The New NVIDIA GRID

Today, August 17, NVIDIA publicly announced big changes in the GRID product line. The introduction of a brand-new GPU architecture, the new 5.0 GRID software and a licensing rebranding. Most excited about these announcements are the new GPU’s. These are based on the Pascal architecture and like its predecessor, the Maxwell GPU’s, they lead the way into accelerating datacenters all over the globe. With the new Pascal based GPU’s the Industry most powerful enterprise virtual workstation becomes available.

NVIDIA

Originally NVIDIA focused the PC gaming market with delivering the best GPU’s. But along the way NVIDIA redefined computer graphics and revolutionised parallel computing. (take a look at this video for an explanation between parallel and sequential computing). Parallel computing powers todays Deep Learning (DL) and ignited Artificial Intelligence (AI). And let’s face it, AI is on everyone’s mind and it is already all around us. Take a moment and watch the opening keynote of the NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference (GTC). NVIDIA GPU’s are they super fast and efficient brains of computers, self-driving cars and robots.

NVIDIA revolutionising AI and DL with its GPU’s has a great benefit for GRID. All the knowledge and development comes straight towards the datacenter solutions with the Tesla datacenter GPU’s. The Tesla GPU’s are perfect for accelerating virtual desktops and delivering Windows and Linux desktops and apps to any user on any device, anywhere they want……… OK, as long as they have a connection.

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NVIDIA GRID M10 – GPU for the Masses

Today, may 18th 2016, NVIDIA publicly announced its new member of the Tesla based GRID family. With Tesla based GRID we already knew the M6 and the M60. This lineup is now accompanied with the M10, a true GPU for the masses!

Last week Jim McHugh, VP and GM of NVIDIA, held a special NVIDIA GRID pre-briefing where he shared this announcement about the GRID M10 Tesla. With this new M10 a virtual desktop with an excellent User eXperience (UX) becomes available for all. Before I share all the details about the M10. Let’s have a quick refresh about why GPU accelerated virtual desktops are that important.

Why do we all need a GPU

When we buy a desktop or laptop computer these days a great UX is available right away. Fire it up, go online and YouTube your way into this experience. We stream at 1080p minimum and expect non less. And naturally we have a great UX with whatever we do on our customer devices, whether we edit our vacation photo’s and videos, create a fully animated presentation with Microsoft Sway for our kids, we expect a great UX. We bring these expectations with us to the office. We expect non less when we are at work. Besides this graphical expectation we also expect to work wherever we are using the device of our choice. This calls for a highly flexible solution, brought to us by desktop virtualization techniques such as VMware Horizon and Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop for example. With these solutions you are able to deliver a centralized, virtualized desktop environment to anyone with any device as long as they are connected. This is great, but what about an excellent UX? This is where graphics comes along. We still expect this excellent experience, right? With NVIDIA GRID technology we are able to deliver this excellent UX, but every excellent solution comes with its price.

NVIDIA GRID

NVIDIA first introduced the K1 and the K2 cards. These GPU’s are based on Keplar. Later on GRID 2.0 brought us the M6 and the M60 based on the Maxwell architecture. These GRID solutions made it possible to deliver a virtual desktops for the CAD/CAM designers but also for the knowledge workers using MSFT Office, Web browsers and multimedia software. Everybody could leverage the graphics power of GRID technology. With this GRID technologies the vGPU profiles allows us to use a graphics board up to 32 ConCurrent Users. Off course you are able to more NVIDIA GRID cards in a server. In some cases up to 8 cards per node. For a complete list of supported see http://www.nvidia.com/object/grid-certified-servers.html. All NVIDIA preferred partners have models available supporting up to 4 NVIDIA GRID Cards.

So now you have bought a new server with fancy Broadwell processors, a ton of memory and a smart software based storage solution and on top of it all you added these awesome GRID cards. With a standard HPE DL380 Gen9 server you are able to fit two M60 GRID cards, allowing you to serve 64 VDI desktops with this awesome UX. But what to do with the rest of this great piece of hardware? Naturally you could serve regular VDI desktops with all resources left, but everybody deserves an excellent UX. Now with the new M10 you can. This GRID card is designed for density.

NVIDIA GRID M10

With the NVIDIA GRID M10 you can serve up to 64 VDI desktops with an excellent UX. Using the same DL380 this results in 128 CCU per server. This finally delivers a GPU for the masses. Let’s have a look at the M10 specifications.

M10 Specifications

The NVIDIA GRID M10 is optimized for Virtual PC and Virtual Applications Workloads. This is a true graphics card designed for user density. How does the M10 fits in with the M6 and the M60?

Tesla lineup

The expected list price of the M10 is to be expected around $ 2.500. With the new M10 the licensing model is applied as well. For virtual applications a minimum of $ 10 (annual subscription) per CCU is required as well. See for a complete overview on GRID licensing my previous blog http://www.jitslangedijk.com/nvidia-grid-2-0-new-pricing-and-licensing-model/

With the GRID 2.0 M6 and M60 GPU boards NVIDIA was able to deliver twice the performance for Designers, Power Users and Knowledge workers. With the M10 there are able to deliver twice the user density with up to 64 VDI desktops leveraging the Maxwell based GPU performance. For knowledge workers the M10 provides the highest level of experience for all their apps on any device. With the M6 and M60 the power users and designers are fully served. With the introduction of the M10 organisations can now provide any level of experience for any workload.

The M10 fits in with the Virtual Applications or Virtual PC license model. Virtual Applications with Citrix XenApp is great combination where the M10 really would be appreciated by users.

Final Thoughts…

I believe a VDI environment should have it all. Support for any OS, any client device, any connection and available whenever I need it. I compare my VDI environment performance wise to my laptop computer, just like any other business consumer. This means my VDI desktop is equipped with a state-of-the-art CPU, the right amount of memory and with the right (software based/converged) storage solution and perhaps most important a GPU which delivers an awesome User eXperince! As I said, all business consumers have these expectations or at least deserve such an experience. With the M10 this is possible. The M10 is optimized for user density. This means we are able to fully benefit from all resources a server delivers these days.

My only concerns are still the licensing costs. It adds an extra $ 10 per CCU to the environment, on top of the card itself. Depending on our concurrency ratio this number could come down, but still, its extra. Working on many public tenders, where competitive pricing is required its hard to get sold. In most situations graphics are only required for a small portion of users. With the K1 and the M60 a GPU came available to many power users. The M10 is the next step to deliver a GPU to of us, a GPU for the masses!

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