Live Migration of Virtual Machines is old news. But what about GPU-accelerated VMs? Do you still have to power them down during migration? No. Today, that’s changing — but only if you use Citrix XenServer!

NVIDIA first announced GPU virtualization with Citrix XenServer support at Citrix Synergy in 2013, demonstrating how NVIDIA’s virtual GPU products (NVIDIA GRID and Quadro vDWS) enable many virtual machines to share a GPU to help users achieve the same performance and graphics experience as on a physical workstation or PC. However, this came with a caveat: these GPU-accelerated machines could not be live migrated.

Imagine asking a power user in the middle of working hours to kindly save all his or her work, close all applications, and log out. This could be due to unexpected maintenance, or, since users of GPU-enabled virtual desktops are likely running resource-intensive applications, to redistribute VMs amongst hosts, as host’s resources become strained. That’s why live migration is important.

It turns out this is hard to do! It’s taken several years, and a lot engineering effort, but today we’re proud to announce XenMotion support of NVIDIA GPU-enabled VMs is now available as an experimental feature of XenServer 7.3, and NVIDIA is now conducting a technical preview with a select group of Citrix customers.

You don’t need to just take my word for that it works; check out this video of Jared Cowart, Technical Product Manager at NVIDIA, demonstrating live migration of NVIDIA GPU accelerated VMs with Citrix XenServer:

What does it give you? Well, XenMotion of NVIDIA GPU-accelerated VMs can help you improve end-user experience and VM performance by enabling redistribution of VMs as hosts’ resources become strained. It also improves flexibility by minimizing scheduled downtime (no need to shut down VMs when you need to maintain the underlying hardware) and reducing disruption during unexpected maintenance.

In today’s 24/7/365 world, every minute of downtime and user disruption can cost organizations thousands of dollars and lost productivity.

“In today’s 24/7/365 world, every minute of downtime and user disruption can cost organizations thousands of dollars and lost productivity,“ says Anne Hecht, Sr. Director Product Marketing for NVIDIA virtual GPU solutions. “With live migration of NVIDIA GPU-accelerated VMs on Citrix XenServer coupled with vGPU monitoring in Citrix Director, IT will have the tools necessary to proactively manage, ensure timely response, and deliver high availability and a quality user experience. We’re thrilled to be starting the tech. preview of this vital capability and moving one stop closer to general availability.”

In addition, XenServer 7.3 also supports NVIDIA’s latest Pascal GPUs, delivering up to a 2x increase in graphics performance, and supporting up to 50% more users per physical GPU.

Finally, on another NVIDIA GPU-related note, XenDesktop 7.16 is the first desktop virtualization platform to enable H.265 encoding/decoding – the industry’s latest protocol to accelerate video processing which can reduce bandwidth usage by up to 40%, while continuing to provide the best possible user experience. There are definitely good reasons to consider GPU virtualization solutions!

For more information on live migration support for GPU-accelerated VMs on Citrix XenMotion, see NVIDIA’s blog post.