At Citrix Synergy 2014, I saw one of the most fascinating demos of NVIDIA GPUs running Citrix XenApp to deliver Autodesk REVIT. We’ve blogged a lot about how XenApp is a really cost effective and user-satisfying way to deliver Autodesk applications on vSphere, XenServer or physical servers using NVIDIA or AMD GPUs.
This demo wasn’t so much about the underlying cost of the technologies though but end-user experience and utility. NVIDIA commissioned a real CAD drafter to design a house over three days at Synergy using their GRID GPU technology; this meant that you could go back time-after-time and watch how it had progressed and the various stages of design from 2D plans to 3D rendering and ray-tracing. It was a fascinating insight into the design process and I was delighted to find a blog by the designer himself on the GreenDrafters blog, here.
Designers are by their nature demanding and sensitive to the user-experience and I was delighted to see his comments:
- “The short answer is that I was blown away.”
- “The bottom line is that I did not notice any performance degradation between my personal workstation and the NVIDIA GRID K2 VDI”
I was also enthused to see how the designer himself started imagining working differently, better, with virtualisation technologies:
- “What I did notice was the simple thin client on my desk that took up far less space, needed far fewer cables, and caused far less clutter than my workstation.”
- “I could use my Macbook Air or possibly even an Ipad to continue the design work away from my office, maybe at a Starbucks.”
- “I also realized the intriguing potential of client/designer collaboration at the job site. Tweaking the design with the client in Revit, on-site. Now that is cool.” (This is something we, at Citrix, hear time and again from Architects and Autodesk users, see some similar uses on IMSCAD’s Citrix Case Study Page)
The company NVIDIA chose to do this demo, GreenDrafters, are an AutoCAD Drafting and Design company that focus on 100% renewable practices to reduce their carbon footprint by improving design criteria to achieve green design standards. I thought this was particularly appropriate as some of the lesser-mentioned benefits of virtualisation are the potential environmental benefits. There are many reports, such as this one from Infosys, detailing how virtualisation can help companies achieve environmental targets.
So if you are at one of the many events NVIDIA attend, I really recommend checking out their booths and finding out if they have one of these in-depth multi-day demos in progress. It’s fairly easy to show an impressive graphical demo for 5 minutes (avoid any niggles, choose an easy application or task etc). The proof of the technology is really that a real user can use it to achieve and _complete_ the whole design process. This is the kind of demo that can’t be faked. It’s also very insightful as you can watch how easy the designer actually is finding it to use the application and interacting with the technology.
Note: We have put some tips for configuring Autodesk applications together, here. If you have further questions, please do ask questions, on either the Citrix forums, here; or the NVIDIA forums, here; where you can discuss your plans with other users, and our support and engineering staff.
You can also read more about CAD and virtualisation via this link.
Registration for NVIDIA GTC 2015 – Now open!
Possibly the best opportunity to see realistic and informative demos will be NVIDIA’s GTC Conference, March 17th– 20th, 2015 in Silicon Valley; which Citrix will be sponsoring and presenting. Many of the HDX and Citrix team will be available too. Some of the impressive videos from last time are available at the bottom of one of my blogs, here. Registration is now open (see here) and I’ll update you on details of what the Citrix and HDX teams will be showing over the coming weeks. If you have any interest in remote 3D graphics, CAD, gaming etc. it’s worth watching the developing agenda which already lists some fascination sessions covering all sorts of areas such as Astrophysics, Financial Modelling, Gaming, HPC….