Towards the end of last year, the XenServer team announced the availability of 3D graphics pack in version 6.2 SP1.

This supported hardware accelerated vGPUs based on NVIDIA GRID technology.

In combination with XenDesktop HDX 3D Pro, this enabled the use of rich 3D applications by concurrent virtual machines on a server. With Citrix CloudPlatform version 4.5, you can now leverage vGPU as well as GPU-passthrough capabilities of XenServer to orchestrate graphics workloads in the Cloud.

GPUs provide an offload for graphics intensive computations away from the CPU for such things as CAD/CAM in manufacturing industries, animation and modeling in media and entertainment, and more. More recently GPU-accelerated applications have also found application in general purpose computing such as supercomputing for scientific calculations such as MATLAB, or computational finance for modeling. NVIDIA has a great catalog of over 300 applications categorized into several different verticals. Businesses are able to extend the benefits of Desktop virtualization with the ability to deliver rich graphics applications such as those from Autodesk, Adobe, Intergraph, etc. to their users. In addition to enterprise VDI environments, GPU computing is also being offered as a service by public cloud service providers such as Amazon EC2 or IBM SoftLayer. More specialized cloud providers offer HPC as a service for life sciences, medical imaging, cloud gaming, among other areas.

Citrix CloudPlatform 4.5 enables enterprises and cloud service providers to deliver workloads requiring GPU/vGPU capabilities to XenServer hosts with GPU hardware in both public and private clouds. CloudPlatform has the ability to discover hosts that have GPU capabilities and offers flexible configuration to support different use-cases: GPU-pass-through for designers or power users where you assign an entire GPU to a single VM, and vGPU for knowledge workers/task workers where multiple guest VMs can share a single physical GPU. Supported software components include CloudPlatform 4.5, XenServer 6.2 SP1 or above; and the required hardware includes NVIDIA GRID K1 and K2 cards.

The capabilities can be offered by the admin to end users by creating and provisioning compute offerings that have GPU/vGPU capabilities. The picture shows the configuration dialog of a compute offering where admin can specify the GPU card, as well as the type (either passthrough or a specific model of vGPU distribution).

CloudPlatform also monitors Utilization at host level as well as Zone level to let admins understand and plan for GPU capacity in the cloud.

In combination with XenServer and XenDesktop products, CloudPlatform offers Ctirix customers a compelling stack to deliver graphics-intensive workloads on desktops in a Cloud environment.