moving to colleges far from home, even to other countries, and picking up odd jobs to pay for their education. They are looking at life outside academics and exploring the world. Parents are seeing the long-term benefits brought by this contemporary way of life, and accept the paradigm shift.

As one of the sales-enablers at Citrix, I have seen so many successful graphics deployments around the world. Many instances where it was hard to imagine, and then convince everyone, that moving powerful computers away from the end-users and into the datacenters would be a good idea. Especially where the entire business of such companies depended on the design engineering work done on those workstations!

While the parenting metaphor might be slightly stretched, it was a similar paradigm shift for the IT organizations here and less of a technical challenge. Once they understood that VDI technology and cloud computing has evolved to meet their demands, it wasn’t long before they embraced the long-term benefits of virtual design engineering workstations. Our learning was that many of these IT leaders have spent years trusting their physical infrastructure, and the world of “virtualization” is simply a new area for them.

At #GTC14, Praveen Prakash and I are presenting a session this afternoon on how to get started with your VDI initiative. We will take a “back to basics” approach, and demystify some of the jargon surrounding terms like VDI, Cloud Computing, and vGPU. It is not a vendor-plug, instead think of it as a primer for someone new to Citrix or VMware beginning their journey into the “virtualization” world in 10 easy steps. While 50 minutes will not make a guru out of anyone, our hope is that by the end of our session you will know enough to begin a self-service evaluation of virtualized 3D workloads. Please leave your feedback so we can tailor subsequent online webinars to fill in what we miss today.

Session Link: http://registration.gputechconf.com/quicklink/fNnscps (S4278)

Day: Wednesday, 03/26
Time: 15:00 – 15:50
Location: Room 210F

Don’t miss these other  great speakers talk about the leaps in virtual graphics technology made by NVIDIA, Citrix, and so many other ecosystem partners. On March 27, Derek Thorslund will be presenting real-world case studies who have successfully transformed their physical graphics workstations to NVIDIA GRID and Citrix HDX 3D Pro. This is all available TODAY… as opposed to some time in the future 😉

Hope to see you in a couple of hours! @mayunkj #GTC14