By Ron Norman, ISS Graphics R&D
Initially, the workstation blade was introduced as a bare metal 1 to 1 solution, meaning a client operating system was loaded on the blade for a single user—which severely challenged the return on investment. The HP ProLiant WS460c G6 systems offered a giant leap forward with the industry-first ability to virtualize the workstation or media-rich PC by connecting a GPU directly to a virtual machine (first supported by Citrix XenServer 6). This configuration allowed multiple graphics accelerated virtual machines (VMs) to support a range of needs using industry-standard remoting protocols such as Citrix HDX 3D, VMware PCoIP, and Microsoft RemoteFX.
The HP ProLiant WS460c Gen8 Server and Graphics Expansion Blade raise the bar again with industry-first support for bladed, high performance graphics with up to eight GPUs per blade – reducing the cost per user by up to 60%! This Gen8 blade solution is ideal for either a single user or virtualized, multi-tenancy users who utilize high-performance graphics applications such as those used in financial trading, computer-aided design (CAD), Web design, education, public sector, oil and gas, and healthcare sectors.
Graphics Accelerated Desktop Sessions and Application Virtualization
Hosted shared desktops provide a locked down, streamlined and standardized environment with a core set of applications ideally suited for users where personalization is not needed. Supporting up to 300+ users on a single server, this model offers a significant cost savings over any other virtual desktop technology. Application virtualization allows any Windows application to be centralized and managed in the datacenter, hosted either on multi-user terminal servers or virtual machines, and instantly published as a service to physical and virtual desktops.
In this model 3D applications are installed on the host Windows server and published via hosted shared desktops or as a hosted published application. Since the application is running on a server equipped with a supported 3D graphics card, the application utilizes the graphics card for 3D rendering. The limiting factor, until now, has always been the ability of the remoting protocol to be able to handle DirectX and OpenGL applications and publish to end users. This is changing as vendors add this support to their solution.
The figure below shows the conceptual structure of accelerated desktop and application publishing using Citrix XenApp. The ProLiant WS460c Gen8 Server Blade has two options for the base blade configuration: the single-width base blade or double-width graphics expansion blade. The base blade supports up to two MXM style graphics cards installed on the blade mezzanine slots, while the expansion blade allows full size high-end graphics cards to be installed. Newly introduced, the WS460c Gen8 HP MultiGPU Carrier card allows for up to 8 GPUs (MXM Style) to be installed in the blade, creating up to four times more user density than previous generations.
What else is new?
With support for up to eight GPU’s per blade, enhanced memory footprint and speeds, full PCI Express Gen3 x16 mezzanine slots, all on the proven HP ProLiant Gen8 architecture, users can complete large model visualizations with uncompromised workstation-class performance as well as provide media-rich graphics to PC users.
To learn more about hardware accelerated graphics for desktop virtualization with Citrix, Microsoft, and VMware including bare-metal OS, pass-through GPU, software virtualized GPU, and hardware virtualized GPU (true virtual GPU), download this datasheet and whitepaper. To read more about HP ProLiant WS460c Gen8 Server Blade, go to hp.com/go/bladeworkstation.