“Does Citrix XenDesktop and/or NVIDIA vGPU support MS Office, Autodesk, ArcGIS, Siemens NX, Creo etc… etc… ???”

Not a day seems to go by, without my inbox containing an inquiry like this. Thankfully Citrix Ready have recently released new support matrix guidance for virtualised graphical application for VDI! You can read the details in full on the Citrix Ready Partner vendor site. I’ve added the key information available today below, but would recommend always checking the Citrix Ready site for the latest and most up to date information regarding 3D and graphical application support for Citrix XenDesktop, HDX 3D Pro and technologies such as vGPU and GPU pass-through.

How does Citrix support the use of software in HDX 3D Pro XenDesktop environments?

Citrix supports the use of any software application virtualised in Citrix environments which is run wholly upon a supported virtualised operating system. As such Citrix will provide support to customers with a valid support agreement for Citrix technologies used in conjunction with these software products.

Support for the functionality and performance of the software application is the responsibility of the software vendor as within a physical environment. i.e. if you have a problem with fonts in Microsoft Word, whilst Citrix supports its use such functionality issues should be addressed to the software vendor i.e. Microsoft.

Some software applications can generate workloads that can behave very differently when running upon a virtualised operating system as opposed to a physical machine. In particular graphically intense applications are more likely to exhibit such differences than many other applications. In particular performance and multi-threading behaviour can be different dependent upon the application architecture.

Citrix GPU-enabled technologies for XenDesktop rely on native GPU vendor drivers from manufacturers such as NVIDIA and AMD, avoiding the need for an additional costly separate Citrix certification process. For example NVDIA driver support and certification for software vendors with their GRID technologies can be found here.

Certification of the performance and suitability of operating system supported applications (including graphically intensive applications) in Citrix environments should be sought from the software application vendor. Such certification is usually performed by vendors in conjunction with server vendors and GPU vendors.

Customers can seek assurance that their particular Windows operating systems are supported for their hypervisor via the Microsoft’s virtualisation support matrix, available here. It is this certification matrix that provides blanket support for windows software in Citrix VDI environments and is the reason you will not find applications such as Microsoft Office, Assassin’s Creed or Firefox explicitly listed in the Citrix Ready catalogue as no additional certification is required for customer assurance.

Application vendors don’t have a standard certification process

  • For NVIDIA vGPU technologies on XenServer, many vendors are using NVIDIA’s certification lab, who publish a list of applications that have certified with their vGPU drivers.
  • Some vendors e.g. Autodesk have chosen to invest in their own certification processes and maintain lists of virtualised environments they support, Autodesk’s can be found here.
  • Many major CAD vendors such as Siemens PLM, have invested in virtualised certification and will provide details of their support matrices. Click here to find out more.
  • Click here to read more about PTC’s virtualised certification for Creo
  • Read more about ESRI’s ArcGIS Pro in virtualised environments
  • Support for Virtualised Intergraph SmartPlant Review and Smart 3D, detailed here

Some vendors have limited support to certain tested hardware configurations and as such customers do need to consult with their software vendor.

Citrix Ready can help partner vendors

For the majority of applications the interaction of software architecture and virtualisation should have no effect on the user. However where effects are demonstrated which can only be reproduced in a virtualised environment and not on bare metal (in a physical environment); the Citrix Ready partner program will support partner vendors to investigate these issues. As such users should raise such issues with their vendor and ask for issues to be raised via the Citrix Ready partner program.

Citrix will of course continue to offer end users best practice configuration knowledge and assistance but as these issues are dependent upon an applications specific architecture we require the software vendors engineering teams to be engaged in joint development and debug.